The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations are in place to control and prevent any accidents that may occur as a result of using and storing/processing hazardous chemicals and substances that could cause harm to individuals and the environment. This includes toxic gases being released into the environment, chemical leaks or explosions, fires and toxic substances leaking into waterways or onto land.
The Seveso Directive
This directive was introduced after the Seveso Disaster of 1976 – an industrial accident in which around 6 tonnes of the chemical dioxin was released into the area around the town of Seveso and the surrounding areas, causing devastation to wildlife and health complications for many local victims. The directive has since been broadened to Seveso III. In England and Northern Ireland, this directive is implemented through the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015, known as COMAH15.
When do COMAH regulations apply?
COMAH applies when an industrial or working site has a certain quantity of dangerous substances present on it. There is a threshold in terms of the amount of dangerous substances that can be present on a site. Sites that go slightly over this threshold are known as Lower Tier sites. Sites that have larger amounts of substances which are greatly over this threshold are known as Top Tier sites. COMAH regulations state that lower tier sites must have a Major Accident Prevention Policy, while top sites require an in-depth safety report. Frequent audits, COMAH consultancy advice and inspections are also required. Emergency plans also need to be thoroughly tested, and must involve a competent authority and local emergency services. This is very important to keep everyone on-site and those inhabiting the surrounding area safe.
Adherence to COMAH regulations is essential for both lower and top tier sites in the UK. Sites that are handling large amounts of hazardous chemicals and materials must ensure effective risk management concerning potential blasts and explosions, fires and chemical containment, storage and processing. All sites must also be operating within the standards set out by the local HSE and Environmental Standards Agencies.
COMAH consultancy services
Phoenix Safety Services offer COMAH consultancy advice to help you check whether your site needs to comply with COMAH regulations. Once established, we can work out effective strategies to keep your site out of or in line with COMAH regulations if needed, assist with lower or top tier applications and risk management, and compile COMAH environmental risk reports. Our staff have an in-depth understanding and decades of experience in advising on COMAH regulations. We can visit your site and conduct thorough assessments to ensure that your site is COMAH-compliant while offering advice on:
- Potential hazards involving blasts and gas leakage
- Problems in building and containment design
- Hazards relating to temporary and permanent buildings
- Identifying Major Accident Hazards (MAH)
- Catastrophic tank failure
- Fire hazards
- Toxic gas dispersion
- Environmental Risk Assessment
- Ventilation, heat transfer and smoke movement
- Consent for hazardous substances
- Tertiary containment
- Training and safety awareness
Phoenix Safety offers COMAH consultancy other the UK including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Wirral, Wakefield, Cardiff, Dudley, Wigan, Coventry, Belfast, Leicester, Sunderland, Doncaster, Stockport and many more.