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Zilch UK has received a reply to his information enquiry to Highways England regarding litter picking safety risks

There is no reference  to the 1.2 metre rule or to how the risks are to be assessed before consideration is given to providing traffic management.

To see their  enquiry and the documents provided by Highways England please access this link:

Provision of evidence-based assessment of litter-picking risks


Who is responsible for H & S ?

The response makes it clear that the maintenance contractor, not Highways England,  are responsible for Health and Safety matters.

 I can confirm that risk assessments for different sites and road types are undertaken as required by the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, but not by Highways England. The duty to undertake risk assessments falls to the employers of the staff carrying out this activity. As you may be aware we engage a number of supply chain partners to carry out this work on our behalf.

One and possibly all of the three documents originate from Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald the contractor for Area 10.

When is Traffic Management required?

One document headed “Litter Picking” specifies  the safe working practices for litter picking on motorways.

It says:  “If required the Temporary TM (Traffic Management) should be determined ….”  and “Don’t start the works until the Temporary TM has been installed (if required)

But none of the documents state the criteria to be applied to assess  when TM is required and when its not.

Danger from Vegetation

The same document counsels “Don’t carry out works in areas with excessive vegetation” without indicating what constitutes excessive vegetation.

The same contractors are responsible for managing the vegetation. Surely they should be required to manage it so that it did not interfere with litter picking.

Page 7  P(6)  of  Interim Advice Note 115/08  Guidance For Works On The Hard Shoulder And  Road Side Verges On High Speed Dual Carriageways (DfT Nov 2008) the only Health and Safety Executive document  I can find that specifically refers to litter picking on motorways says:

For mobile works on the verge, such as walk through surveys and litter picking, a separation distance of 1.2m shall be maintained  between personnel and the nearest live traffic lane.  The risks involved in such work shall be assessed, and consideration given to providing lane closures, protection of a block vehicle in the hard shoulder (Chapter 8 Plan MLC6), coning along the edge of the verge or other protective measures.

There is no reference in the documents provided to the 1.2 metre rule or to how the risks are to be assessed before consideration is given to providing traffic management.  They just say  if it is required.

Peter Silverman
30th April 2015




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