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Nick Warburton is former editor of SHP Magazine. He is currently working as a freelance journalist and as an account manager at Technical Publicity.
October 20, 2014

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WISH launches new guidance on waste fires

New guidance that provides advice and standards for the waste and recycling sector on how to reduce fire risk has been issued today.

The Waste Industry Safety & Health (WISH) Forum published the long-awaited guidance after a number of high-profile fires at waste sites, some of which took many months to fully extinguish.

Endorsed by the Chief Fire Officers Association, the guidance aims to provide advice and standards for the waste and recycling sector on good and acceptable practice, enabling it to reduce the risk of fire on sites.

A cross-industry work group was formed in late 2013 to find solutions after the waste industry recognised that the frequency of fires was too high, that fires may potentially cause harm to people and the environment, and also that they placed a significant burden on the Fire and Rescue Service and other public agencies.

The guidance has been devised by leading figures in the waste industry as a tool for the sector to use, and the document draws on the expertise of organisations across the industry and beyond, who participated in the draft guidance consultation.

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.”

“While the release of this guidance is an important milestone in the industry’s fight to reduce fires, we need to recognise that there is still much to be done,” added Chris Jones, chair of the WISH Forum.

“We have important tests planned for the coming months to help us to understand the science of waste fires, and there is a need to develop sector-specific guidance to work alongside this umbrella guidance. WISH is looking forward to working with its partners to build on this important start to reducing fires in the industry.”

The industry code of practice can be downloaded from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management website and 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 you fire control is adequate.



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