It has been drawn to my attention that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) has increased the workload of Refuse Collectors without undertaking appropriate risk assessments.
This has resulted in a detrimental effect on the well-being of Refuse Collectors. The only way to achieve the objectives forced upon them is to operate in such a manner that can only result in multiple breaches of health and safety. For example – running to complete their rounds.
ERYC gives training to all Refuse Collectors. As part of this training, Refuse Collectors are told they MUST (where MUST is stated this is a legal requirement) examine the bin for cracks in its structure because it could break up whilst being lifted. To look for cracks would mean looking all-round the bin full circle. Once this is complete the Refuse Collector MUST get hold of the bin with both hands and gently pull the bin onto its wheels to assess its weight before moving it. Just quickly jerking it back onto its wheels with no assessment and then finding the bin proved to be very heavy, could result in a possible back injury.
Under the recently introduced system, none of this has been taken into account. Training is only part of the Duty of Care ERYC MUST demonstrate. They MUST also ensure adequate time for the instructions given in the training to be actioned. This they have failed to do.
Upon receiving this information I have undertaken observation across the East Riding and witnessed first-hand how Refuse Collectors are forced to ignore their own well-being to achieve the objectives of their masters who sit in warm and dry officers.
It is noteworthy that none of the supervisors has undertaken the observations I have because if they had they would be turning a blind eye to the current situation that is on a collision course with disaster. I am sure they would never do such a thing!
It is clearly inappropriate and unacceptable that the well-being of the Refuse Collectors, who are the engine that drives the ERYC flagship recycling system, should be compromised to achieve the ERYC pole position of the countries best for recycling.
The supervisors, senior management and Councillors MUST get out of their warm officers and ensure that ERYC is fully compliant with their Duty of Care and that their Risk Assessments are fit for purpose. I would suggest that two hands must be on a wheelie bin for obvious reasons when been taken to the wagon etc…
I have drawn my concerns to the attention of:
- Caroline Lacey – ERYC Chief Executive
- Cllr Jonathan Owen – Leader
- All Councillors
I have requested that they act upon my concerns with immediate effect. The well-being of Refuse Collectors is and MUST always be paramount.
Freedom Of Information Request
Under the Freedom of Information Act, I have requested:
- A copy of all risk assessments in relation to the operation of refuse trucks and the safety of Refuse Collectors.
- A copy of the Waste Management Health and Safety Handbook (or whatever it is currently named).