Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Chem Major Hazards and Protection of Chemical Infrastructures

Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen

Action: 32002

Acronym: CI - Chem


The CI-Chem Action deals with the protection of the citizen from Major Hazards, both accidental and deliberate. It is based on the experience and competences of the consolidated and internationally recognized Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB), whose work will expand in 2009 to the new area of protection of chemical inrastructure and to deliberate chemical threats, meeting the new relevant concerns.

The Action focuses on two closely linked areas: The protection of chemical industrial systems and infrastructures from various threats, both internal (accidental events, technical and organizational/human failures) and external (natural disasters, intentional adversary acts) to the installation; and the protection of the citizens from chemical threats such as releases of toxic chemicals, explosions and fires, occurring either accidentally or intentionally, during a terrorist attack. The methodological framework in both areas is integrated risk assessment, covering all phases of disaster risk management, from identification of hazards, to prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response.

In FP7 the Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB), supporting the implementation of the Seveso Directive and relevant EU policy, is contributing to consistent and efficient control of industrial hazards through the development of reference tools and methods for risk assessment and management, monitoring accidents and incidents through the MARS Accident Reporting System, analyzing their causes, drawing lessons and mainstreaming them into risk management practices. In 2009 the new accident forms will be used for drawing lessons, the human and organizational failures will be studied as important underlying causes of major accidents and new development of the SPIRS system will allow better mapping of hazardous establishments in the EU. The major accident hazards potential of the chemical substances and the effect of forthcoming chemicals legislation (GHS and REACH) to major hazards control policy will also be analysed. The database of harmonized scenarios and data, developed by MAHB upon request of the Parliament and assisting the consistent and improved Land-Use Planning in the vicinity of industrial plants, will further be populated with reference data.

Industrial installations are vulnerable not only to technical failures and human errors, but also to external causes of accidents, namely natural events and intentional adversary acts. The Action is becoming a reference centre for the analysis of natech risks, i.e. technological disasters triggered by natural events, which will be analyzed in depth, contributing to the efficient protection from these types of disasters. Methods and tools will be developed for their assessment and management, using the support of multi-hazard risk assessment and mapping.

As for 2009 the Action will pursue three new areas of research:

" Addressing more extensively the issue of the security of industrial plants - especially as critical infrastructure - and Guidelines will be developed in support to the application of the European Critical Infrastructure (ECI) Directive in Seveso plants.

" Chemical preparedness, using the existing expertise and competences to address the problem of deliberate chemical threats and attacks, focusing both on toxic industrial chemicals and on chemical weapons, use of models for decision making, protection measures and needs for capacity building on chemical preparedness in the EU. Participation in the various initiatives of the Commission (e.g. CBRN Task Force, Chemical Threats Working Group of DG SANCO) and the international community (CEN WG-161)

" Development of the Disaster Risk Reduction Hyperbase (DRH), with assessed and validated best practices in disaster risk management. In particular the Action will develop the Europe-Africa node of the DRH, after agreement with the Japanese partners - who are developing the Asia node - and in partnership with the African Union.