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Waste Disposal: Safety

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1337W, on waste disposal: safety, if she will request the Health and Safety Executive to undertake research on the safety of household refuse containers in relation to deliberate fires. (308547)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has no plans to assess the safety of household refuse containers (including “wheelie bins”) in relation to deliberate fires. I do not intend to request them to do so as such incidents arise from criminal acts of arson, which is a matter for the police, and not HSE, whose remit is restricted to the health, safety and welfare of persons at work and others who may be affected by work activities. HSE is therefore involved in issues such as the safe lifting of wheelie bins on to refuse lorries, to which European standards apply, but the deliberate setting of fires in household refuse containers is outside any intended normal use and design criteria. Such arson attacks are tackled by the fire and rescue services and are investigated by the police under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.