UK Health and Safety Executive seeks views on Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) Regulations 2015

Published:  06 May, 2014

Consultation on land use planning aspects and Article 30 of Council Directive 2012/18/EU (Seveso III Directive) on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances – comments also sought on the public information requirements.

The consultative document seeks views on proposed new regulations, titled ‘The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015’ to implement all but the land use planning aspects and Article 30, ‘Heavy Fuel Oils’ of Council Directive 2012/18/EU (Seveso III Directive) on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

Article 30 has already been implemented in the UK via a consequential amendment to the COMAH Regulations 1999, this change will be incorporated into the COMAH Regulations 2015.

The Consultative Document also seeks comments on the new public information requirements and the initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed changes as set out in the impact assessment.

The key areas of change are:

(a) Scope – due to the move from CHIP to the CLP classification criteria, there are some changes which will see a small number of sites move between tiers.  Some sites may move out of scope entirely whilst others may become COMAH sites for the first time. There are changes in classification for some substances such as alternative fuels which take account of advances in technology. The generic classifications ‘Toxic’ and ‘Very Toxic’ have been replaced with Acute Toxic Categories 1-3 with reference to specific routes of exposure. Operators will be required to update their inventories to reflect the change in classification system.

(b) Public Information – Seveso III has been brought in line with the Aarhus  Convention. This is reflected in the Article on public information which requires information regarding sites – both upper tier and, for the first time, lower tier - and their hazards to be made permanently and electronically available to the public. The information also has to be kept up to date.

Other areas of change are:

(a) Safety Reports – scope changes mean that existing sites will be required to review their safety reports and update them to reflect the CLP changes. For the majority of sites it is not anticipated that there will be any need to change actual safety management arrangements unless a new dangerous substance is added as a result of the change to CLP classification. The Secretary of State (SoS) Direction that safety reports should not be disclosed will be removed from 1 June 2015 (see paragraph 34). Therefore, operators will be required to identify issues in their safety report which are personally or commercially confidential, or have national security implications.

(b) Notifications – changes in scope are likely to mean that all COMAH sites will need to update their notifications to the CCA to ensure that they adequately reflect the nature and quantity of substances now within scope of the Directive.

(c) Emergency Plans – Seveso III prescribes a similar emergency planning regime to that in the COMAH Regulations 1999. There are some differences such as extra information is required in off-site emergency plans and both upper and lower tier operators have to provide public information on how the public concerned is warned and how they should behave in the event of a major accident. There are differences in timescales for the production of emergency plans. The changes in scope are likely to mean that the majority of COMAH sites will also need to review their emergency plans.

(d) There are some changes in definition of key terms (e.g. presence of dangerous substances).

(e) Duties in relation to domino effects are broader particularly regarding sharing information with neighbouring sites. 

The consultation ends on 27 June 2014.

Download the consultation document here.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.