Title: A Methodology for Learning Lessons in the Chemical Industry
Authors: MUSHTAQ Fesil
Publisher: NRS Tryckeri
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC54698
ISBN: 978-91-7253-399-8
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC54698
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Industrial chemical accidents can have a major impact on society not only because of the immediate harm they can cause to man and property (Toulouse , Enschede ), but also because of their potential adverse long-term effects on the environment (Baia Mare ). This has clearly been recognised through the development of legislation such as the "Seveso II Directive" and its amendment, and by work carried out by international organizations such as the European Commission (EC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Approaches to tackling this problem have been put forward such as appropriate land-use planning, risk assessment (safety reports), emergency planning etc. However, it is also acknowledged that learning from history is very important in order to avoid making the same mistakes, and many accidents that materialise now have occurred previously possibly with less severe consequences, possibly in another country or another industry. It has been clearly stipulated within the Seveso Directives that the operators, competent authorities, and the European Commission all have obligations to investigate, collect and report information concerning ¿major accidents¿ and share and implement lessons learned. A thorough examination of the causes, circumstances, evolution, consequences and responses to these past accidents generates valuable lessons that can contribute towards future accident prevention and/or mitigation. Before an examination can take place however it is necessary to collect and organise accident information into a suitable format for analysis. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission supports this goal by ensuring that the information available throughout Europe (and from the OECD) on the occurrence of technological accidents is systematically collected. More specifically, it maintains the Major Accident Reporting System (MARS), which manages information on ¿major accidents¿ in the chemical industry in accordance with the provisions of the European Seveso directives. This chapter outlines a methodology for learning lessons and introduces the European Community¿s MARS database to demonstrate the methodology in practice. One of the reasons why accidents keep occurring is that the lessons from past events have either not been learned or communicated in a systematic way, or they have not been translated into existing risk-management practices. Therefore it is important that the lessons learned are incorporated into all phases of safety management systems. The importance of Safety Management Systems has long-since been recognized , but the author would like to emphasis in particular the role of chemical process design in learning and preventing accidents.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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