Fife Council Launches Campaign to Protect Refuse Workers from Abuse
Refuse collectors in Fife are regularly physically and verbally abused on their rounds, and the council has launched a new campaign to encourage drivers to be patient around bin lorries so they don’t cause accidents.
The council say that most drivers are patient, but there are also some that aren’t so helpful, driving dangerously to get around lorries or giving crews abuse.
Workers believe abuse is ‘part of the job’
Incidents of drivers mounting pavements to get past lorries and tailgating lorries then suddenly speeding past are among the issues recorded in the past year.
Refuse workers and lorry drivers have also been physically and verbally abused, but there are concerns that many incidents aren’t reported as workers believe they come with the territory.
The council’s campaign is being supported by local trade unions including Unison, Unite, and GMB. The council said it is encouraging employees to report incidents to managers, and in serious cases, to the police. A spokesperson said that there had been incidents where refuse workers have been hit or almost hit by dangerous drivers, and it was unacceptable that workers couldn’t do their job and feel safe. He added that the council was calling on people to be more considerate and patient.
Drivers need to show courtesy, say police
Police Scotland commented that the collection of waste and recycling is an important job and that staff should be shown courtesy by drivers as they go about their work. Inspector Andy Mather, in charge of Fife Road Policing, said that the Highway Code states that drivers should leave enough time for their journey, so this is something they should take into consideration if they know they are going to meet bin collections on their route. He urged drivers to give refuse workers plenty of room and to be aware that they may be crossing the road and might not see or hear them. He added that there was no excuse for mounting pavements, or any other anti-social driving behaviour, and that drivers would face fines or points on their licence.