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New Guidance on Waste Fires released

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New Guidance on Waste Fires released

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New guidance for Waste and Recycling Sites has been issued today (20th October) by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, to provide site operators with the information and standards they need to reduce fire risk.

The guidance aims to provide advice and standards for the waste and recycling sector on good and acceptable practice, enabling them to reduce the risk of fire on their sites, and has been endorsed by the Chief Fire Officers Association. The release of the guidance follows a number of high-profile fires at waste sites, some of which take many months to fully extinguish.

The recognition across the waste industry that the frequency of fires is too high, may potentially cause harm to people and the environment, and places a significant burden on the Fire and Rescue Service and other public agencies, resulted in the formation in late 2013 of a cross-industry work group to address the issues. The guidance has been devised by those working in the waste industry as a tool for the waste industry to use, and aims to provide site operators with the information and standards they need to help them to reduce fire risk. Organisations across the waste industry and beyond have participated in consultation on drafts of the guidance.

The Chair of the cross-industry work group on fire, Geoff Smallwood, said: “Waste management operations pose specific fire risks. To date there has been no industry-generated guidance that site operators can use to assess whether their sites meet good practice and have in place appropriate controls. The WISH guidance aims to fill this gap and provide waste site operators with the tools and information they need to reduce fire risk.”

The guidance has been written by WISH with input from the ESA (Environmental Services Association), Environment Agency (EA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and other bodies. It is supported by the EA, SEPA, NRW, HSE, CFOA, ESA and WISH.

Operations Director at CFOA, Roy Wilsher, said: “This hugely useful document, which will help waste and recycling site operators to manage their fire risk more effectively, is a great example of the collaborative working that the waste industry has undertaken to effect positive change. The code of practice will help these businesses to work towards solutions for reducing their fire risk which are appropriate, manageable and cost-effective.”

The Code of Practice, which can be downloaded from the Chartered Institute of Waste Management website1 is split into two parts. Part one defines the scope and the fire risks faced by waste and recycling sites, while Part two looks at fire control guidance in four areas: whole site issues; issues in reception; issues during treatment; and storage of waste. Appendices provide recommendations on maximum stack size, accident and emergency plans, and assessing whether your fire control is adequate.

Published October 2014

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