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My old man's a poorly dustman

Binmen wishing to avoid trips to the chiropractor are being urged to visit a manual handling website.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has appealed to waste management and recycling industries to visit its Better Backs site at http://www.betterbacks.hse.gov.uk or call 0845 345 0055 for practical tips on how to avoid back-related injuries in the workplace.

Back injuries accounted for 23% of all injuries sustained in the waste and recycling industry in 2002/03, but by promoting the use of lifting and handling aids, the HSE hopes to cut the number of refuse collectors putting their backs out.

In addition, the HSE manufacturing sector has targeted Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) workers by publishing conveyor belt sorting guidance on its website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/conveyorbelt.pdf.

It advises on the design of conveyor belt workstations to prevent the risk of musculoskeletal injury by avoiding the need for seated or standing operators to stoop excessively, twist, or over-reach while working.

The injuries caused to refuse collectors by lugging our recycling and refuse bins was highlighted earlier in the year when it was reported that binmen in some parts of the country were receiving manual handling lessons by a former Olympic weightlifter (see MRW story).

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