In our line of work, fire prevention is not something to take lightly. As Thursday’s fire at the recycling facility on the waterfront in Toronto demonstrated, a fire in a recycling plant can be mighty. Fortunately, the site didn’t treat hazardous materials, and no one was injured. But it’s a reminder that having processes in place to prevent incidents, and knowing how to react in the face of a fire is essential in our industry to protect our staff, our community and the environment.
Recycling electronic devices comes with higher risks as they contain chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame-retardants, and other hazardous materials that if released in the environment or subjected to fire can have dreadful consequences. This is why processes and staff training are at the center of everything we do.
Regulations provide a framework to set internal policies and processes, like the Ontario Fire Code that ensures we have the correct fire suppression equipment for different types of fires in place and in working order. But it is up to the recycling site’s management to follow those regulations, train their staff on how to be prepare and what to do in case of an emergency, it includes:
- Running drills regularly
- Teaching staff on how to properly handle the equipment and the materials they are working with (e.g. knowing the dangers of the different types of batteries, how to properly remove them from devices and store them)
- Reviewing processes and policies regularly
Learning about Health & Safety and having a well trained staff can save lives and avoid incidents becoming catastrophies.
Photocredit to CBC http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/toronto/fire-recycling-facility-1.4130674