North East Lincolnshire Council’s bin crews have changed the way they work to help keep the service running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Household waste collections are an essential public service identified by the Government.
Government advice for workers providing essential services is to keep to the 2m social distancing rule to limit contact with other people.
Advice for jobs where it isn’t possible to keep to the distance rule is for the employer to put all necessary precautions in place to protect the workforce and people they might come into contact with.
A series of substantial changes are now in place to help keep bin crews safe even when they have to share a cab with colleagues. Safety measures include:
- Daily health checks
- Keeping different crews apart from each other throughout the day
- Extra cleaning of surfaces that staff regularly touch
- Disinfecting of vehicle cabs
- Strict limits on the number of staff in depot buildings
- Extra gloves have been provided – face masks are not currently recommended for waste collection crews.
- Changes to the way staff arrive and leave the depot and how information is handed out.
We are continually reviewing the risk assessments and precautions as the situation unfolds and will implement any further advice provided by Public Health England.
Keeping crews apart is emerging as one of the most common methods in the country to limit the risk of Coronavirus spreading among key workers.
Please keep your distance from them if you’re out and leave them to get on with their jobs.
Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for transport and environment, said:
“A number of people have contacted the Council to express their concerns about bin crews sharing a cab when everyone else is being told to keep their distance from each other.
“I’m pleased to see people are concerned for their welfare and that they appreciate the job they are doing in very difficult circumstances.
“All organisations have been affected by Coronavirus and our bin crews are doing a great job providing a vital service in these challenging times.
“We’re doing everything we can to reduce the risk to them and the wider public and I hope people recognise the challenges our workforce faces.
“There’s been a thorough review of all our working procedures to keep our employees and the wider community safe.
“They’re providing a key function for the community and although crews have to share a wagon to do their job, stringent measures are in place to reduce the risk.”
There has been little disruption to waste and recycling collections so far but that could change.
Plans are in place to keep the service running including bringing in colleagues from other parts of the Council to cover absences.
Households can also help. Here’s how:
- Wash your hands after handling your bins and boxes, our waste staff touch over 600 each per day
- Please make sure that all domestic green bin waste is put in sealed bags first and that your bin lid is firmly closed
- Please don’t leave extra bags of rubbish with your bin or boxes
- We will collect up to five recycling boxes as long as they are presented correctly
- Please don’t leave large cardboard boxes or other items that don’t fit inside the recycling boxes
- Park sensibly so our bin wagons can drive into your street.
For people suffering with symptoms associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) or self-isolating at home there are Public Health England guidelines regarding the disposal of waste.
This includes sealing personal waste such as tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in smaller plastic bags and storing them for 72 hours before putting them in a black bag which goes in the green bin.
There are more details on the Government’s website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Community Recycling Centres (CRCs or tips)
Restrictions are in place at the Community Recycling Centres (CRCs or tips) in Grimsby and Immingham.
Only visit the CRCs if your trip is essential. Avoid visiting if you can.
The following restrictions are in place:
- Up to four cars on site at a time
- One visit per day
- Only household waste and recycling that is usually collected at the kerbside will be accepted – that’s general household rubbish, plastic bottles, tins, cans and metal household packaging, paper and card, glass bottles and jars.
- Other rubbish and recycling (mattresses, furniture, garden waste, white goods, building material etc) is no longer accepted until further notice.