European surveillance authorities for industrial chemicals meet in Tampere
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is hosting a joint meeting of the EU chemicals surveillance authorities in Tampere on 7–9 September 2011. Attended by more than 35 participants invited from 20 EU member states, the meeting of the so-called Seveso Directive enforcement authorities particularly addresses the assessment of the safety reports to be prepared by chemicals establishments. The aim is to harmonise both the inspections carried out at industrial plants and the safety report procedure practices in the member states.
The Seveso Directive deals with the prevention of major-accident hazards involved with dangerous industrial chemicals, laying down the regulations on the related handling and storage. Among dangerous chemicals are flammable and potentially explosive chemicals, such as explosives, LPG, hydrogen and petrol, and substances dangerous to health and the environment, e.g. ammonia, chlorine and sulphur dioxide. The name of the Directive comes from a serious industrial accident that occurred at a chemicals plant in Seveso of Italy in 1976.
The meeting in Tampere attends to different interpretations of the authorities and the possible trouble-shooting situations, and the experiences in the surveillance enforcement process. In Finland, the authority surveillance of the Seveso Directive falls mainly within the realm of Tukes, the Ministry of the Interior and regional rescue services departments bearing an important responsibility as to the planning of rescue operations.
Finland has a long tradition in being one of the forerunners in the enforcement of the Seveso Directive: we have up-to-date legal regulations, and the surveillance is working as it shall. The Directive has called for new national legislation and effective inter-authority co-operation e.g. in terms of land use and rescue services.
For more information:
Chief Engineer Anne-Mari Lähde, tel. +35810 6052 362