Transport related lifting operations

Transport related lifting operations can cause serious personal injury or death. Whilst it is not comprehensive, the following advice covers transport-related lifting operations involving the use of:

  • Hoists fitted to refuse collection vehicles
  • Lifting equipment fitted to skip loaders
  • Lifting equipment on Hookloader vehicles
  • Skips and other containers

Provision and maintenance of lifting machinery and the hoisted container (eg skips, bottle banks, etc)

  • Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1989 (LOLER), hoisting mechanisms for hookloader, skip loader and refuse collection vehicles are defined as 'lifting equipment'. As such, they must be examined by a competent person at least every 12 months.
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state that, lifting attachment points and similar safety-critical parts of the load that is to be hoisted (eg skip lugs, bottle-bank hoist wires etc) should be adequately maintained. The manufacturer should be able to suggest an appropriate maintenance regime which may include lubrication, inspection and testing depending on your intended use of the machinery. You should look for patent defects prior to use.

Use of safe systems of work during the lifting operation

A key aim during the whole operation (including driving, reversing, loading/unloading) is to ensure that nobody is in the immediate area as they could be struck by the moving vehicle, its container/skip or load contents. This would also help to avoid injury if, for example, the lifting hook became detached or the load-bearing part failed.

It is important to follow this advice particularly in areas where untrained personnel (eg visitors) or members of the public (in uncontrolled environments such as highways and public car parks) are likely to be present, as they may not appreciate the risks and consequences of their encroachment into the immediate working area.

Large skips and containers causing blind spots at the rear of the load during reversing/loading/unloading operations

Some companies use reversing aids such as closed circuit television (CCTV) and radars to minimise the risk of colliding with pedestrians.

Fixed mounted mirrors enabling drivers to view the rear blind spot and working area immediately around their load/vehicle are used at some facilities.

If trained reversing assistants need to be used, ensure they are in a safe place and not in the driver's blind spot.

Drivers should always check the blind spot for pedestrians immediately before  reversing and loading/unloading unless:

  • it is unsafe to do so; or
  • more effective precautions have been taken to assure the driver that the blind spot is clear during the entire operation.

Jogging (shunting or braking hard) to free blocked material from containers is a high-risk activity and should be avoided as:

  • jogging can cause uncontrolled release of the bin;
  • repeated jogging causes excessive wear on the hydraulic cylinders, load hook and bale bar;
  • repeated wear may result in failure of the cylinder seals or shaft components.

For further guidance see:

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Updated 2021-07-01