EU dangerous chemicals laws tightened

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Tim Brown

Companies in the EU that store dangerous chemicals on their premises will have to adhere to tougher management standards to prevent industrial accidents by 2015.

This is because the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council of Ministers have struck an agreement on the contents of a new law – the Seveso III directive – that will include new safety rules for chemical-using businesses.

Named after the site (in Italy) of a notorious 1976 chemical industry accident, the law will force plastics manufacturers to “progressively improve on their level of safety”, said a communication from the Danish government, which currently holds the presidency of the EU.

The new law will also force EU member states to publish information on the internet about the location of plants covered by the directive and on how the public should react in a chemical accident emergency. It protects protestors’ rights to launch court challenges to planning decisions on the siting of such plants.

The legislation covers all companies handling toxic chemicals, oil and petrol, including metallic ingredients in plastics.