If a refuse collector injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Refuse collection is hazardous job due to heavy lifting, exposure to waste-related toxins, the risk of bin lorry lifting mechanisms, and road traffic accidents.

Refuse Collector Injuries might occur from lifting heavy objects, machinery accidents, or exposure to hazardous waste.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an injury at work, we can help.

If your injuries were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee work accident compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

With around 4,000 waste and recycling sector workers injured each year, you are not alone

Workers in the refuse and recycling sector are at four times the risk of workers in comparable sectors, reflecting the demanding nature of the job and the fact that they work in poor light conditions and bad weather.

According to HSE data, 4,000 waste sector workers are injured each year (hse.gov.uk).

Around 4 percent of workers in are diagnosed with with a work related illness, and a further 3 percent suffer a work-related injury.

If you are injured due to the negligence of your employer or another third party, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Depending on the type of accident, the claim will likely fall under the category of accident at work claims or work-related illness claims, made against the local authority employer or private waste contractor.

If you decide to make a refuse collector injury claim, your work accident solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you need to move forward.

Am I entitled to make a refuse collector injury claim?

If you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, you will be able to claim compensation.

Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.

Can I claim compensation if I was partly at fault?

The law concerning liability (or blame) for an accident is complex, and varies depending on the situation.

In our 2024 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.

You could still have a valid claim if you were partly to blame for your injury. Employers may be also be held responsible under vicarious liability for injuries caused by employees, making a claim possible if you or a colleague caused your injury or illness.

Read more:

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

How long do I have to claim refuse collector injury compensation?

An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.

If you were not immediately aware that you were harmed by someone else's negligence, the 3-year time limit runs from the date you were diagnosed and became aware of what caused your injury or illness.

How much compensation can I claim for a refuse collection injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

Refuse collector injury compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated April 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (judiciary.uk) and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, including lost overtime, holiday pay, benefits and pension contributions, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as diagnostic imaging tests, physical therapy and pain medication.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

The psychological consequences of workplace injuries

Are you concerned about the mental and emotional impact of your injury? You are not alone.

Our 2024 Work Injury Claimant Survey reveals the extent of psychological trauma, with 25.00% of claims involving a psychological injury, 64.09% of which related to a physical injury.

Injuries in this job can cause stress, anxiety or even PTSD, due to the physical nature and potential health risks of the work. Ilnesses may lead to mysophobia (fear of dirt or contamination).

Some workers remain hesitant to seek help for potential psychological injuries, fearing that their concerns will be dismissed or they will be treated differently.

Factoring compensation for psychological harm will ensure you receive mental health support and other therapies that may not be readily available on the NHS in your area.

Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.

Common refuse collector injury claims

Workers in the waste collection and recycling industry are exposed to a number of hazards in the workplace. These common causes of injury are set out below.

Struck by a moving vehicle

Refuse collectors must travel in bin lorries as drivers and passengers and frequently cross roads to collect refuse bins. Unsurprisingly, a significant number of accidents occur on the road. These include vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents and incidences where the refuse worker is struck by the waste collection truck.

These claims are often treated as road accident claims, made against the negligence driver, rather than the refuse workers employer. Compensation is usually paid out by the driver's insurance company.

See also:

Vehicle collisions claims

Pedestrian accident claims

Contact with machinery

The majority of domestic waste collection trucks in the UK are fitted with a mechanical hoist to raise and lower bins. Injury may occur if the hoist fails, causing a bin to fall on the refuse collector, or if the refuse worker becomes entangled in the hoist during the tipping cycle. Accidents of this type can cause serious crush injury, head injury and concussion.

Loading injuries

The introduction of bin hoists and wheelie bins has eliminated some of the risks associated with lifting heavy items. However, refuse collectors are still at risk of a manual handling accident when moving the waste bin from its storage place to the vehicle.

Trips, slips and falls

Refuse collectors frequently walk along public pavements and roads as part of their job. Defects such as potholes, raised paving slabs or icy, unsalted surfaces increase the risk of a slip, trip and fall accident.

Sharp object and needlestick injuries

Broken glass, serrated metal and other sharp objects are capable of causing cuts and lacerations if they are placed loose into a bin or refuse sack. Refuse collectors are also at risk of needlestick injury if syringes and dangerous sharps are negligently disposed into ordinary waste bins.

The Courts recognise that needlestick injuries often cause an amount of anxiety, stress or more severe psychological harm, as the injured worker worries about possible infection. It may be possible to claim for this harm even in cases where there is no resulting infection, due to the worker's very real fear.

Read more about needlestick injuries.

Is my employer liable?

Employers have a general duty to keep their workers safe from harm.

To minimise the risk of accidents occurring, employers must provide refuse collection workers with high visibility clothing and other types of personal protective equipment such as anti-slip safety boots and heavy duty gloves to protect against lacerations and needlestick injuries. Employers also have a duty to consider the ergonomic design of waste materials receptacles and to train all workers on the proper lifting and carrying techniques.

Failing to properly assess and minimise the risks associated with a refuse collection task may expose the employer to a compensation claim. Negligence is almost always established where the employer has breached a specific health and safety standard.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 6 April 2022.

This legislation means that employers have an obligation to provide free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all workers, including workers who are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract.

Under the previous 1992 regulations, employers were only required to provide PPE to employees with a formal employment contract.

If you are injured at work and your employer failed to provide you with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation - even if you are self-employed.

What if I was partly to blame?

Employees must also observe health and safety protocols. For example, refuse collectors must:

  • Wear the personal protective clothing provided by the employer
  • Follow standards for the safe lifting, carrying and loading of refuse bins
  • Observe the Highway Code if driving a waste collection truck
  • Ride inside the cab and not on the footplate of a moving vehicle.

Where there is evidence of some negligence or reckless behaviour on the part of the employee, a Court may decide that the refuse worker contributed to his own injuries. It may still be possible to bring a claim in this situation, but the claimant's award typically will be reduced to reflect the part they played in the incident.

Employers' liability claims claims

Work accident claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:

No win, no fee refuse collector injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim refuse collector injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

How we can help you with your work accident claim

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee work accident claim, we are open:

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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator

Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator