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Frequently Asked Questions Article Series

Frequently asked questions about the Hazardous Incident Ordinance / Seveso III Directive

878 494 Stefanie Moschkau

The range of services offered by the weyer gruppe extends across numerous areas and covers a wide range of problems. For our customers and interested parties, experience has shown that these services and the associated regulations can raise a number of questions. This series of articles is intended to provide clarity and answer the respective frequently asked questions.

Today’s article “Frequently Asked Questions” is about the Major Accidents Ordinance. In the last part we dealt with explosion protection.

If your question is not answered here, you have the possibility to ask us within the framework of afree initial consultation.

Frequently asked questions on the Major Accidents Ordinance

Whether the Major Accidents Ordinance is applicable to a business depends on the quantities of certain hazardous substances that are or may be present in the business. It is immaterial whether the substances are stored in the strict sense or not (e.g. transhipment facilities). The hazardous substances regulated by the Hazardous Incident Ordinance can be found in its annex. Some hazardous substances are mentioned by name, e.g. petrol or hydrogen. Other substances are subject to the Major Accidents Ordinance because they exhibit certain hazard characteristics, such as acute toxicity (e.g. potassium cyanide) or environmental hazards (e.g. zinc oxide). Substances that are not listed by name or by their hazard characteristics are not covered by the Major Accidents Ordinance. This also applies if they are otherwise hazardous, e.g. from an occupational safety point of view. An example would be concentrated sulphuric acid.

In addition to the above-mentioned characteristics, the accident-relevant substances must be present above certain quantity thresholds in order for the establishment to be subject to the Major Accidents Ordinance. However, if there are several different accident-relevant substances, they must be added together (see addition rule).

In the case of an establishment in which no individual hazardous substance is present in a quantity equal to or greater than the respective quantity threshold, the addition rule shall be applied to determine whether the establishment is an operational area within the meaning of the Major Accidents Ordinance. Quotients are formed from the individual quantities of hazardous substances and the respective quantity thresholds for the hazard characteristics from the list of substances in Annex I of the Major Accidents Ordinance. The quotients are then added up according to certain rules. This is carried out with the quantity thresholds for both the upper and the lower class. Depending on which quotient sum is greater or less than 1, the establishment is not an operating area within the meaning of the Major Accidents Ordinance, one of the lower or one of the upper class.

The terms “upper tier” and “lower tier” were introduced by the Seveso III Directive 2012/18/EU, whose national implementation in Germany is the Major Accidents Ordinance of 2017. They are nothing more than additionally introduced terms for operating areas for which the basic obligations or additionally the extended obligations (these terms continue to apply) must be fulfilled.

Yes. According to Annex I of the Hazardous Incident Ordinance, it also applies to waste if it has hazardous substance properties that are relevant to an incident. This applies despite the fact that the CLP Regulation does not actually apply to waste. Instead, according to the List of Wastes Ordinance (AVV) in conjunction with the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC), hazard-relevant properties HP 1 to HP 15 are assigned. This is done in a simplified form via the hazard characteristics (CLP Regulation) of the ingredients. However, this procedure is not compatible with the requirements of the CLP Regulation for the classification of (waste) mixtures; in particular, the correct classification according to the CLP Regulation cannot be deduced from a hazard characteristic HP… once it has been assigned. In order to avoid having to go through the actual procedure for classifying the waste as a mixture according to the CLP Regulation, the Commission for Plant Safety developed the Guidance Document KAS-25 in 2012. This assigned a hazardous substance property to a waste described by the six-digit AVV No. according to the then valid substance directive 67/548/EEC, on which the then version of the Major Accidents Ordinance was also based. The assignment was based on conservative estimates. However, this guideline is no longer applicable, as in 2017 the Major Accidents Ordinance was changed to the hazardous substance properties of the CLP Regulation. For the transitional period until the KAS-25 is updated, a guideline published by the North Rhine-Westphalian State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV NRW) is available for the allocation of waste to the Major Accidents Ordinance.

No. Despite the very similar designations, we are dealing with two different terms. Substances are hazardous to water in the sense of the Major Accidents Ordinance if their toxicity to certain aquatic organisms exceeds specified values according to the CLP Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008). The definition of substances hazardous to water with water hazard class comes from the Water Resources Act (WHG) and is much broader than that of the Major Accidents Ordinance / CLP Ordinance: For example, rapeseed oil methyl ester (raw material for biodiesel) is not hazardous to water because it falls below the aforementioned toxicity values. However, it is hazardous to water (lowest water hazard class WGK 1) because it floats on the water surface. By floating on the water surface, it can harm aquatic organisms, insects and birds, for example by preventing their oxygen uptake or mobility. In summary, any substance hazardous to waters within the meaning of the CLP Regulation or the Major Accidents Ordinance is hazardous to waters within the meaning of the WHG, but not vice versa. Click here for more information on water pollution control (AwSV).

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Dr. Klaus Wörsdörfer
weyer group | horst weyer und partner gmbh
Düren | Deutschland
Tel.: +49 2421 – 69 09 10
E-Mail: k.woersdoerfer@weyer-gruppe.com





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