From 1st June 2015, the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015 will come into effect, replacing the previous COMAH 1999. COMAH governs businesses’ use of dangerous substances such as liquefied petroleum gas, explosives and chlorine.
The changes included in the updated regulations will impact all businesses and local authorities.
While the core principles of COMAH Regulations remain intact and more information can be found on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. However, there are eight new or changed duties which you need to be aware of, as outlined below:
- The list of substances covered by the regulations has been updated and aligned to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation.
- Transition arrangements for safety reports have been included.
- A new requirement for emergency planning has been included that requires cooperation by designated authorities (Category 1 responders, defined in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004) in tests of the external emergency plan.
- Both upper- and lower-tier establishments are obligated to provide public information about their sites and their hazards with provisions to include electronic access for the public to view the up-to-date information.
- The domino effects (i.e. the increase in risk of a major accident because of one or more factors such as geographical position or inventories of dangerous substances) duty has been broadened to include a duty for members of a domino group to share relevant information with neighbouring sites.
- In the event of a significant accident, local authorities must now inform the public if they are likely to be affected.
- Stronger requirements have been added to inspections conducted by the competent authorities.
- Some definitions have been changed to reflect updated information.
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