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Council binmen banned from crossing the ROAD due to heath and safety fears they could get run over

Published 23rd Jan 2012

Council binmen have been banned by their bosses from walking across a road less than 20ft wide because of health and safety.

Bureaucrats are concerned motorists will fail to spot the workers in their high visibility jackets and trousers if they are allowed to carry the wheelie bins from one side of the street to the other.

Residents have watched in amazement as the crew drive down one side of the road to empty the bins – then double back to the top of the hill and start all over again on the opposite side.

It is all because Almondbury Bank in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, has been deemed too risky to walk across by Kirklees Council.

But the policy was condemned as 'pointless bureaucracy' yesterday by public spending watchdogs.

Residents had been puzzled why the bin wagon drove down one side of the road, then turned around at the bottom to drive back up the street, then back down again.

They had wondered why the binmen did not drive down once and clear both sides as they do further up the hill where there are fewer houses.

The reason came to light after one resident, who had been waiting three weeks since Christmas for his bin to be emptied, found it had been missed again.

The bin was by then so full he could not even get the lid down, bags were piling up at the back of his house, and he reckons one of them still contained the remains of his festive turkey.

So he was delighted when he spotted the bin wagon directly opposite his house on the other side of the road as the crew emptied the bins on the other side.

He dashed out and pointed out to a binman that his bin was full to bursting. The man said 'no problem' and started to cross the street.

But then he was called back by the driver who said crossing the street was forbidden because of health and safety.

After bombarding the council with calls, the resident did eventually receive a 'special collection' to empty the bin on Thursday, the day before the usual collection day.

But this time the rubbish had been sitting outside his kitchen door for one day short of a month and he had made a dozen phone calls to Kirklees Council pleading for them to take it away.

Yesterday, residents were baffled by the ruling. There is a school and corner shop in the area and pensioners and children cross the street all the time without incident.

Diane Sainsbury, 39, said: 'It’s ridiculous. The binmen wear luminous yellow jackets and trousers so it not as if you can’t see them.

'They are only here during the day anyway. They come before nine in the morning and are gone by ten.

'We have to cross the road and the binmen are not children. Road sweepers cross the roads so maybe the council will have to think twice about them doing it now.'

Driving instructor David Parry, 56, said: 'This health and safety is absolutely nonsense and it is costing this country a fortune in wasted bureaucracy.

'They should rely on people's common sense. People in London would love to live on a quiet road like this.

'It is not busy whatever the health and safety brigade say and anyone who says it’s dangerous should be shot.'

Eric Palmer, 80, a retired power worker, said he managed to struggle across the road without incident.

'I always thought they did both sides of the road as they came down and had no idea they did one side then the other,' he added.

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: 'The crews work up the road on one side and down the road on the other. They do not cross the road during the round.

'This road is split up into several different rounds and because of its width and the fact that it is very busy, crews work in one direction only. We apologise for missing this bin.'

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is ridiculous that the simple task of putting out your waste and having it collected by the council is needlessly overcomplicated because of pointless bureaucracy.

'This is a basic service and, after a decade in which council tax bills have more than doubled, people will wonder why it needs to become steadily less convenient.

'Unnecessary health and safety regulations add an extra burden to residents, businesses and council workers alike.

'If pensioners and bin men think a road is safe to cross then they should be able to trust their own judgement.'

Source: ' Daily Mail '

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