Controlling the Risk of Fires on Waste Recycling Facilities
Across many waste recycling facilities in the UK, we see an increasing risk of fires occurring due to the amount of unknown dangerous and harmful substances found amongst everyday waste materials.
These fires can be difficult to extinguish as waste not only contains combustible and flammable items but also chemicals, batteries, diesel, and other harmful substances. Waste fires cause significant environmental harm and direct harm to site staff, the responders, and local communities - an issue we must be continually aiming to reduce.
A recent report has found that lithium-ion batteries are the root cause of approximately 200 waste fires each year. Batteries are contained in everyday items which make it extremely difficult to separate when mixed with general waste materials. These batteries are prone to ignite with no warning – often setting the surrounding combustible material alight resulting in a large site fire.
The Environmental Agency has issued Fire Prevention Plan guidance which applies to operators that accept any amount of combustible waste on their site.
Along with this guidance, WISH (Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum) has also detailed fire risk advise which expands on how this can then be implemented on discussing issues such as the following:
- Main causes of waste fires in the UK
- Reducing the risk of fires on site
- Non-compliance with fire guidance
- Impact for you and your business
Following the guidance and prevent plans, we can begin to reduce the number of site fires found on waste recycling facilities and provide a safer working environment.