Colchester: Bin men banned from collecting rubbish - in case they hurt themselves

BIN men have been banned from taking rubbish out of dustbins following a health and safety ruling.

Bill Craig, 80, used a wheelie bin to help him carry one small black bag of rubbish to the end of his drive every week for the past two years.

But he was stunned when bosses from Colchester Borough Council left him a warning note saying he was using the wrong kind of container for his rubbish.

Officials told a Mr Craig that bin men could no longer lean in to the wheelie bin take away the black bag – in case they injured themselves.

And the council is planning to pay for a specialist team to go to the former fisherman’s semi-detached house in West Mersea, Essex, to collect the rubbish instead.

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Mr Craig, who has had a heart attack and suffers from chronic back pain, said: “This is officialdom gone barmy - the council is being held to ransom by health and safety rules.

“You could lift our black bin bag out using two fingers - it is not heavy.

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“I was amazed when they told me that they would come and collect it especially - it’s only a few food scraps.

“There are only two of us here now so there is not much rubbish but health and safety has gone barmy and you cannot argue with them.

“Considering the state of the country’s finances, surely it would be better to try to economise rather than create more costs.”

Mr Craig suffered a heart attack in 1992 and is due to have his fourth pacemaker fitted whilst wife Norma, 79, has a replacement hip so their four grown-up children decided to buy the wheelie bin to help them move the waste and recycling to the end of their drive.

The waste would be collected by the bin men the following morning, a process that he said worked like clockwork.

“I was told this all came about because one bin man leaned in and pulled a ligament in his arm and was then off work for a year on full pay and is suing the council,” said Mr Craig.

Colchester Borough Council does not supply wheelie bins and has said that workmen could injure themselves leaning into the bin to pull out waste.

A council spokeswoman said: “There has not been a change in policy but more and more people have been buying wheelie bins and we are not a council that is set up with lorries to empty wheelie bins.

“Yes, there are health and safety issues when you have a wheelie bin that is a metre high as it is not appropriate for workers to have to lean into them to get the rubbish out.

“There will not be an additional cost from the assisted collection, it will be the same crew that does the round, but they will go down to collect the rubbish from the door.”

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