The waste industry is one of the most dangerous in the UK with approximately 30,000 incidents reported each month of motorists driving recklessly on pavements. This startling number of incidents is a serious concern for both waste operatives and members of the public.

Biffa handles 10% of household waste collections in the UK and currently their household waste collection teams are reporting around 3,000 incidents of reckless driving per month, a staggering number only accounting for just 1/10th of the industry figure. Biffa CCTV footage of reckless driving (shared below) makes for shocking viewing and shows numerous incidents of careless drivers mounting pavements and driving into or nearly missing waste workers in order to dodge their trucks parked in the road.

Here at Grahame Robb Associates, we were delighted to be asked to get involved with Biffa to address this very serious safety concern. In 2016, Biffa has launched the DROPs project – Driving Recklessly on Pavements - aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of driving on pavements and the significant impact it has. Speaking to the project lead, Dave West, it was clear that DROPs had been around as a concept for a while but with such a big problem to tackle, the organisation was scratching their heads - where do you start?

Working in partnership with GRA, Dave and his team have adopted the Influencer model to confront their challenge; The Biffa team underwent Influencer training with GRA and then Grahame Robb and Jane Hodgson facilitated project ‘kick off workshops’. By applying the ‘Six Source Model’, the team were able to break down what was a deceptively complex problem and apply a variety of strategies to create change.

These strategies included working closely with Staffordshire Constabulary to introduce a new prosecution system in October 2016. Figures show a marked improvement with a third of the 300 reported incidents of reckless driving by Biffa staff leading to prosecution of drivers.

In addition to driver prosecutions, some of the other strategies include clearer hi-vis marking and resident awareness campaigns; Furthermore, Biffa trucks are now fitted with 360 degree cameras to record incidents of dangerous driving to aid the police in prosecutions.

Dave Wests notes “since adopting the Six Source Model, we’ve really seen this project take off. We’ve gained so much traction, it’s snowballed!”

Karen McDonnell, Occupational Safety and Health Policy Adviser at the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “…The proactive approach taken by Biffa to tackle this issue is to be commended. RoSPA would encourage Biffa to share the learning from this initiative with the wider world of work.”

In addition to GRA, other organisations actively supporting the campaign include RoSPA and the HSE Keeping Britain Working Well collective, WISH, ESA, URT, BRAKE.

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