30 January, 2015
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it has fined Birmingham City Council £10,000 with £1,887 in costs after a refuse worker sustained leg injuries when he was trapped against a van by a reversing bin lorry. The fine comes in the same month as a number of catastrophic tragedies involving bin lorries have been reported in Glasgow and Inverness.
According to the HSE, the Birmingham City Council bin lorry had not reversed in accordance with the council's safe working procedure which required a colleague to act as a reversing assistant to help guide the bin lorry driver during reversing manoeuvres.
An extensive investigation conducted by the HSE found that this was not an isolated case of a vehicle reversing without assistance. CCTV footage of vehicles reversing in the depot showed workers routinely reversing vehicles without assistance, which according to the HSE indicated they were not worried about potential disciplinary action for not doing so.
During the hearing senior management admitted there was no policy or programme of monitoring, or supervision of how employees were reversing.
Local authorities are reminded of the importance of implementing safe working policies to ensure compliance with their health and safety obligations and to avoid potentially costly personal injury claims or regulatory prosecution. As demonstrated by this case, it is not sufficient to have policies in place, Local Authorities must also be able to demonstrate that employees are supervised and regularly monitored. Local Authorities must also be able to show that employees are well trained and have the appropriate PPE. Training records should be documented and updated regularly.
For further advice on similar claims please contact Ridwaan Omar by email or on 01254 222457