As Scrap Business Booms, Scrapyard Dangers Come into Focus
A bulldozer tears into 220 Hudson St. Photo by Thomas Hammond
Combustion is the main hazard haunting scrapyards — a ghost that exacted its vengeance on a Cayce scrapyard. There are several dangers but there are also several industry’s best practices to stay safe.
Federal regulation requires a vehicle to be bled dry before it gets shredded, but while it sits in the yard it can be as combustible as the scrapyard operator wants to risk. In those wastelands of junk vehicles, often known as pull-a-parts, a person could drive their car straight into the yard and the facility would accept it, Wolff notes.
Following the industry’s best practices to prevent raging car infernos is up to the yard operators, according to Barry Wolff, treasurer for the Southeast chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and vice president at Charleston Steel and Metal. It’s up to the scrapyard or demolishers and parts guy.” Federal regulation requires a vehicle to be bled dry before it gets shredded, but while it sits in the yard it can be as combustible as the scrapyard operator wants to risk. “Even though the industry wanted that to get rid of some of the bad apples, we couldn’t get that through the Legislature.” Aside from taking steps to avoid the daily dangers of rigid copper wiring reaching out to lacerate your skin and chunks of weighty metal looking to make slapstick comedy out of your foot, scrapyards battle against unintended ignition the most fiercely.
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