The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Prevention & Waste Management – Part 76

May 20, 2019 1:46 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 75, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 76, we begin to discuss waste management from a fire prevention point of view. 

The effective management of waste on an ongoing basis is one of the major tenets of fire prevention in healthcare venues. This blog will look at the areas which should be concentrated on in order to prevent instances of fire because of ineffective waste management. More general guidance on healthcare waste (not only that which relates to fire safety) can be found in HTM 07-01.

Managers should provide and implement policies to manage the safe storage and prompt disposal of waste which accumulates over a 24-hour period. This may be a several step process, e.g. certain items can be placed in rubbish receptacles, which in turn, should be emptied when full and placed in the designated place for final disposal.

Waste should be stored in secure and appropriate receptacles for the waste type, such as imperforate non-flammable or metallic bins with well-fitting lids. Once full, the loaded receptacle, or appropriate closed liner containing the waste (it should not be left open or over-flowing), should be removed to a designated secure location which is separate from patient-care or public areas. This can help to deter instances of arson on the premises. 

It is not appropriate for unattended waste to be left or stored in tunnels, walkways or basement areas or on stairways or in corridors. It is essential that escape routes should be kept clear at all times. Under no circumstances should waste be stacked by an exit door.

Where waste disposal chutes are in use, they should be maintained under constant supervision. A redundant chute which connects basement levels with floors above can be a conduit for fire and smoke and therefore can pose a serious fire risk. The chute should be sealed off in the basement and at each floor level with fire and smoke resisting construction and seals.

Combustible waste, such as packaging materials, packing cases, food packaging, clinical and waste products must be subject to a rigorous procedure for collection and disposal. The continuing increase of the use of disposable products in healthcare environments only increases the need for all combustible waste to be diligently removed to designated combustible waste storage areas for ultimate disposal.

In part 77, LWF will look at the safe storage and disposal of dangerous substances and the dangers of explosive atmospheres. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 0800 410 1130.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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