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Draft guidance published to reduce risk of waste fires

14 July 2014

A cross-industry group has developed draft guidance in an attempt to help reduce the risk of fires at waste management sites, and is asking for feedback from the industry.

The 89-page document has had input from the Environmental Services Association (ESA) in conjunction with the Environment Agency (EA), The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Health and Safety Laboratories, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and other bodies.

The guidance applies to waste sites where more than 50 cubic metres of solid combustible waste material is stored at any one time.

According to the ESA, there is now an urgent need to issue guidance, and its publication is "good practice based on legal requirements and the experience of regulators, insurers and the industry.”

The document is split into three sections. The first part of the guidance covers general issues such as scope and fire risks. The second part covers specific fire control guidance for sites in four areas: whole site issues, issues in reception, during treatment and for the storage of wastes.

Finally, a series of appendices included cover issues such as maximum stack sizes in external storage, producing an accident/emergency plan and checklists to help you assess whether your fire control is adequate.

The guidance is intended as an "umbrella”, according to the ESA.

"It gives general advice, which will be applicable to a wide range of waste management and similar sites which handle wastes, but it cannot cover every specific aspect of all forms of waste management type operation.

"Future guidance produced by sector specific bodies or on specific waste management technologies will sit under this guidance to add detail to the general considerations provided below.”

The intent of the guidance is to provide a framework through which operators can reduce the risk of fire on their sites.

The document has now been released for consultation by the ESA. Respondents have until Friday 25 July 2014 to voice their opinions. Read the full draft fire control guidance.