The German cabinet has approved a revised ordinance on major accident hazards that will transpose the EU's so-called Seveso II directive into national law. Succeeding the original Seveso directive in 1996, Seveso II (96/82) is the main EU law aiming at controlling and reducing the risks of serious accidents in certain industrial sectors. The deadline for formal compliance by EU member states was February this year. Compared with Germany's existing major hazards ordinance, the new law has a shift in emphasis away from individual plants and towards groups of plants in specific industrial sectors as well as the potentially hazardous substances used in that sector. It also extends the scope of the law to cover additional hazardous materials and will increasingly require organisational responsibility in the form, for example, of safety management systems. Finally, the new law encompasses concrete responsibilities for regulatory authorities to monitor and carry out inspections. The ordinance still needs the agreement of the German Bundesrat, or upper parliamentary house, before it can enter into force.
German environment ministry,
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