The COMAH regulations implement the EU’s Seveso II Directive and apply to establishments on which large inventories of hazardous substances are likely to be present. They require duty holders to take ‘all necessary measures to prevent accidents involving dangerous substances’ and to ‘limit the consequences to people and/or the environment of any major accidents which do occur’. COMAH is regulated by the COMAH Competent Authority (CA) which includes the HSE and the relevant environmental regulator (EA, SEPA or NIEA).
All COMAH establishments must comply with the general duties described above and must produce a Major Accident Prevention Plan (MAPP), describing management systems and the roles and responsibilities of individuals in the organisation in respect of the prevention of major accidents. In addition, top-tier sites must produce a Safety Report that incorporates the MAPP and also includes the following sections:
- A description of possible major accidents, how likely these are and their potential consequences;
- Measures (such as safe plant and safe operating procedures) to properly prevent major accidents;
- Information on the safety precautions built into plant and equipment when it was designed and constructed;
- Details of measures (such as fire-fighting, relief systems and filters) to limit the consequences of any major accident that may occur; and
- Information about the emergency plan for the site, which is also used by the local authority in drawing up an off-site emergency plan.
The Safety Report must be reviewed every five years and whenever any significant changes are made that could affect the existing control measures at the plant.
What are the benefits?
COMAH sites have the potential to cause serious consequences to people and the environment if there are failings in the management systems and/or the plant and equipment on the site, as illustrated by the accident at the Buncefield fuel storage depot in December 2005. The Safety Report will identify significant major accident hazards, the consequences of their realisation and the safeguards in place to prevent accidents or mitigate their effects. Compliance with COMAH should minimise the potential for accidents.
CRA fosters a one team approach to hazard identification, consequence analysis and risk assessment activities necessary for the compilation of the Safety Report and other activities necessary for compliance with the COMAH regulations. The site owner/operator, the CRA consultants and our subcontractors work together with common aims and objectives to achieve compliance and the implementation of any necessary improvements to risk control measures to meet the requirements of the COMAH regulations.
For additional information on how CRA could help you, please contact Frank Dennis on email@example.com or 0115 965 6700.