Joint Roadmap To Help Industry Reduce Number Of Waste Site Fires

17-03-14(4)picChief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is to develop a joint roadmap that will be aimed at reducing the number of fires at waste sites around the country.

The news come as the CFOA publishes its “Fire Futures Forum Report on Waste Management Fires” report, which looks at the findings and conclusions of an event that took place last year, aimed at dealing with the issue.

The event saw the attendance of politicians, insurers and representatives from the waste and recycling sector, including CIWM’s technical manager Tracy Moffatt.

CFOA hopes the joint roadmap will be another step forward in the prevention of waste site fires.

The event found that increasingly stringent targets was seen as a possible driver in increasing the scale of the problem, though household waste only accounts for approximately 30 percent of the total volume.

Event delegate – “On site risk management can be patchy, often good particularly amongst the larger operators, what is lacking is a general risk awareness, this is compounded by the fact that different agencies can inspect without a complete awareness of each other’s responsibilities, policies and powers”

It was the view of some that increasing targets and more materials being recycled was a cause of the increase in waste fires.

Others offered that the issue has not changed, and the sensationalist style of reporting by some media is at odds with the evidence.

Poor risk management was cited as a contributory factor in many cases, whilst the efforts of larger waste operators were duly recognised.

The role of regulators was also discussed with one particular quote summarising the general consensus of opinion as: “On site risk management can be patchy, often good particularly amongst the larger operators, what is lacking is a general risk awareness, this is compounded by the fact that different agencies can inspect without a complete awareness of each other’s responsibilities, policies and powers”.

One delegate at the event said: “The Environment Agency shared their document ‘Review of incidents at hazardous waste management facilities’ as an example of good practice being shared. The group liked this, most however were not aware of its existence, probably because the word ‘hazardous’ was involved which gave it a specific niche. A ‘non-hazardous’ version would be well received if pitched at the correct level.”

CIWM’s technical manager, Tracy Moffatt, said: “CIWM was one of the original members of the CFOA’s Working Group. The forum was well attended and enlightening.

“More importantly are the two work streams that emerged from the forum; one involving a working group to include, the waste industry, insurance industry, regulators and the fire service. Their task is to produce guidance for all those involved when a fire breaks out. This group is also involved in the development of protocols for sharing information to all the parties involved in minimising the risk of fires at waste facilities.

“These pieces of work will assist operators, regulators, insurers and the fire service to understand each other’s priorities and needs as well as working closer together in reducing the risk of these fires.

“The second work stream is being driven by the fire service itself, to review fire fighting tactics, analyse lessons learned from previous waste facility fires in order to provide more detailed operational guidance to the fire fighters. It is also seeking to research new fire fighting techniques, tactics and equipment in order to bring major waste fires under control more quickly.

“All in all it is a major achievement to see such industries, services and agencies working closely together for a common goal in reducing risks, management incidents and reviewing guidance and protocols. Long may it continue.”

For the full report CLICK HERE

www.cfoa.org.uk

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