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Environment
News article29 September 2021

Industrial accidents: Commission report shows improvement in preventing major accidents involving dangerous substances

The European Commission published today a Report on the implementation and efficient functioning of Directive 2012/18/EU on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances (the Seveso III Directive). The report shows that between 2015 and 2018, the number of major industrial accidents in EU has stabilised at a low level: 25 per year for 12 000 establishments. It also shows that EU Member States are better implementing the provisions of the Directive, compared to the data reported in previous years.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, said:

Preventing industrial accidents is key to protecting people’s lives, health and the environment, and is an important commitment set out in the European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan. The implementation of three generations of Seveso Directives has contributed significantly for reducing the number of major industrial accidents. However, every accident is one accident too many. We want to join forces and strengthen cooperation with Member States to further reduce the risk of industrial accidents.

The Seveso III Directive is widely considered as a benchmark for industrial accidents policy and has been a role model for legislation in many countries worldwide.This is the first report under Seveso III Directive, and provides a wealth of information on various implementation issues. With a total of 11 776 establishments falling within the scope of the Directive, the report finds that number of major accidents has continuously decreased to reach less than 25 per year in recent years.

The Seveso III Directive plays a a key role in steering the highly industrialised EU towards zero pollution from industrial accidents, a commitment set out in the European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan. The Commission will work with Member States to improve compliance with the Directive, such as on assessing the risks of establishments and the consequences of accidents. It will also develop synergies between the Seveso III Directive and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, to improve prevention, preparedness and response in the event of a major industrial accident. These efforts include upcoming work to integrate the electronic Seveso Plants Retrieval System (eSPIRS) into the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to alert operators and competent authorities if an event that could trigger a major industrial accident occurs.

Background

Major accidents involving dangerous chemicals pose a significant threat to humans and the environment. Furthermore, such accidents cause huge economic losses and disrupt sustainable growth.

The Seveso III Directive applies to over 12 000 industrial installations across the European Union and lays down rules to prevent major industrial accidents and minimize their harmful impacts on human health and the environment. Sectors like the chemical and petrochemical industry, and the fuel wholesale and storage sectors are covered by its scope. Different safety regimes apply, depending on the amount of dangerous substances present, with stricter legal requirements applying to installations handling high amounts.

For more information

Background on the Seveso III Directive

Summary of the requirements under the Seveso III Directive

Database on Accidents reported to the European Commission in compliance with Seveso Directive Annex VI criteria.

Database on the establishments falling under the scope of the Seveso-III Directive

Commission Report on the implementation and efficient functioning of Directive 2012/18/EU on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances for the period 2015-2018

Details

Publication date
29 September 2021