Australian recycling center shut down over fire hazards

Australian recycling center shut down over fire hazards

Re.Group to update "operating and housekeeping procedures" to avoid concerns.

January 14, 2019

An Australian recycling center is shut down due to a series of fire hazards that were discovered by a government work safety inspector Thursday.

Work safety commissioner Greg Jones issued a prohibition notice forcing Canberra-based Re.Group, which recycles and recovers resources from waste, to fix major areas of concern before workers can return. The fire hazards include piles of material blocking emergency exits, missing handrails, a lack of fire extinguishers at the site and concerns over the storage of flammable materials.

Re.Group's Chief Development Officer Garth Lamb told The Canberra Times that mixed plastics and other recyclables had been piling up at the center during the holiday season. He stated that no injuries or incidents had occurred at the center.

"Our team has been working with WorkSafe ACT to understand and address some concerns raised with us late on Thursday night," Lamb told the newspaper. "We are committed to the safety and well-being of our workforce. We have taken the recommendations from Worksafe seriously and we will update our operating and housekeeping procedures to avoid these concerns in the future."

In 2017, the center underwent an AU$8 million upgrade, which allowed glass bottles to be sorted and processed at the facility. The recycling facility processes 250 tons of waste per day. 

Curbside recyclables are still being collected and will be held at a temporary storing site until the major concerns have been addressed. Jones said the ACT Fire & Rescue will also be consulted before reopening the site.