Worker injuries reduced by using wheeled bins, new research shows

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Workers were more likely to call in sick from a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) if they were using boxes, baskets and sacks than wheeled bins

Waste collection workers are less likely to injure themselves using wheeled bins than the pick-up box alternative.

That’s according to new research from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Environmental Waste Group and University of Greenwich.

Using staff absence data from 15 UK local authorities, the researchers found workers were more likely to call in sick from a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) if they were using boxes, baskets and sacks than wheeled bins.

MSDs include injury, damage or disorder of the joints of other tissues in the upper or lower limbs or the back.

Published in the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal, the study used a software platform to spot relationships between types of waste collection services by comparing absence rates for MSDs with non-MSDs for each job role.

David Thomas, an academic portfolio lead in the School of Design at the University of Greenwich and a member of the IOSH’s management group committee, said: “There are over 60,000 waste collection workers in the UK and employers should evaluate ill health risks before new waste collections systems are adopted and rolled out.

“They should also monitor absence rates specific to work activity to ensure that they move to more sustainable systems that create less MSDs.”

Researchers recommended organisations to discontinue 'box type' collections on MSD grounds as soon as possible.


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