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Award-winning approach to bin lift safety

Sam Boshier Jun 5, 2024 9:38:34 AM
Award-winning approach to bin lift safety

When there's a fatality in any industry it brings the issue to the forefront and focuses minds on the potential risk of the operation. The recent verdict in the inquest into the tragic fatality of David Carpenter who was crushed to death in the back of a refuse collection vehicle (RCV) while working a residential round in Coventry in January 2023 has bought the issue of bin lift safety to light again for many.

The inquest jury described it as a "foreseeable" accident and in delivering their narrative verdict, jurors said evidence showed the vehicle could have been safer.

This comes after the Office for Products and Safety & Standards (OPSS) issued a notice for bin lift equipment in October last year [2023]. WISH (Waste Industry Safety and Health) Forum said about the notice “This essentially means that Part 5 of EN1501 can no longer be recognised as a bin lift safety standard. The onus will be on the manufacturers to provide safe equipment and for operators to assess the equipment that is in use.”

Load Safe. Load Smart

Never a company to stand still and with the safety of their staff being a top priority, FCC Environment approached us to look at the risks of bin lifts operating in automatic mode, well before the OPSS notice was issued. Starting in February 2023, we worked collaboratively to develop and test the RCV Smart Loader to provide an additional level of security when using RCV bin lifts in automatic mode.

The product takes our proven proximity warning system and adapts it for use around the bin lift at the back of the RCV. If a worker is detected in the danger zone after the bins have been placed, the RCV Smart Loader will prevent the full lift cycle occurring.

As well as enforcing correct loading methods, the product has been proven in the field to improve behaviours by up to 90% (compared to pre-intervention data). This is achieved by ensuring that loaders are correctly loading the bin and stepping out of the danger zone during the bin lift cycle.

FCC Environment’s Head of Safety, Health, Environment & Quality, Paul Stokes said:

“We’re pleased to be the first commercial organisation to fully commit to rollout the SiteZone RCV Smart Loader onto our fleet of RCVs. The trials have proven the behavioural change that the system enforces, and this is something we can not only extend to colleagues on all of our collection rounds, but share best practice with the industry to ensure everyone in the sector is safe while at work.”

Gary Escott, Managing Director of SiteZone Safety, comments:

“It’s been a fast-paced project going from conception to compliant product in just under a year, but we've been excited by the results. With new safety products, you can sometimes get push back from the people using them, but as this product doesn’t hinder what they do, and the teams can see the benefits in safety, it’s been adopted quicker than we could have anticipated.”

The RCV Smart Loader is now gaining recognition for its innovation and risk reduction. The collaborative project has been shortlisted for five awards, winning two International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM) awards and two Highly Commended Awards so far:


Talk to us about reducing the risk to loaders on your collection rounds.