WISH issues revised draft fire control guidance

The Waste Industry Safety & Health (WISH) Forum has issued revised draft fire control guidance for the waste sector following a second round of consultation.

Prepared by a cross-industry group – including input from 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 aims to provide operators with a ‘framework’ to help reduce the likelihood and frequency of fires occurring on solid waste handling sites and, where fires do occur, reduce their potential health and environmental impacts.

The draft document has been produced to amend the draft guidance, which was released in June, following responses from 36 organisations.

Changes include clarification on which of the three approaches to stack size management should apply, as this area received most comment in the consultation. The originally proposed stack sizes and separation distances, which the Tyre Recovery Association said were ‘wholly unworkable’, have also been changed to align with recently published standards from the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations in Europe on the ‘Treatment and Storage of Waste and Combustible Secondary Raw Materials’.

However, the forum has said that ‘it is still the intent of the group to conduct real-burn testing on wastes and the data from this may well replace these sizes and distances at a future date’.

The cross-industry fire working group has said that there is an ‘urgent need to issue guidance’ as the waste management industry ‘keeps suffering serious fires’. Indeed, figures released last year show that between 2001 and 2012, the average rate of fires at waste and recycling works came in at just under one per day.

Although the EA has previously released guidance identifying a range of measures that operators of waste storage sites should implement to minimise the risk of fire, the WISH guidance seeks to update and supersede that document.

The deadline for final comments to the revised draft guidelines is Monday, 15 September, with the final guidance expected to be released in October.

Read the revised draft fire control guidance.