The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a consultation on the draft COMAH Regulations 2015 to implement the Seveso III Directive 2012/18/EU on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

This consultative document seeks views 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 Great Britain 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:

  • Scope – due to the move from the classification system ‘Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply)’ (CHIP) to the new classification system ‘Classification, Labelling and Packaging’ (CLP).
  • Public Information – all COMAH sites to make certain information about their sites and hazards permanently and electronically available to the public.

Other areas of change relate to safety reports, notifications, emergency plans, some changes in definition of key terms (eg presence of dangerous substances) and broader duties in relation to domino effects, particularly sharing information with neighbouring sites.

The consultation closes on 27th June, and the new COMAH regulations will be laid in the Houses of Parliament early in 2015. HSE intends to publish guidance three months before the new COMAH regulations come into force (March 2015).

Full details of the consultation document can be found on the HSE website.