Police are investigating whether a Hastings man who was found dead at a waste disposal centre in West Sussex earlier this week could have fallen asleep in a waste container.
A post mortem found that the man, identified as Ben Far (pictured) from St Leonards, had been crushed to death.
Detective Inspector Jim McKnight of Sussex Police said: “It is likely that Ben’s body was brought to the site by lorry having been taken from a commercial refuse bin. The refuse bin could be from a number of locations but is likely to be from a coastal location in West Sussex.
“His death is being treated as unexplained and the investigation is ongoing into the circumstances.
“We are appealing to anyone who may have seen or heard from Ben from April 15th to contact police with information as we are trying to build up a picture of his movements.”
CIWM partnered with waste and recycling company Biffa and StreetLink last year to raise awareness of the issue after a spate of incidents involving people sleeping in waste containers.
A homeless man was crushed to death in a recycling plant last year after he fell asleep in a wheeled bin – the man was a known homeless man in the area – and earlier this year a man was almost killed after sleeping in a recycling bin in Dublin, spurring Ireland’s largest waste collector to call for safety protocols to be implemented in an effort to avoid fatal incidents.
There have been other similar incidents across the industry and it is hoped that by raising awareness further incidences like this can be avoided.
“The aim of the joint communications campaign with StreetLink is three-fold,” explains Tim Standring, Biffa’s Divisional Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Coach. “We are seeking to raise awareness of the issue; highlight the dangers amongst rough sleepers of seeking shelter in bins; and to encourage waste management workers and their customers to contact StreetLink if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough.”
Research conducted earlier this year revealed that 16 percent of people found sleeping in bins were only discovered after they were tipped out.
David Beadle, President of CIWM said of the research: “The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management is committed to raising awareness of this issue and we are delighted to be a research partner in this report. Working with homeless charities is vital for developing the right guidance, and to helping those who are unfortunate enough to be sleeping rough to make choices that do not pose an added risk to their wellbeing.”
HSE guidance on this issue is available and by ensuring best practice is followed when checking bins prior to tipping, and training waste collection crews to know what advice to give to their customers on the need to lock bins, it is hoped that lives can be saved.