The risk of fires at municipal solid waste (MSW) storage sites is of great concern because such fires not only result in material losses worth millions of Euros annually but also have deleterious effects on both human health and the environment. Keeping in view that management decisions addressing risk of fires cannot be divorced from human psychology regarding safety, a questionnaire survey was designed for which 187 respondents gave a response rate of 33%. Survey results showed that three types of biases; optimism, attribution and availability bias, prevail among managers of waste management companies. Furthermore, biased respondents had experienced higher frequency of fire incidents and preferred low cost risk averting technologies. It is concluded that there is a need to acknowledge the existence of biases and to improve the decision making skills of managers with the help of risk awareness programmes and implementation of government steering tools to reduce risk of spontaneous fires.
Keywords: risk perception, fire incident, self-ignition, temporary storage, waste fuels and recyclables, waste management, environment, occupational safety, optimism bias, attribution bias, availability bias