Somerset bin collectors suspended for safety breaches

A NUMBER of staff responsible for kerbside waste and recycling collections in Somerset have been suspended for “possible breaches of safe working practices”.

All have since returned to work for incidents including reversing a truck without crew members acting as guides.

A spokesperson for Somerset Waste Partnership said the temporary suspensions were handed out to “a small number” of staff.

The spokesperson did not respond to our request to give a precise number following suggestions there had been multiple suspensions.

He said: “We take the health and safety very seriously and there were also a small number of temporary staff suspensions for the investigation of possible breaches of safe working practices, including reversing without having crew members acting as guides – an industry standard precaution to protect the public and crews.

“Following investigation, all suspended staff have returned to work.”

The suspensions follow a difficult start to 2021, with collections disrupted by “Covid-related staff absences in January and February.

The spokesperson said SWP’s contractor SUEZ had taken a proactive approach to isolating team bubbles to reduce the risk of workplace transmissions.

He added: “This pressure was added to by a challenging local agency labour market and more waste needing collection during lockdown.

“The situation has improved markedly as staff return from isolation and there has been no disruption of note this month.”

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