Safety inspectors will scrutinise kerbside collections at one in two local authorities this year as part of a crackdown on the recycling industry's appalling fatality rate.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officers will look at working practices and make shoddy local authorities draw up action plans for improvements.
HSE head of recycling Paul Harvey said: "We are taking this very seriously and will be devoting significant resources to the inspections.
Recycling was responsible for more fatal injuries per worker than any other sector between 2001 and 2004.
And Harvey said that the picture looked even worse when it included the high number of accidents that occurred during kerbside collections.
So the HSE has begun a three-year operation to inspect and improve councils' health and safety policies and control measures.
Officers will be looking at the design, specification and management of contracts; transport; handling and employee welfare. Private companies will also receive visits from inspectors.
Biffa employee David Gregory, 32, was killed in November after becoming stuck under the wheels of one of its collection vehicles.