Frail pensioner who paid council to remove TV told to drag it on to kerb because of health and safety fears for workers
Last updated at 5:00 PM on 6th June 2011
Workers from Colchester Council told an 85-year-old woman that she would have to carry a hefty TV set in her house to the kerb before they would dispose it for her (stock image)
Council jobsworths refused to help a frail pensioner dispose of her television, saying they would break health and safety rules if they carried it from her house.
Charlotte Cubitt, 85, from Colchester, Essex, decided to get rid of her old television and was ready to pay an £11 charge to have the council collect it because it was far too heavy for her to take to the dump.
But she was shocked when she was told that if she wanted the TV to be collected she would have to drag it to the kerbside herself because of health and safety concerns for council workers.
She said: 'They told me I would have
to put the TV outside my house because health and safety concerns
prevented the men from carrying it out of the house.
have seen these men and they are generally quite hefty and are employed
because of their ability to handle heavy sacks of rubbish.
times I have watched a man pick up five or six black bags - sometimes
even more - and then stagger across the road to the assembly point.
'What would be the risk of taking a TV from my house to carry it a couple of yards to sit on the kerb to await collection?'
from Colchester Borough Council told Mrs Cubitt to ask her
neighbours if they were willing to carry the heavy old television.
But Mrs Cubitt was outraged that the council was prepared to let someone else do their work.
She said: 'Would I be responsible if the neighbour suffered an injury?
'I don't understand it because the council must have insurance that would cover them, although I think it unlikely someone would be hurt carrying a television out to the road.'
Colchester Council was involved in another 'elf 'n' safety row in February when its workers were banned from taking rubbish out of dustbins.
Bill Craig, 80, used a wheelie bin to help him carry one small black bag of rubbish to the end of his drive.
But the council left him a warning note saying he was using the wrong kind of container for his rubbish.
Officials told a bemused Mr Craig that bin men could no longer lean in to the wheelie bin to take away the black bag in case they injured themselves.
Astonishingly, the council planned to pay for a specialist team to go to the former fisherman's semi-detached house in West Mersea, Essex, to collect the rubbish instead.
Mr Craig, who has had a heart attack and suffers from chronic back pain, said: 'This is officialdom gone barmy - the council is being held to ransom by health and safety rules.
'You could lift our black bin bag out using two fingers - it is not heavy.
'I was amazed when they told me that they would come and collect it especially - it's only a few food scraps.'
Martin Hunt, council deputy leader and Street and Waste Services Portfolio Holder, said: 'Colchester Borough Council provides a collection service for unwanted, large household items, including electricals, for a small charge.
'Electrical and electronic waste collected is sent for recycling.
'The council requires items to be left for collection clearly at the front boundary of the property by 7am on the morning of the collection date.
'However for residents with physical or other limitations who are unable to place items at their property boundary, the council will collect the item from a suitable agreed collection point outside the property but within the property boundary that can be used instead.
'This is in line with the assisted collection service provided for the council’s other recycling and rubbish collections.
'The council is unable to collect items from inside the property because of possible insurance claims against the council.
'The council considers it the responsibly of the resident or their family to take the item to the agreed collection location.'
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She probably just spoke to a typical desk bound council jobs-worth, who carries out a health and safety evaluation every time his pen rolls of the desk.
- Terry, Hastings, 06/6/2011 16:42
Dear God give me strength. If you read the statement by the "Street and Waste Services Portfolio Holder" (what a fatuously pretentious title ) you will see that he uses well over a hundred words of politicospeak drivel to say absolutely nothing other than "Shut up and do as I say". Thank goodness I left England thirty five years ago.
- Mike A, Channel Islands, 06/6/2011 16:38
How pathetic of these 'men'. They certainly would not let their grandma shift the TV set herself. PC gone quite mad again
- Geoff Fuller, Devon, 06/6/2011 16:38
LibLabCon have all combined to bring this lunacy about.
- michael murphy, Teignmouth, 06/6/2011 16:38
It seems that common sense goes out the window when employment is offered to council health and safety applicants. I would feel to ashamed to tell an 85 year old to risk injury to herself when my employers employ fit and healthy men to do work that requires physical dexterity. Unless employment is reserved for sugar puffs or the downright awkward squad. Sometimes my refuse bin has only a half filled "black" bag in it, because its not heavy to move the binman looks inside ,takes out the bag and closes the bin and throws bag in collecting vehicle.. Should I report those that do this because they are putting themselves at risk?
- Dab, Cambs, England., 06/6/2011 16:37
A parody on the song "My old man is a " " My carer is a refuse disposal executive, it wears designer clothes, and never gets dirty, as to manual labour, these are forbidden words"
- /g, Bruxelles , 06/6/2011 16:32
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