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Importance of the EN840 Standard

Wheeled refuse collection bins for domestic and larger industrial use, along with vehicle mounted lifting equipment, has been widely used across the UK since the mid-1980s. Shockingly, refuse collection still has a significant number of serious accidents and even deaths per year, despite advances in technology relating to the lifting devices and wheeled bins.

The EN840 was created to provide basic regulations for the manufacturers of wheelie bins to ensure their products are safe to use and are durable. The EN840 standard affects the whole design of mobile waste containers from the use and shape of wheels, handles and lids to the design of brakes and direction blocks.

Common Causes of Injury

There are many risks associated with refuse collection and accidents have occurred through the movement of the refuse vehicle, the failure of lifting equipment, the incompatible design of some bins, and the over loading of bins. The main risks of refuse collection relating to the movement of wheeled bins and the use of lifting equipment are stated below:

  • Manual handling risks, such as moving the bin from its location and loading it onto the lifting device
  • Effects of surfaces – i.e. pavements and roads
  • Effects of the design and overall maintenance of the bin
  • Loading and removing of the bin from the lifting device
  • Incompatibilities between bin and equipment
  • Inadequate maintenance of equipment and bins
Case Study: Waste Collector Struck by a Bin Falling From Lifting Equipment

This study relates to a large 1110 litre wheelie bin, a size often required by large commercial, public and industrial premises.The waste bin fell from height during the tipping cycle, killing the loader. The following investigation revealed that the full weight of the bin may have exceeded both its own and the lifting devices safe working load (SWL). To prevent this from occurring, refuse collectors require a simple method to determine whether the load of the bin is within the SWLs for both the bin and device. In addition, any incompatibility between the bin and lifting device would have increased the risk of the bin being released during the tipping cycle.

This case study outlines the importance of never over filling wheelie bins. This relates to large industrial sized bins, such as the one referred to, and smaller domestic bins as exceeding the SWLs can result in the lifting equipment locking system failing. Furthermore, it is essential when purchasing wheelie bins that you ensure they are compatible with EN840 approved lifting equipment, as well as ensuring the wheelie bins have been accredited to the standard. The EN840 was created in order to prevent some of these accidents occurring, in particular those related to the design and maintenance of the wheeled bins.


  • Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.
  • HSE, (2006), The Safe Use of Refuse Collection Vehicle Hoists and Bins. Accessed 16th October 2013.
Wheelie Bins EN840

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