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Waste collectors told not to bend over to collect rubbish from wheelie bins

Residents in Portsmouth have been told to leave their bin bags outside their wheelie bins so that their waste collectors do not injure themselves. The issue came to light when Portsmouth City Council became aware of their rubbish men bending down inside the wheelie bins to reach for householders sacks during collection day. Waste manager Vince Venus said: Residents had gone and brought these small bins for their refuse, even though we do not run a wheelie bin service for this refuse. We run a sack collection on a weekly basis. Our bins men started to collect these sacks from these bins through misguided goodwill. Imagine having to lift a bag at the bottom of the wheelie bin! It is not desirable for our bin men to go and fish out waste at the risk of injuring themselves. The authority does not have the lifting gear on all of its dustcarts, allowing the wheelie bin to be attached to the back of the cart and lifted automatically. Venus seems to be perplexed as to why residents had gone out and brought these bins, as the council does not have an alternate weekly collection: There are 68,000 residents in Portsmouth and only 100 have gone out and brought these bins. I have no clue why they have done this. The city is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe and streets are very narrow. We prefer taking sacks because they are quicker and speed is essential through these narrow streets. As soon as we became aware of the problem we had to stop it for health and safety reasons. If a bin man pulls his back we could be sued for it. In this suing culture we have to be careful we do not fall into that trap and we have to protect our workforce in a sensible manner.

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