Top tips for control of external waste

External waste, if stored inappropriately, can result in fire spreading into a building. There is a risk from arson, accidental ignition (e.g. smoking, fireworks) and self ignition due to presence of oils, oily rags and other combustible materials subject to oxidation.

Even a small bin fire can quickly grow out of control, with the potential for total loss of the building and loss of profits until normal service is resumed

Our top tips for controlling the risk of fire from external waste are as noted below. This list isn’t exhaustive, but should help you identify some of the key concerns, helping you complete your fire risk assessment.

1. Keep Minimal amounts internally, move waste out of the building frequently, at least daily

2. Store waste externally, as far from building as practical , ensuring evacuation routes and assembly points are not compromised

3. Distance, 5m might be acceptable for small bins (e.g. domestic wheelie bins), however waste skips, commercial waste bins should be kept at least 10m from a building, or even further depending on the risk and fire load (for example close to a glass windows where heat could radiate through)

4. Where it is not possible to store this distance, and close to a building, ensure that the waste container is non-combustible and has a locked non-combustible lid.

5. Secure bins away from the building, using proprietary locking devices, or at least a chain and padlock

6. Ensure waste is segregated to allow recycling, and reduce your waste disposal costs.

7. If there is no lids, make sure you minimise the risk of waste blowing around the site using cages

Some examples of poor housekeeping can be seen on our Pinterest page – have a look here