Act now to prevent harm to colleagues and damage to the environment

A letter to BMRA members.

Dear Member,

It cannot have escaped your attention that the waste industry, including the scrap metal sector, is suffering an increasing number of fires, many of which are caused by lithium-ion batteries or WEEE containing batteries.

This is a significant health and safety issue. These fires pose a real risk to your employees, contractors, visitors to your site and those people on other metal recycling sites. I greatly fear it is only a matter of time before we suffer a fatality in the industry.

As the Chief Executive of the BMRA, I am strongly urging you to take active steps to ensure that every load you sell is free from lithium-ion batteries or incidental items of WEEE-containing batteries.  

We can only solve this problem if we pull together as a sector and work to eradicate combustion sources from the entire supply chain.

If we do nothing, given fires in the waste industry is already an increasing topic of concern amongst the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Environment Agency, operators could face onerous sanctions from these stakeholders. In addition, these incidents will increase insurance premiums dramatically and, in some cases, this may render some companies uninsurable.

So, to prevent risk of injury, death and harm to the environment, we need to clean-up the supply chain and greatly reduce the risk of fires occurring in scrap metal piles.

Please play your part and help the sector stamp out fires. Please make sure you do not include the following in any of your loads:

  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Combustible material in furnace-ready scrap
  • Frag feed mixed with HMS 1 & 2

These three elements have been identified as the most likely sources of fire in a scrap yard.

If you have any questions about this request or the work of the BMRA Fires Committee, please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,

James Kelly