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Calls for Crackdown On Dangerous Driving Endangering Workers

Friday, November 25, 2016

For immediate release - with video
 
GMB CALLS FOR POLICE TO CRACK DOWN ON DANGEROUS DRIVING ENDANGERING LIFE AND LIMB OF REFUSE WORKERS AND OTHERS WITH JOBS ON THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY 
 
An immediate zero-tolerance crackdown is the only way to prevent death and injury and address the 360,000 incidents reported every year, says GMB
 
GMB - the union for refuse workers - has called for a crackdown on the hundreds of thousands of incidents of dangerous driving every year which killed at least 12 workers in the last two years and are putting the lives of refuse workers and others with jobs on the public highway at risk. 
 
New figures, released by refuse company Biffa, show workers report a massive 1,000 incidents of dangerous or reckless driving everyday - a total of 360,000 every year.
 
Video footage released by Biffa shows reckless drivers mounting pavements, curbs and grass verges to get round bin lorries making rubbish collections. [1]  
 
Refuse workers are forced to dive for cover as motorists swerve past their vehicles.
 
In one shocking incident a worker is knocked flat on his back by a car – which then carries on driving.
 
Refuse collection is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country – with at least 12 staff killed over the two years 2014/15 and 2015/16. [2]
 
Biffa, who handle 10% of household waste collections in the UK, have 3,000 incidents of reckless driving reported per month by their employees. [3]
 
Bert Schouwenburg, GMB National Officer, said:

“Refuse collection is a vital public service provided to every single household in the country, it is also one of the most dangerous professions you can do – with more deaths per person than almost any other job.  
 
“That there should be as many as 1,000 incidents everyday that put these key workers at risk of death or serious injury beggars belief.
 
"Being driven at by angry drivers, and put at risk of death or serious injury on a daily basis, should not be dismissed as some sort of occupational inconvenience to just be got on with; our members deserve to go into work knowing they will come home to their families safe at the end of the day, just like anybody else.  
 
“This has to stop and it is down to the authorities to ensure that happens.
 
“Anyone who sees these drivers’ antics will be rightly shocked.  An immediate zero-tolerance crackdown is the only way to prevent death and injury and address the 360,000 incidents reported every year. 
 
"GMB expects the police and the courts to come down hard on anyone putting our members’ lives at risk.”
 
Lawrence Emerson, Biffa’s Head of Health and Safety, said: 

“The issue is far, far greater than the industry, or the public, could ever possibly imagine.
 
"I joined Biffa in 2015 from an aviation background, so I am used to high risk workplaces.
 
“When I went out with our crews on their collections, my jaw was on the floor – I could not believe what I was seeing and the danger the crews were facing every day due to reckless drivers.
 
“The careless behaviour of drivers has been accepted by our staff as ‘part of the job’. Up until recently, they rarely reported such incidents to their managers let alone the police.”


ENDS
 
Contact: Bert Schouwenburg on 07974251764 or at bert.schouwenburg@gmb.org.uk; Justin Bowden at Justin.bowden@gmb.org.uk or on 07710631351.
 
Notes to editors:
 
[1] Video available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=99&v=bQ4c4OqJj6c
 
[2] Fatalities reported under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations  2013 (attached)
 
[3] https://www.biffa.co.uk/news/drops-driving-recklessly-pavements/
 
Biffa employs more than 1,400 workers in household waste collection
 
According to the ONS there are 53,000 people employed in refuse and salvage occupations
 
https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/employmentbyoccupationemp04

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