Dangerous chemicals and gases are handled and stored at nearly all chemicals and explosives plants, oil refineries, pulp and paper plants, paint factories, paintshops, power plants, water purification plants, ports and many other facilities. Dangerous chemicals and gases include flammable liquids, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and chemicals that pose a risk to health and the environment.
There are around 700 large-scale chemical and explosives establishments in Finland supervised by Tukes. Periodic inspections of all of them take place once a year, once in three years, or once in five years, depending on the quantity and risk level of the chemicals involved. Tukes may, however, either extend or shorten the inspection intervals that are stipulated in the Act on the basis of inspection results, the safety situation of the establishment, or risks stemming from the nature of the establishment (e.g. possible accidents, location) in accordance with the inspection plan.
All production plants dealing in large-scale industrial handling and storage are subject to a licence issued by Tukes. The scope of an establishment's operations is determined by the quantity and dangerousness of chemicals. The licence application must be filed with Tukes in good time before any detailed solutions are implemented or construction work has commenced. The permit sets conditions on the operations and the establishment is inspected prior to its commissioning. The target processing time for new licence applications is eight months. Small-scale handling and storage of chemicals is supervised by local rescue authorities, with whom a start-up notification must be filed.
All production plants carrying out large-scale handling and storage of chemicals must appoint a chemicals supervisor. The supervisor ensures that the production plant follows the provisions on dangerous chemicals, the licence conditions, and the prepared operational principles and plans. The supervisor must complete a qualification test arranged by Tukes.
Provisions regarding chemicals safety are laid down in the Act on the Safe Handling and Storage of Dangerous Chemicals and Explosives (390/2005, in Finnish) and a number of decrees (such as the Government Decree on the Monitoring of the Handling and Storage of Dangerous Chemicals 685/2015 and Government Decree on Safety Requirements for Industrial Handling and Storage of Dangerous Chemicals 856/2012, in Finnish). Tukes participates in the development of chemicals safety regulations, and national and international co-operation.