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Fire Safety Management at a vehicle recycling site – Where to start?

With so many elements to Fire Safety Management in your vehicle recycling operation, which areas should you look at first? Michelle Pitkin, CMIOSH, Health & Safety Advisor for Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and Vice-Chair at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Fire Risk Management Group and IOSH Council Member, provides ATF Professional with her thoughts on risk assessments and what should be considered when looking at Fire Safety Management.


Fire Safety Management at the vehicle recycling site - Where to start? p
Michelle Pitkin

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ( was made into law on 7 June 2005 and came into force on 1 October 2006. It is statutory in England and Wales and gives details of the responsibilities placed on the individuals within an organisation around Fire Safety and Fire Risk Management. It includes carrying out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce fire risk. But where to start?

Here are my top 5 areas for Fire Safety Management:


At the heart of all fire safety management is the fire risk assessment. A fire risk assessment is required to be completed by the responsible person which should be a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which persons are exposed to and which identifies any further precautions needing to be taken. 

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Guidance is available on the website on how to carry out a fire risk assessment, along with assessment guides on specific types of environments. Fire safety in the workplace: Fire risk assessments – GOV.UK


Fire Exits/ Panic doors allow for a safe egress in an emergency situation from a building. The doors should open and close with ease and should be accessible at all times, they should never have items stored on them, be wedged/ propped open and should open onto a clear exit route. 

Fire Safety Management at the vehicle recycling site - Where to start? p one

Daily and weekly checks should be carried out. This can be done using a simple Checklist list form.



The Fire Alarm system is key to ensuring that everyone is alerted to the need to evacuate the site. Testing should be carried out on a weekly basis by operating a call point device; a different call point should be chosen each week on a rotation to ensure all call points are tested over a 12-month period.  

An annual test to be carried out by a specialist contractor/ manufacturer/ installer. All sounders should be checked to ensure they can be heard across the entire site. This testing can be recorded in the Fire Safety Log Book or on a simple Fire Alarm Call point checksheet.

Emergency lighting – test/maintenance record

The Emergency Lighting system must be tested. British Standard 5266 a monthly and annual full-duration test. All tests should be carried out in line with the manufacturer’s information so as to meet the British Standard. These can be recorded within the Fire Safety Log Book or on an Emergency lighting Monthly Checks.


Portable fire extinguishers can aid your escape in an emergency situation. They are designed to extinguish or control small fires, not fires that are out of control so to aid your escape. 

Fire extinguishers and blankets should be sited, installed and maintained according to BS5306 regulations.

They should have an annual inspection carried out by a contract service engineer or someone internally trained to undertake fire extinguisher servicing. 

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Your fire risk assessment will guide you as to where fire extinguishers should be placed; however, as a rule, these are normally on exit routes, near exit doors or near known hazards. 

You may wish to have a Fire Extinguisher site Plan. This plan can assist you in your checks to ensure that all fire extinguishers are identified, and put in place and can aid the service engineer at the annual service to ensure all extinguishers are checked and serviced. 

Daily and weekly checks should be carried out. This can be done using a simple Checklist list form.


Staff need to be aware of their required actions within an emergency situation. Staff should know to:

  • Raise the alarm
  • Call the Fire Brigade
  • Know when not to tackle a fire
  • Know the correct evacuation procedures for the premises

All staff, including seasonal, casual and temporary, should receive a basic induction when joining a company; this should include a basic fire and emergency awareness. The responsible person must ensure staff are informed of the following:

  • How to minimise/ reduce the effects of fire
  • Any significant findings of the fire risk assessment
  • How to raise the alarm
  • What to do on hearing the alarm- escape routes, assembly/ muster points, fire-fighting equipment
  • How to call the emergency services
  • Those with additional responsibilities, i.e. Fire Marshals
  • Any special arrangements that are in place

Fire Marshals/ Fire Wardens – those required to operate fire extinguishers, should undergo specific training on how to operate fire fighting equipment.

Guests and Visitors need to know what actions they should take in the event of an emergency. A site induction or Site Information Sheet can be used.

Fire drills should be conducted to simulate fire conditions and to test fire procedures, and all staff should be involved. Fire drills should be held at least once a year. However, you should take into account any shifts you may have and carry out drills to ensure that each shift is involved. Drills should be carried out unannounced with minimal people in the know of the event and the findings recorded on a Fire drill record

Debriefs on the effectiveness of the drills should be carried out so that any evacuation procedures can be changed if necessary.

Refresh fire safety training

Fire refresher training should be carried out at regular periods, for example, every two years, to ensure staff have the most current and up-to-date information. The fire risk assessment will help determine the required frequency. 

See Michelle’s previous article on ATF Professional – Risk Assessment at ATFs – What do you really need to do?


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The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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