Guidance due on risks posed by rollaway vehicles

After a number of fatalities, the waste management sector is looking to tackle the dangers posed by rollaway vehicles further.

North Warwickshire says introducing in-cab technology would cost £87,350 in the first year and £38,013 per year thereafter (picture: Shutterstock)

The sector’s trade body the Environmental Services Association told that it is contributing to updated industry guidance. This is expected to involve work by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, which is reviewing its guidance on safety and health risks associated with rollaway vehicles.

In September 2019, the WISH Forum published guidance known as WASTE04 to help control safety and health risks associated with the operation of refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) in the waste management industry. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was consulted to help produce the WASTE04 guidance.

Waste businesses are expected to get updated driver safety advice in September from WISH (picture: Shutterstock)

Now, following the outcome of a case in which a driver died after becoming trapped underneath a RCV, understands WISH has started a review of the sections in WASTE04 which deal with rollaway vehicles. A revised version of WASTE04 is expected in September 2021.

“ESA is aware of a number of tragic incidents where a vehicle roll-away has sadly resulted in fatal injuries to drivers” – ESA spokesperson

The Environmental Services Association indicated it is involved with work looking to help develop guidance to prevent further incidents. A spokesperson told “ESA is aware of a number of tragic incidents where a vehicle roll-away has sadly resulted in fatal injuries to drivers. We are assisting with industry guidance to ensure that a combination of technical solutions and driver training help prevent such incidents.”


The revised guidance is expected to say that, as a minimum, there should be an audible warning alarm to alert a driver that a parking brake is not correctly applied. And, it is likely to suggest that there should be clear procedures where the driver or crew raise the alarm by the most efficient way possible should also be adopted. This may include a combination of shouting and frantic arm waving to warn people in the path of the vehicle.

WISH is expected to advise that driver training should highlight the risks and mitigating controls to avoid a potential roll/run away incident and must include a detailed instruction of the operation of the parking brake.

And drivers are likely to be advised confirm to management that they understand the operation of all controls before the vehicle is taken out on to the public highway for the first time.

The guidance’s stance on rollaways is expected to be that drivers will be told they should not attempt to re-mount a cab to prevent a rollaway unless a vehicle is moving at a slow ‘creeping’ pace and it is safe to do so.

Rollaway vehicles

There have been several high-profile tragic deaths involving rollaway vehicles in the sector in recent times.

Peter Coleman, 54, had been collecting waste for F&R Cawley at the Woodside Leisure Park in Watford (picture: Gail D’Almaine)

In March, Luton-based F&R Cawley was fined £1.5 million and ordered to pay costs of £475,000 after one of its drivers, 54-year-old Peter Coleman, died after becoming trapped underneath an RCV in 2014 (see story).

Mr Coleman had stepped out of his vehicle to collect refuse from a carpark in Watford, when the vehicle began rolling down a hill. In trying to prevent the RCV from rolling away happening, Mr Coleman became caught under the rear end of the vehicle. Justice Bishop, presiding over the case, said it was “for the waste industry to decide” if training should be provided to workers on runaway vehicles.

In a separate incident, 61-year-old Andrew Betts sustained a massive chest trauma and died after becoming trapped between the door and frame of a 7.5 tonne rollaway RCV while collecting waste for Urbaser from the Benenden School in Kent in November 2020.

On 28 July 2021, a jury inquest concluded Mr Betts’ death was a tragic accident, and no blame was apportioned to Urbaser.

Related link
WASTE04 – Safe Operation of Waste and Recycling Collection Vehicles


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