Cameras fitted to bin lorries to prevent rough sleeper deaths

BiffaA waste management company is installing cameras to its vehicles in a bid to reduce the number of homeless people killed after sleeping rough in industrial-sized wheelie bins.

Last year staff from Biffa found 93 people sheltering inside large industrial waste bins, while four were killed after being tipped into the back of Biffa’s waste trucks.

Staff are completely unaware and helpless when they unload the bins into the hopper but it is hoped that by installing the cameras to 140 of its 800 trucks it will help prevent such accidents in the future.

Biffa’s Tim Standring told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours the cameras would give drivers extra “peace of mind” and that some vehicles would also record footage from inside hoppers.

The company was not spying on its staff, he said, saying the move was designed to protect them from the “anguish” of not realising a person had been inside the bin.

Mr Standring, the firm’s divisional health, safety, environment and quality coach, said: “If it’s the only place you’ve got to stay and it’s the most secure place I can kind of see the appeal, but the down side of it is if we don’t find you, you’re not going to survive.”

He added: “Once you’re in the hopper, the blade comes down and it crushes and breaks the waste and it will take it back into the body where it’s compacted again.

“These machines won’t differentiate between cardboard, wood and unfortunately people as well.”

Biffa hope to introduce the new technology in all its lorries by the end of the year.

The company formed a partnership with the Chartered Institute of Waste Management and homelessness service StreetLink to raise awareness of the issue of people sleeping in bins.

The organisations carried out research last year that showed that 28 of the 176 waste management organisations surveyed reported finding people sheltering in bins over the previous 12 months.

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