Residents Urged To Consider Safety Of Workers

December 7, 2016

The Ministry of Public Works is urging local residents to consider the safety of our trash collectors when disposing of their household waste, saying that this “comes after 15 incidents resulting in injuries to workers were logged so far for 2016 alone, totaling 1,019 hours of lost time.”

“Some of the more common injuries workers experience are ergonomic injuries, such as muscle sprains, strains and tears as well as cuts from sharp objects, while some of the more serious injuries have included a herniated disk injury, shoulder dislocation, and chemical exposure to the face,” the Ministry said.

“Items that people throw in the trash which cause the most injury include sharp items such as broken glass, hypodermic needles and construction materials.

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“The public can help to keep our garbage collectors safe by not placing hazardous waste items [e.g. compressed gas canisters, lead acid batteries, chemicals and hypodermic needles] with regular household waste. These items put collection staff at risk for injuries such as chemical burns, cuts and punctures.

“Additionally, construction debris and building materials [e.g. concrete block, rubble] should not be put out for collection. These items can be very heavy and often result in muscle sprains and strains. Often these materials will fall through the bottom of the bag resulting in impact injuries to the worker’s body.

“Below is a list of items you should not place in your garbage or recycling bags:

  • Animal waste – must be flushed down the toilet or dried and wrapped in paper, placed in plastic bags, then dropped in the bin at Tynes Bay
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs or fluorescent tube lights – must be dropped off at Tynes Bay
  • Consumer electronics [cell phones, computers, etc.] – can be recycled at the Tynes Bay public drop off
  • Household batteries – can be disposed of at grocers, pharmacies, hardware stores, and service centers around Bermuda
  • Items containing mercury, such as thermometers, thermostats and switches
  • Vehicle batteries and motor oil – can be disposed of at service centers around Bermuda and at the Tynes Bay public drop off
  • Bulky waste – can be disposed of at Tynes Bay public drop off.

“More information on garbage and recycling can be found on the Bermuda Government website at or by calling 278-0560. Workers not only have to deal with hazards in terms of what is put out in household trash, but also when it comes to unsafe driving maneuvers by fellow road-users.”

“People throw some pretty crazy stuff in their household garbage,” said Safety and Health Officer for the Ministry of Public Works Derrick Simmons.

“In the past, this has included caustic cleaning products, such as hydrochloric acid and, more recently, a bowling ball was thrown out in household trash which broke through the bottom of a trash bag and injured an employee’s leg.

“The collection staff wear protective gear to limit contact with some hazards associated with the job; however, we need our community to help to reduce some hazards often concealed among regular household waste.”

“We have had several near misses involving our employees and the motoring public,” said Mr. Simmons.

“We actually had two incidents this summer where employees were struck by passing motor vehicles while on a collection route, which amounted to 180 hours of lost time.

“We need the motoring public to exercise patience and caution when approaching a collection vehicle; slow down as you attempt to overtake a stationary collection vehicle. Our staff are likely nearby busily going about their work.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. Ra's al Ghul says:

    Trash Collectors urged to pick up trash as per schedule

  2. Facts says:

    Animal waste isn’t allowed but the multitudes of dirty diapers are allowed? Please clarify.

    • fQ73yR4 says:

      I was under the impression that diapers were supposed to be disposed of in the same manner as dog faeces.

      I’m unsure of the requirements for feminine hygiene products though.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    Call from Residents to have trash collected on time.

  4. Real Deal says:

    Well to tell you the truth most people are fed up they are worrying about other things in stead of sorting through trash so it all goes in. They got to get to that 2nd job. this is not me but I have the ability to relate to the feelings and frustrations. I bet you wont find the people that find the time to use those blue bags doing this. just the other day some one changed their bike battery and left it right in one of the bike bays. you better beleave that ones someone gets fed-up with seeing it there it will be going right in a trash bag and in the dumpster for collection. I think it is just the way it is until things get better causing people to start caring again

    • JT says:

      Learn to spell correctly. BELIEVE is spelt exactly as is and not BELEAVE as you wrote! #dummy go back to school to take English literature classes!!!!

    • Hurricane says:

      @ Real Deal, what a load of rubbish!

  5. Sage says:

    Love the “busily going about their work part”. How do they ever find the time when they spend most working hours protesting??

  6. Hurricane says:

    Tynes Bay hours need to change so that people can drop off before and or after work.

  7. joe says:

    15 incidents with 1019 hours of lost time? 68 hours per incident? That’s nearly two weeks to recover! On average!

    • Get real says:

      That seems very excessive and if there are strains and sprains then we need equipment to help out

      • Real Deal says:

        As far as i know there is no equipment to pick up loaded trash bags there might be something in it if you can invent something for it.
        I hope they do not go the same rout as the airlines an implement a trash bag weight limit/restriction

        most likely the injuries is from the bag breaking when they are over head. maybe you can add a conveyor belt ramp to the back of the trucks. it would reduce injuries but would not fix the mix trash problem and would probably slow trash collection

  8. Micro says:

    Sounds like workers need a course in how to lift things.

  9. Are you kidding me? says:

    Come on you lot,two wrong dont make one right,reading some of these comments I find it disturbing for the lack of respect for these workers you could only get away with what they let you get away and remember shot rolls down hill ,another words in some way. Don’t shot the massagers….lets all have a nice safe Christmas …

  10. unus sed leo says:

    Thanks for kbb byes…

  11. Cahow says:

    Why not start getting the trucks that have the hooks at the back to pick up the bins and tip them into the truck. They have them in Hamilton. We will also have to get the bins with the right handles, but if we start by getting these when we replace the existing trucks as needed, we will eventually get there. The only thing is that everyone will have to use a wheelie bin but other places manage this so it is not beyond the realms of possibility

  12. me says:

    Reading these comments really saddens me. There are workers who are being injured because people are putting dangerous and inappropriate items in their trash. And the response from most is that they want their trash picked up on time. Well if people cared enough to think about the people who pick up their trash they would make sure that they are compliant with the requirements for what goes into their refuse. Instead people are getting injured which means less workers to do the job and no – your trash will not be picked up on time!
    Come on – a bowling ball, sharp glass and hypodermic needles?? No worker should have to be subjected to such work conditions! I don’t know how people can be so insensitive. Where is the Bermuda where people actually cared?

  13. ella says:

    Well then, the Ministry of Public Works (Recycling) needs to get the message back out there.