Tenos attend waste sites fire safety seminar

Tenos Fire Engineer, Andrew Foolkes shares his insights on fire safety for waste site operators following his recent attendance at the seminar, ‘Fire involving waste sites – prevention and mitigation’ hosted by the South Eastern Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

I recently attended the seminar ‘Fire involving waste sites – prevention and mitigation’ hosted by the South Eastern Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Organised by the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in response to a number of high profile fires in recent years involving waste sites, this seminar was attended by more than 60 delegates including waste site operators and representatives from the fire and health and safety industry.

The seminar focussed on three key issues:

  1. The nature of the problem;
  2. It’s impact of such fires on the fire service operational procedures and capabilities;
  3. It’s impact on businesses, the wider environment and public safety.

The seminar was delivered by an excellent line up of speakers from the Environment Agency (EA), East Sussex Fire and Rescue (ESFR), London Fire Service (LFS) and the Waste Industry Safety & Health forum (WISH).

It was refreshing to hear Chris Smith, Chairman of WISH talk about his practical experience of managing fire safety on waste sites. His commitment to promoting best practice in the waste industry and advancing fire safety research is highly commendable. Indeed, Tenos are proud to be part of the WISH project which is contributing to a greater understanding of fire safety on waste sites.

The key messages from this seminar can be summarised as follows:

  • Fires on waste and recycling sites will occur;
  • Fires on wastes sites will affect local residents but can be managed effectively through collaboration between the waste site operator, the Environment Agency and the local fire authority;
  • An MoU is to be signed in London in autumn 2015 between the HSE, EA and LFEPA to carry out joint inspections on waste sites. It is envisaged that this will be rolled out nationwide;
  • The WISH guidance is an alternative to the current EA guidance and, by the opinion of some, is the preferred guidance document for fire safety on waste and recycling sites;

It was particularly interesting to hear the operational firefighting perspective and how the attending fire crew and Environment Agency interact. It was clear that the close working relationship between the Environment Agency and East Sussex and Rescue Service and London Fire Service is the key to success for dealing with waste operators who have little regard for fire safety.

Fire engineering has an important role in fire safety on waste sites

In my opinion, research into fires on waste site and recycling sites is limited and more extensive research is urgently required. It is also important to remember that fire engineers can have a vital role in the prevention and mitigation of fires on waste sites by helping operators to meet their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive legislation.

If you would like more information about how Tenos can help waste and recycling site operators meet their fire safety obligations, please get in touch on 0161 872 6798.

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Written by Andrew Foolkes, Tenos Fire Engineer