Scaled Management Systems

Safer design for a waste container


Large waste containers (or skips) are used widely in commercial & industrial circumstances. They are emptied by large specially designed trucks. To hygienically store the waste, skips use very heavy lids. Accidents with these lids have caused serious hand, back and other injuries. At least one fatality has occurred in Australia.


Roll top containers offer safety features which are difficult to duplicate with conventional flat lids. A recent design incorporates a domed one-piece lid to which a tubular hinging arrangement is attached across the top of the container. A counterbalance system offsets the loads involved in lid opening and closing. This is achieved by two opposing compression springs and plunger fixed to a rod which operates the springs. In case of spring failure, the springs are retained in a tubular housing.

The design of the opening mechanism allows the lid to open without scraping against the container. A stop prevents the lid closing against the container front which prevents the trapping fingers or hands. A rubber strip seals this gap against vermin and odours.

Hierarchy of Controls:



  • The counterbalance system means that minimal force is required to open and close the lid of this roll-top container.
  • Employers using this design report that they have experienced improvements in safety and hygiene standards.