Security of Bins - Why we're not just talking Rubbish
Arson attacks on schools and other public properties exact a huge cost in terms of the damage and the disruption that they cause. There is no doubting that the wheelie bin has been an excellent innovation; ideal for the easy storage and disposal of rubbish. The flip-side is that the deliberate ignition of wheelie bins can threaten life and property. They burn fiercely when on fire and if left or moved close to buildings can have very serious consequences. Unless they are secured they present a mobile hazard, an opportunity for arsonists or vandals. Considering the way in which refuse is managed, stored and secured can reduce the risk and significantly impact upon the safety of the working environment.
Take every precaution to prevent fire, consider all refuse as a potential hazard. Think about ensuring that all litter-bins are emptied before the lunch break and the end of each day if. Never place hot items into refuse bins and always be aware of the risk posed by smokers’ materials if not fully extinguished.
Waste stored in close proximity to a building. A fire in one fo the bins would easily spread to the building.
Do not store rubbish by windows or any other opening of a building. Always be conscious about the contents of wheelie bins. Wherever possible combustible rubbish should be compacted and removed and the wheelie bins should be secured in a proper compound away from buildings. If a compound is not available the wheelie bins should be locked shut and anchored, away from the nearest building. It is important not to overfill the wheelie bin or leave loose rubbish around it, minimise the opportunity for arsonists and always ensure that you are not blocking any escape routes. Remember the threat of smoke damage as well as the possibility of flame spread.
All that is left after a bin fire is a scorch mark on the ground. Anchoring the bin away from the building prevented a major loss.
In the case of schools the greatest risk of arson is outside of normal hours but be aware that one in three deliberately started school fires occur when pupils are in the school. Remember waste bins and wheelie bins should be located well away from buildings, preferably in locked compounds. Waste skips used for any purpose should be located at least 4.5m away from buildings but not near perimeter fences or walls as they will give intruders a good foothold to climb any fence or wall.
For more information on this and other building risk management issues please speak to your Buildings Risk Management Group representative.
Page Last Updated: 21 October 2004