Garbage trucks friend or foe?

Posted by Andrew McGiffert |20 Mar 13 | 0 comments

Garbage trucks friend or foe?

Is it not surprising that garbage trucks pose a risk to the public? Whilst most trucks on the roads now have advanced camera systems monitoring the back of truck, and pedestrians should notice a 25+ tonne truck moving slowly along the road people still get struck by them, regularly.

WorkSafe Victoria has launched an investigation into the death of an 86 year old man who was hit by a garbage truck emptying a bin at a fast food restaurant at the beginning of this month. An 83 year old woman also suffered head injuries but remains in a stable condition.

Chief Executive Officer at WorkSafe, Denise Cosgrove, said the incident “was a tragedy for the man and woman” and while the investigation has just begun “it serves as a reminder of the dangers of vehicles operating close to pedestrians”.

This raises the question, would plant operating in a workplace of this size/weight be able to operate in such proximity to pedestrians? Probably not! And if it did there would at least be controls in place. WorkSafe CEO Denise Cosgrove said “We find that cordoning off the location during the activity, having clear pedestrian pathways, using trained spotters and clear signage are some of the ways workplaces can eliminate those dangers”.

[Image Source: Courier Mail]

Whilst this is the only serious incident of this type reported in Australia by the media during the last year, it isn’t the only incident around the world with devastating consequences involving garbage trucks.

5 year old Kayleigh Callaghan-Belanger of Toronto, Canada was killed when crossing the street with a group of friends, a garbage truck collecting rubbish from the street was making a left-hand turn and collided with the children. Three of the four children were struck, Kayleigh did not survive. Whilst this has raised question around safe sidewalks in Canada it is another example of the risks involved with trucks of this size interacting closely with pedestrians. In no means is this an isolated incident either

  • 19 year old cyclist in Strathpine, QLD was struck and killed when crossing a road in January
  • A 58 year old woman in Manhattan, NYC was walking her bicycle along the curb on 23rd street, near Park Avenue, when a garbage truck pulling into traffic crushed her to death in January.
  • A 62 year old woman was struck and killed by a garbage truck in Cedar, Canada in January
  • A senior was truck and killed by a garbage truck in Ottawa, Canada in 2011

Did you know Australia is the worlds second largest producer of rubbish, every year each Australian throws out almost 700 kilos of rubbish (ABC). We certainly can’t live without garbage trucks, and the amount of pedestrian deaths involving general traffic on the roads isn’t flattering – but the fact is a ‘garbage truck’ is an extension of a ‘workplace’ and risks must be assessed and controlled.


No Responses