BIR World Recycling Convention: Launch of new Survey on Shredder Safety

During the latest World Recycling Convention (online) organized by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the Shredder Committee focused on safety issues.

Sharing information is regarded as one of the most effective ways to improve safety around shredder installations. Therefore, Christopher J. Bedell (Senior Vice President and General Counsel for The David J. Joseph Company, 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 (

In his opinion, such a discussion could then lead to actions “to address the highest risks in shredder operations”. A summit meeting could also help identify trends that might not show up at individual yards – something that could become useful in preventing accidents.

The Shredder Committee’s Chairman Scott Newell III (Newell Recycling Equipment, USA) welcomed this proposal for a further session to share experiences and information. At the Shredder Committee meeting, he also 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.

Regarding the BIR Shredder Safety Survey Report 2019, Christopher J. Bedell presented some of the main findings. As stated, based on responses to a BIR-led questionnaire, this statistical analysis of incidents and injuries occurring at shredder installations of more than 1,000 HP (horsepower) has been designed to enable shredder owners to benchmark their safety performance against similar operations around the world and to provide a basis for safety briefings. The speaker noted, in particular, the confidentiality accorded to survey respondents as well as the high incidence of eye and hand injuries and the prominence of picking, mill maintenance and conveyor repair as sources of accidents.

On the same day, the committee launched the BIR Shredder Safety Survey for 2020 ( According to the world recycling organization’s Trade and Environment Director Ross Bartley, the survey is 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.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 2/2021, Page 20, Photo: O. Kürth)