Methods for dealing with waste from hazardous materials incidents

Control Measure Knowledge

Any hazardous materials incident has the potential to produce waste. This may either be the hazardous material itself, equipment used to clean up the spillage, deal with the hazardous material or personal protective equipment (PPE) worn to protect personnel from the effects of the material.

Where waste is generated, it must be dealt with in an appropriate manner. This will normally involve passing the waste material either directly to a registered hazardous waste contractor, or to a responsible person who is instructed to dispose of the waste in an appropriate manner.

The fire and rescue service (FRS) needs to be able to determine who is responsible for the waste material. Generally, this will be the owner of the material or the site on which it is discovered, which will extend to all waste produced because of dealing with the incident. However, waste material needs to be handed over to the responsible person in a state that is safe to handle and to transport to a location of final disposal. Where the material cannot be left in a state that is safe to handle, detailed instructions from a hazardous materials adviser (HMA) should be left, providing information on how the material should be handled and by whom.

On rare occasions, the FRS may need to provide a disposal route for hazardous materials. This needs to be done through an agreed protocol and registered waste contractor. However, this waste should be limited to disposal of fire service equipment or equipment for secondary decontamination being transported for this purpose. It should not be for containers of hazardous materials, as these should not be transported on any fire service vehicle.

It should be noted that exemptions to the controls set out in the Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road is in place in Volume 1: section 1.1.3.1(d) where the carriage of dangerous goods is undertaken by a competent authority to transport material to the nearest appropriate safe place. Furthermore, Volume 1: section 1.1.3.1(e) allows the material to be transported for saving life and protecting the environment. Both these sections should allow for disposable equipment to be transported at the end of an incident if or when a responsible person cannot be determined.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions