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HSC looks to cut fatalities caused by reversing vehicles

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has launched a document aimed at reducing the number of fatalities caused by reversing vehicles.

Six such deaths have been reported in the waste industry since December 2005, with the new set of guidelines outlining how the risk to collection staff and members of the public can be cut.

HSC chair Bill Callaghan launched Waste and Recycling Vehicles in Street Collection in Northampton where he was promoting the document and thanking those in the industry who had worked to devise the standards it sets out.

Addressing union representatives, local authority chief executives and health and safety officers, he said: This partnership between local authorities, the waste and recycling industry and the Health and Safety Executive has produced a set of clear standards that will control those risks.

We want to encourage these partnerships, using the skills and experience of key workers at grass roots level to develop solutions that will work for them. The challenge now is for the industry to implement the controls and ensure that tragic incidents are prevented in the future.

Reversing causes a disproportionately large number of moving vehicle incidents in the industry each year with the guidance describing simple measures that can be taken.

These include safe systems and aids for reversing, including trained assistants to ensure that pedestrians do not enter the reversing zone.

Association of Chief Police Officers Road Policing Policy head Meredydd Hughes said: There is a tragic history of pedestrians and particularly children and old people being run over by refuse collection vehicles.

We welcome the systems of work set out in this guidance as they can greatly reduce the risk of pedestrians entering the reversing area while the vehicle is moving.

The vital work in devising the new guidelines was carried out by the Northamptonshire Local Authority Safety Advisors Group and the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum.

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