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Catholic Education says ‘Large Wheelie Bins Not to be Manually Lifted’

Catholic Education says ‘Large Wheelie Bins Not to be Manually Lifted’

As safety in the workplace generally improves, the heavy lifting involved in emptying waste bins has been responsible for an increasing share of total workplace injuries. Simpro has been pleased to see increasing awareness of this risk in recent years. In Australia, Brisbane Catholic Education have issued a Safety Alert to their 137 schools on the topic:

Large Wheelie Bins Not to be Manually Lifted

The purpose of this Safety ALERT is to present the position of Brisbane Catholic Education with regard to the manual lifting of large (240 litre) wheelie bins.

Serious injuries have occurred

Several serious injuries have occurred whilst groundspersons have been manually lifting wheelie bins as part of school waste disposal procedures. The average time off from work for staff injured in this manner was 46 days. The average direct injury cost was $4470. Recently a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspector issued an improvement notice to a school in response to an injury that occurred while a groundsperson was lifting a large wheelie bin from the ground to empty it into an “industrial” bin.

Not to labour the point, this is the kind of problem Simpro machines were made for. With injuries costing $4,470 on average, an investment in a bin tipper begins to look very affordable indeed. The statement continues:

Why lifting wheelie bins is a risk

Wheelie bins were designed to be lifted and emptied by machines. Manually lifting wheelie bins is unsafe because:

  1. their design generally does not allow a person lifting the bin to use a safe technique, for example, there is a lack of adequate handles to allow the person to get a secure grip; and
  2. their capacity means that the total weight of bins will often exceed what the person can easily, and safely, manage.

Position Statement on the manual lifting of large wheelie bins

Brisbane Catholic Education’s position on the lifting of large (240 litre) wheelie bins is that under no circumstances should waste disposal procedures include the practice of a person lifting a large wheelie bin, either empty or full, unassisted.

It is heartening to see large, responsible organisations like Catholic Education taking action on this issue. The dangers are real and ubiquitous, but often overlooked in favour of more visible threats. If your organisation hasn’t yet considered a policy on lifting waste bins, you probably should!

Read the full Safety Alert from Brisbane Catholic Education here.