A ‘Macho Culture’ Among Salford’s Bin Men is A Health Risk

A ‘macho culture’ among bin men in Salford in Manchester is harming their health. They are often seen forgoing safety rules and approved practices to get the job done faster, but in doing so, they’re putting themselves at risk of injury.

They often do things like carry two bins to the vehicle at the time instead of one, or work through their breaks to get the job done quicker and won’t follow standard working practices for fear of being seen as ‘soft.’

Union bosses say that refuse collectors have never been told to work like they do, it’s the fault of the macho culture that pervades the industry. The unions recently met with some of the workers, and they have agreed to stick to the rules instead of putting themselves at risk. The workers agreed to stop carrying two bins at a time and have also promised that they will take their allocated breaks. They’re also planning to meet with the council to discuss how sticking to safer, yet possibly slower, ways of working might impact on collections. The workers say they are concerned that they may not get rounds completed in time. But if the workers continue to work flat out as they are, they will be more at risk of illness and injury, and the inevitable absences from work will affect collections anyway.  There is a possibility that the council might have to hire more workers to make sure that rounds are completed on time.

A union spokesperson said that the refuse collectors’ way of working is not in their best interests, and he highlighted the issue of carrying two bins at a time and not taking adequate breaks as definite problems. He added that the workers have settled into that particular way of doing the job and pointed out the role of the macho culture and peer pressure.

A representative from the council said that they are aware that some of the refuse workers have concerns and that they intend to meet with them to discuss the best way forward.