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How to increase safety & productivity while handling wheelie bins

Supplier: WheelieSafe
23 June, 2015

The WheelieSafeTM Bin Management System.

Wheelie Bin origins and characteristics

Wheelie bins originated as the kerbside component of an innovative highly mechanised domestic waste collection system. Their innate utility has led to their invasion of all manner of commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational environments. Whilst the wheelie bin is a very clever concept, it has its drawbacks.

Although 240 litre bins can be loaded to above 150kgs, the bin itself has no brakes. It is extremely easy to lose control of a load on a slope with potentially disastrous consequences in terms of spinal injuries and tendon damage to the hands and forearms. As well, to move a wheelie bin it has to be tilted backwards and over-tilting a bin is also a common source of injury. The further the bin is tilted the greater the proportion of the bin's all-up weight is taken by the operator's back.

As well as the tilt load the operator must also propel the all-up weight, often up adverse slopes. As a result, back injuries are common. Wheelie bins also have narrow, small diameter wheels that are difficult to move across rough terrain or soft surfaces such as loose gravel, mud or lawn. To move them in these circumstances means tilting the bin further back, increasing the tilt load on the operator's back at a time when the effort required to propel the bin in increased.

To facilitate emptying, wheelie bins are wider at the top than at the bottom, but this makes them inherently unstable and likely to upset, especially if attempts are being made to move two bins at once. Empty wheelie bins are very noisy, producing a loud drumming noise when moved. They create a noise nuisance when large numbers are moved in multi -residential developments.

WH&S Injuries

With work related injuries costing in the tens of billions each year, every possible cause of workplace injury is worthy of alleviation. A prominent Sydney surgeon has written up the incidence and nature of injuries involving wheelie bins and it is obvious that their ubiquity has also led to WH&S problems in the workplace. Dr Richard Lawson of Royal North Shore Hospital, writing in the Medical Journal of Australia described the sequence of events leading to wheelie bin related injuries.

The issue came when wheelie bins were 'over-tilted' to reduce the pushing or pulling force required to move them. As the bin fell the victims (often women) tended to hold on thinking they could regain their balance. But the weight of the bin often exceeds the operator's strength, especially on a downward slope and the whelie bin pulls away.

The operator typically falls while still gripping the bin handle. Under these circumstances their hand hits the ground first and is dragged along by the momentum of the sliding bin. Overloading bins is another major source of bin related injury, although the injury scenario is similar. WorkSafe Victoria banned the use of unassisted bins in one meat wholesaler preparation facility because tilting heavily laden bins constituted an unacceptable WH&S risk.

The problem was solved using the WheelieSafeTM 'Dolly' model. The WheelieSafeTM Bin Handling System has also been used to provide a more WH&S-friendly undercarriage for a binmounted Wheelie Bin Vacuum. The WheelieSafeTM 'Dolly' model provided the ideal solution to lift and carry the bin and support the tilted weight of the system.

The WheelieSafeTM Bin Management System

The WheelieSafeTM Trolley The WheelieSafeTM Bin Management System is made up of a basic purpose-designed trolley, together with either one or two Handling Brackets. Five models are available, depending on the nature of the task. There are three manual models and two electric versions to suit all manner of bin movements. The handling bracket enables more than one bin to be handled at a time. The addition of two handling brackets enables up to four empty or lightly laden bins to be moved at once.

All manual trolley models have a failsafe mechanical braking system which, as well as assisting in loading the bins, also prevents the loaded trolley getting out of control. The WheelieSafeTM Electric models have a magnetic brake that automatically applies when the throttle lever is released.

Read more about how to increase safety and productivity with wheelie bins.