Residents praise bin crews during coronavirus crisis

Published: Monday, 30th March 2020

Despite the challenge posed by coronavirus, the city’s waste collection crews, supported by other street scene staff, have continued to keep Birmingham clean – attracting many supportive messages.

Notes have started appearing in household windows and attached to bins, thanking the hardworking crews for their efforts to keep things running as smoothly as possible, despite the effect of the pandemic on front-line services across society.

Some of the messages attached to bins include:

  • “Thank you for carrying on and doing this. We appreciate it. Take care and stay safe.”
  • “Thank you for helping keep us safe. I have cleaned handles. We are currently symptom-free. Much appreciated chaps.”
  • “I think you are wonderful.”
  • Thank you to our binmen – you are appreciated.”

Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks, said: “We are immensely proud of the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by our staff throughout this pandemic and we will continue to support them.

“It’s great that their effort to give their very best in such circumstances is being recognised by the people of Birmingham.

“The positive words are having a great effect on morale. I want to formally place my thanks and gratitude on behalf of the council alongside those kind comments from residents.”

The council, in recognition of concerns raised by a very small number of workers, has also moved to again clarify the position on protective work gear for waste management crews.

Cllr O’Shea added: “We are working closely with our public health team and the Health and Safety Executive to keep our staff and their families safe and well. We will, of course, continue to provide protective equipment necessary to keep our people safe and we’ll follow any changes to guidance.

“There is a national shortage of masks and we are looking at what more reassurance we can provide, but the key message to staff and the public is that protective gear worn as standard by our bin crews is adequate as they are not in regular face-to-face contact with residents.

“In addition, like all responsible employers we are asking anyone with symptoms to stay away from work as per the national government and NHS guidance, so only those fit for work should be presenting for duty alongside their colleagues.

“We would ask that residents also play their part in helping keep our crews safe, by cleaning their bin handles before and after presentation and by ensuring residents who have had COVID-19 or have displayed symptoms follow government guidance to tie and double-bag their waste - and wait 72-hours before disposing of it in their household bin.”

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