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Case Studies » Recresco – Kent

The challenge

A visit was made to the Recresco glass recycling site at Swanscombe in September 2014 to consider compliance with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). The site provides commercial waste management services to a range of clients and recycles glass waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

The site footprint extends to circa 8000m2 and is located within a dedicated industrial area immediately adjacent to the main highway. The main recycling facility consists of a ca. 1500m2 steel-framed, metal-clad building which houses specialist recycling and sorting machinery. The site operates 24/7.

Routine plant operations involve potentially-hazardous substances but are not especially complex and generally have purpose-designed process controls. There is extensive provision for storage and handling of waste materials though no significant dispensing of flammable liquid or gas applies on-site. It was identified that accumulation of some combustible / flammable particulate materials, including waste, may increase the residual DSEAR hazard at the premises.

Site operations consist of glass recycling using established process techniques to isolate contaminants associated with the co-mingled feedstock material. State-of-the-art equipment and skilled personnel use purpose-designed sorting, granulation and finishing plant.

The solution provided

An assessment of the site was carried out in compliance with the DSEAR regulations 2002 and we were able to confirm to the business that the overall risk was deemed as acceptable. However we also indicated a number of relevant actions should be considered as a number of areas of particular significance were noted.

A particular concern was that we found dust accumulations were excessive and potentially the variable level of contaminants may result in flammable dust deposits around some equipment. Dust accumulation associated with glass particulate or fibres from recycling operations is essentially inert; however combustible components/contaminants within typical feedstock may ignite if such dust is present at sufficient concentration in air to form flammable dust cloud.

In working with the company, it was incumbent on us to provide advice on remedial actions to minimise the impact from hazardous substances. Recognised standards and guidance are used in determining the appropriate status and extent of DSEAR hazardous zones for site operations.

Recresco were supplied with a detailed report that focused upon identification of hazardous substances and potential release sources; whilst also evaluating whether existing control measures were sufficient to limit the likelihood of fire and / or explosion incident.

Significant findings from the survey were clearly set out in the report issued along with recommendations to mitigate fire and explosion hazards or support best practice on-site. Key issues to address were around preventing dust building up, control of ignition sources and improving ventilation of potentially hazardous areas. The report directed Recresco that the overall impact is lessened where effective on-site housekeeping regimes and / or containment of hazardous substances is well managed.

Hazardous area classification was applied to those areas where a flammable atmosphere may persist either briefly or for longer periods of time as outlined in the regulations – specifically within confines of equipment or e.g. in / around flammable handling or storage locations.

Recresco have subsequently organized for two additional sites in Liverpool and Wales to be assessed in 2015.

What Recresco – Kent said:

A very professional service from start to finish. I have recommended you to other regional coordinators.

B Smith
Recresco – Kent