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News & Events

Minister Bruton approves new regulations for the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances

New regulations on the Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances come into force in Ireland today (Monday), as a result of regulations approved by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation. These Regulations give effect to the European Union Directive 2012/18/EU (known as the Seveso III Directive). They apply only to locations where significant quantities of dangerous substances are stored.

The 'Seveso' Directive applies to around 10,000 industrial establishments across Europe where dangerous substances are used or stored in large quantities, mainly in the chemicals, petrochemicals, storage, and metal refining sectors.

There are approximately 100 Seveso establishments in Ireland (this figure changes over time as establishments fall in and out of the scope of the Directive). There is a tiered approach to the level of controls. Sites are divided into upper and lower-tier establishments. The larger the quantities of dangerous substances present within an establishment, the stricter the rules ('upper-tier' establishments have greater quantities than 'lower-tier' establishments, and are therefore subject to tighter control).

The new Regulations replace but do not fundamentally alter the regulatory regime laid out in the existing Seveso II Regulations (the European Communities (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 74 of 2006)). The former Regulations have been re-made under the Chemicals Acts in the interests of streamlining the enforcement of chemicals legislation.

The new Regulations (the Chemicals Act (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2015) strengthen a number of areas such as public access to information and standards of inspections. There are some important changes contained in the new Regulations particularly on how dangerous substances are classified and the information that has to be made available to the public. For the first time, lower-tier operators will have to provide public information about their site and its hazards. Both upper-tier and lower-tier operators will be required to provide information which will be electronically available to the public and kept it up to date by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), which is the Central Competent Authority for the Regulations.

The main changes coming into effect under the new Regulations include:
· Updating and aligning the list of substances covered by the Directive to the EU legislation on the classification of dangerous substances; 
· Strengthening citizens' rights on access to information, justice and on participation in decision-making; 
· Improving the way information is collected, managed, made available and shared; 
· Introducing stricter standards for inspections ensuring a more effective implementation and enforcement; 
· Clarifying and updating of provisions, including streamlining and simplification to reduce administrative burden.

For further information contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation - Ph: 01-6312200; e-mail: press.office@djei.ie 

Notes for Editors

The coming into force of the new Regulations 2015 in Ireland is the culmination of a lengthy consultative process with the general public, stakeholders and across Government Departments and agencies. The HSA will carry out more than 100 risk-based Seveso related inspections in 2015. Guidance on the regulations will be available to operators on the Health and Safety Authority website.
For information on the control of major accident hazards see: www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Chemicals/COMAH/