Ballina council's waste management centre. Photo Contributed
Ballina council's waste management centre. Photo Contributed Contributed

Brush with death: Trip to dump almost cost man his life

A MAN is recovering from severe injuries after he had a brush with death after taking a stranger's rubbish to the tip.

Charity shop worker Glenn Vanroom said he lost three litres of blood and would have died if a staff member at Ballina's Waste Management Centre hadn't seen him after a piece of furniture shattered on him and severed a nerve, artery and tendon.

"Every Monday I come to work and have to dispose of people's household rubbish and unwanted and unsellable furniture," Mr Vanroom posted on Facebook.

"Two weeks ago someone left unsellable chipboard wall units (rubbish) with glass doors.

"It's my job to take this rubbish at our expense to Ballina tip. This particular day I loaded the rubbish that was left over the weekend once again which included a chipboard wall unit.

"As I was pushing it off the truck the chipboard started to crumble and the bottom broke away and fell back swinging one of the doors open quickly.

"My first instinct was to put my forearm up to protect my face. In doing so, the glass smashed leaving me with a severed nerve, artery and tendon which caused me to lose three litres of blood and 120 stitches.

"If it wasn't for a tip worker who saw me I could of died, which I cannot thank enough."

The near-death experience had Mr Vanroom give people a few tips on how to best handle waste.

"If you have rubbish please spend the few dollars and take to the tip (we spend thousands of dollars every year, which is mainly made up of household rubbish and unsellable furniture, mattresses)," he said.

"That drop off two weeks ago nearly killed me so next time you think of dumping rubbish please don't leave it for me and others to dispose of and possibly cause injury that for me unfortunately could be permanent for the sake of a trip to the tip."

A spokeswoman for Ballina Shire Council confirmed the incident occurred at the Waste Management Centre.

"Staff called Triple-0 and three members of staff provided assistance until ambulance officers arrived. We hope that the local charity worker is recovering from his injuries," she said.

"Charity shops provide an important service to our community, and it is not the role of charity shops to dispose of unsaleable goods. When residents are getting rid of unwanted items they should consider a good rule of thumb, if you wouldn't give an item to a friend, then don't donate it to a charity shop.

"Council has recently made some significant upgrades to our transfer station and installed easy to understand signage and tipwell units which will assist with unloading.

"Council's Open Spaces and Resource Recovery Manager Cheyne Willebrands says 'We're making it easier for residents to use our Waste Management Centre and have reduced our minimum fee charge to make it much cheaper to dispose of small quantities of unwanted material'."