According reports, backed by Health and Safety Executive statistics for 2012/13, as of January 2015, refuse collection is the third most dangerous career in the UK. This may be less of a surprise when you take a closer look at the risks refuse collectors are exposed to.
Working on busy roads
The majority of work accidents affecting refuse collectors consist of being hit by vehicles while working on busy roads. Taking the collected refuse to landfill sites significantly increases the risk of workers being injured by accidents involving vehicles; as such sites are frequented by an array of vehicles of all sizes.
Vehicles on landfills
Such vehicles can include varying numbers of anything from tiny pick-up trucks, mini skip loaders and roll-on/off vehicles to refuse freighters, front or rear end loaders and rigid tippers to huge articulated tippers at any given time. Articulated tippers in particular are responsible for many major, if not fatal injuries. This is due to the fact that they are easily bowled over by high winds, especially when these winds are combined with uneven ground and/or uneven loads.
Working with and around heavy plant like tippers, tracked loading shovels and compactors; excavators, dump trucks and dozers, as well as motorised graders and earth-movers obviously also serves to increase the risk of work injuries.
Poor weather conditions, spilled waste and the general condition of the terrain at landfill sites also expose refuse collectors to the risk of suffering injuries at work through slips, trips and falls. Slips and trips are, as a matter of fact, the second most common cause of work related injuries suffered by refuse collectors.
To make matters worse, refuse collectors are also exposed to contracting industrial diseases through exposure to dust, smoke and toxic or otherwise harmful vapours. Needle-stick injuries and subsequent contraction of hepatitis and other related illnesses are also a risk, as is developing gastric complaints or leptospirosis, an infection spread by rats and other animals.
Employers and their duty of care
Naturally, employers of refuse collectors and other personnel within the waste and recycling industry are required to take all necessary steps to protect workers against accidents at work. If your employer is negligent in this duty and you are injured at work as a result, you may qualify for industrial injury compensation.
Learn more about your right to claim work injury compensation by calling Accident Advice Helpline today on Freephone number 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: April 27, 2015
Author: Accident Advice