Refuse Collection Operations Risk Management - Safety Culture Review

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Over the last 60 years or so, industry first reduced accident rates by improving: hardware (effective guards, safer equipment); then improved employee performance (selection and training, incentives and reward schemes) and, then changed the way they manage and organise – especially, by introducing safety management systems. Each time, incident rates plateaued and there is now a realisation that in order to evolve and reduce incident rates further organisations must introduce a behavioural safety based programme as part of their overall safety management system.

The term ‘safety culture’ was first used in the 1988 ‘Summary Report on the Post-Accident Review Meeting on the Chernobyl Accident’ where safety culture was described as: 

"That assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organisations and individuals which establishes that, as an overriding priority, nuclear plant safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance."

The Cullen Report into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash also reported safety culture as a contributing factor and described safety culture as "the way we typically do things around here”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) lists the largest influences on safety culture as being

  • Management commitment and style;
  • Employee involvement;
  • Training and competence;
  • Communication;
  • Compliance with procedures; and
  • Organisational learning

Gallagher Bassett Refuse Safety Culture Assessment Services

Due to both the seriousness and numbers of incidents involving Refuse Collection Vehicles in the UK, Gallagher Bassett Risk Control Services has developed a toolkit to measure the Safety Climate of an  organisation, particularly in respect to roadside refuge collection services.

Objectives of the Review

The review is intended to support clients in understand and applying a more human factors, behaviour focussed operator education and risk management programme that is line management led. The review will explore and report on the following main elements of a client’s safety culture

  • Management and Leadership
  • Blame Culture
  • Communicating on Safety
  • Risk Awareness
  • Learning Culture
  • Employee Involvement.


Your Risk Control Consultant will attend your premises and conduct sequential interviews. The interviewees will be asked questions to explore the main reporting elements. Ideally, to get a 360o view of the safety culture Gallagher Bassett advise that as a minimum, 2 x RCV crews, 2 x line managers/supervisors, and a senior manager be involved in a sequential interview process.

A report will then be produced to highlight the findings and where necessary, make recommendations for improvement. 

In order to effect a behaviour based safety approach it is recommended that you follow up the report by providing awareness training to supervisors and managers on influencing behavioural safety performance.

The awareness training is based upon applied research and evidence for improving safety performance and influencing behaviours. It is intended that it will aid managers, supervisors and trainers to initiate and maintain positive influence on refuse collection operational safety.

How can we help you?

For more advice on how we can help lower the cost of your risk, please email


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