Health & Safety

Vigilance needed to reduce rate of transport and lifting fatalities

WORKPLACE transport accidents are one of the most common causes of serious accidents and fatalities in the waste management industry, with many relating to transport lifting operations.

Lifting operations typically involve hoists fi tted to refuse collection vehicles; lifting equipment fi tted to skip loaders; lifting equipment on hook-loader vehicles; and skips and other containers.

There are no national standards for the manufacture of skips and containers. However, a number of commonly- used industry standards exist which are produced by – and available from – the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association (CHEM).

CHEM represents a number of manufacturers and suppliers providing equipment to the waste industry. Its members adopt, where appropriate, the standards outlined in a range of documents they produce.

Produced in consultation

Guidance on skip and container safety in waste management and recycling has been produced in consultation with the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH). It does not aim to be comprehensive but gives examples of good practice within the industry.

This guidance is for designers, manufacturers, buyers, users, and maintenance staff who work with skips and containers used for skip loaders and hook-loader vehicles.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1989 (LOLER), hoisting mechanisms for hook-loader, skip-loader and refuse collection vehicles are defi ned as ‘lifting equipment’.

As such, they must be examined by a competent person at least once a year.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that lifting attachment points and similar safety- critical parts of the load that is to be hoisted - for example, skip lugs and bottle-bank hoist wires - should always be adequately maintained.

The manufacturer should be able to suggest an appropriate maintenance regime which looks for patent defects prior to test and includes the usage of lubrication, inspections and testing depending on the intended use of the machinery.

May not appreciate the risks A key aim during the whole operation (including driving, reversing, loading/ unloading) is to ensure nobody is in the immediate area as they could be struck by moving vehicles, which includes a container or skip and load content.

This would also help to avoid injury if, for example, a lifting hook became detached or the load-bearing part failed.

It is important to follow this advice, particularly in areas where untrained personnel (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 can sometimes cause blind spots at the rear of the load during reversing, loading, and unloading operations.

Some companies use reversing aids such as CCTV and radars to minimise the risk of colliding with pedestrians.

Fixed-mounted mirrors are used at most facilities to enable drivers to view the rear blind spot and working area around their load or vehicle.

If trained reversing assistants need to be  COMPASS’s Deborah Williams

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 when loading and unloading, unless it is unsafe to do so - or more eff ective precautions have been taken to assure a driver’s blind spot is clear.

Jogging (shunting or braking hard) to free blocked material from a container 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 more advice or assistance in managing your workplace transport or lifting operations risks contact Deborah Williams on 01257 692606 or email:

Deborah Williams CMIOSH RMaPS is Principal Safety Consultant at Compass Ltd.

Deborah specialises in assisting private sector organisations within the construction, waste management and extractive industries.

You can contact her on - 01257 482256 or via email: 26 SHWM July, 2018

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