COVID-19 – Coronavirus – Health and Safety of our crews
Health and Safety of waste and recycling crews during the coronavirus
TOR2 and Torbay Council want to reassure residents who have expressed concern over the health and safety of waste and recycling crews during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.
TOR2 are following the approved government guidelines on safe site procedures and multi-occupancy vehicles; stating that a gathering of two or more people is allowed for essential work purposes.
A spokesperson for TOR2 said: “The health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance to TOR2, the government guidelines are checked on a regular basis and any changes are implemented.
“As per the Kier policy we have asked ALL TOR2 employees to inform their line manager/supervisor of any pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, heart disease etc) that may exacerbate the effects of COVID-19.
“All waste and recycling employees have been instructed to wear gloves at all times and to use the anti-bacterial wipes provided within the vehicles.”
There have also been queries raised regarding masks for waste and recycling employees. On Monday 6 April Public Health England (PHE) clarified that masks are not advised to be used outside of clinical settings, though TOR2 have however ordered masks, should this guidance change in the near future.
According to the latest PHE guidance on GOV.UK, “there is very little evidence of widespread benefit from the use of face masks outside of the clinical or care settings, where they play a very important role.
“Therefore, PHE does not advise masks in public places and for those working in supermarkets, waste collection, schools and similar settings.”
Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Culture for Torbay Council said: “As with all local services, the health and safety of both staff and residents is paramount and we will work closely with our contractors Kier and TOR2 to ensure staff have the protective equipment they need.
“It’s a challenging time for everyone, and a fast changing situation. During the coronavirus outbreak we advise residents of Torbay to check both TOR2 and Torbay Council’s website and social media channels for any local updates and advice, as well as the national nhs.uk and GOV.UK Coronavirus webpages..
“We also ask you to follow national guidance on disposing of used tissues which you can find on the GOV.UK website – please note tissues left in recycling boxes will not be collected.”
The Household Waste and Recycling Centre remains closed in line with government guidance and Bulky Waste and green waste collections are still suspended to enable household waste and recycling collections to be prioritised.