Revision of major accident hazard regs

Amendments to the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations will come into force at the end of this month.

The Health and Safety Commission said the new regulations will broaden the scope to take into account recent industrial accidents and the results of research on carcinogens and substances dangerous for the environment.

It also said the amendments would broaden the application of the regulations at mines, quarries, boreholes, and landfill sites.

The key revision regards changes to the lists of named dangerous substances, including:

  • a redefinition of ammonium nitrate to cover lower percentage composition, and new classes covering self-sustaining decomposition and reject material;
  • a new named category for potassium nitrate fertilisers;
  • specification of seven new carcinogens, and raised thresholds for all carcinogens;
  • a new category for petroleum products to include gas oils such as diesel, naptha, and kerosene including jet fuels, with thresholds that are half those of the previous automotive petrol category; and
  • the redefinition of the classes for explosives.

    Dr Mike Tonge, Head of the Health and Safety Executive's Major Hazards Policy Group, said: "The changes to COMAH brought about by these amendments reflect the lessons learnt from accidents in France, the Netherlands and Romania, and EC recommendations about the major accident potential of high and medium-potency carcinogens and substances dangerous for the environment."

    The amendments were laid before Parliament on 7th April this year and come into force on 30th June.

    By David Hopkins

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