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BIR World Recycling Convention - Shredder Committee: BIR launches latest survey to renew focus on shredder safety

  • 01 June 2021

Information-sharing is one of the most effective ways of improving safety around shredder installations, experts agreed at today’s online meeting of the BIR Shredder Committee on.

Christopher J. Bedell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for The David J. Joseph Company in the USA, called for a safety “summit” to be held once operators had had an opportunity to digest the contents of the newly-launched BIR Shredder Safety Survey Report for 2019. Such a discussion could then lead to actions “to address the highest risks in shredder operations”, he said. “It’s always valuable to share instances and stories, and to take lessons from them.” A summit meeting could also help identify trends that might not show up at individual yards - something which could prove useful in preventing accidents, Mr Bedell added.

The Shredder Committee’s Chairman Scott Newell III of Newell Recycling Equipment, also based in the USA, said he was excited by the safety benchmarking initiative taken by BIR and welcomed the proposal for a further meeting to share experiences and information.

Earlier, Mr Bedell had summarized some of the main findings of the BIR Shredder Safety Survey Report for 2019. Based on responses to a BIR-led questionnaire, this statistical analysis of incidents and injuries occurring at shredder installations of more than 1000 HP has been designed to enable shredder owners to benchmark their own safety performance against similar operations around the world and to provide a basis for safety briefings. Mr Bedell noted in particular: the confidentiality accorded to survey respondents; the high incidence of eye and hand injuries; and the prominence of picking, mill maintenance and conveyor repair as sources of accidents.

The meeting on June 1 also saw the launch of the BIR Shredder Safety Survey for 2020 ( which, according to the world recycling organization’s Trade and Environment Director Ross Bartley, was available in five languages (English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish) and had been extended to include questions on weather conditions at the time of an incident and deflagrations. “Every shredder owner is welcome to participate,” he insisted.

Also at the Shredder Committee meeting, Mr Newell provided an update of the World Shredder List showing 322 installations in North America, 262 in Europe and 579 elsewhere for a global total of 1163.

Two guest presentations covered developments in minimizing shredder emissions. First, Martin Dörner, Sales Manager Recycling at Venti Oelde in Germany, provided details of his company’s robust Carbon Reduction System with dry working dust extraction and described some of the advantages of combining dry filtration with activated carbon.

He was followed by Frederick Thoma, Head of Sales at Belgium-based Lybover AIR which has implemented the products of Keller Lufttechnik of Germany in various dust extraction projects. The speaker explained how a Keller Ultra Filter could be teamed with an activated carbon filter to achieve VOC emission limit requirements.