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New guidance is now available for those who produce and collect commercial waste, in a bid to prevent people who shelter in bins from being killed or injured.€ﾨ€ﾨ
Since May 2009, three people have been found dead at waste depots when rubbish was unloaded from the collection vehicles. Anecdotal reports suggest that there have been many other occasions on which people have been discovered alive in bins prior to, or during, them being emptied into collection vehicles.€ﾨ€ﾨ
Produced by the HSE and the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, the guidance has been developed in response to calls from industry for clearer ways of working. It is aimed at waste producers, those responsible for managing waste storage areas, and waste collection organisations.
The guidance includes advice on: risk assessments and checking bins; actions to take on discovering a person; and examples of good practice within the industry – such as recognising high-risk locations and ensuring employees are properly briefed and trained.€ﾨ€ﾨ
The HSE’s head of waste management and recycling, Geoff Cox, said: “These deaths and near misses most often involve those who are vulnerable – either through drink, or through seeking shelter – but they are preventable. Those who produce the waste, are responsible for storing it, or collecting it all have an essential role to play in reducing the likelihood of any further tragic deaths.”€ﾨ€ﾨ
He added: “We fully recognise that seeking shelter in a bin may be preferable to risking it on the street in all weathers, but we want people to understand what the tragic consequences of that can be. We encourage those who are sleeping rough to look after themselves and to look out for each other, too.”
€ﾨ€ﾨChris Jones, chair of WISH, added: “Developing this guidance was very much a joint effort between WISH and HSE. It reflects the best practices from across the industry and will assist WISH members and others to ensure that future deaths, or serious injury are prevented.€ﾨ
“It is important that all those who generate, manage, or collect waste play their part, and it should be easy to incorporate the recommended steps into what they already do.”€ﾨ€ﾨThe ‘People in commercial waste containers’ guidance is available to download free of charge from the HSE website.