Policy Themes

Disaster Resilience and crisis management

The human, ecological and economic costs of an accident can impact the whole of society. Therefore, it, is necessary to establish and apply safety and risk-reduction measures to prevent accidents and minimise any effects if they do occur.

Prevention of Accidents

The Directive 2012/18/EU (on major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances) sets goal-oriented objectives for risk management. All operators are obliged to take necessary measures to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for human health or the environment.

The Directive 2012/18/EU is better known as the Seveso III Directive and replaced the previous Directive 96/82/EC (Seveso II) which was repealed in May 2015. It sets out rules for preventing major accidents involving dangerous substances and limiting the consequences for human health and the environment. The criteria for the standard s are based on the maximum amounts of hazardous substances that are or likely to be, present in the establishment or industrial plant during the accident.

The directive is focused on unintentional events, such as accidents and natural hazards, and does not usually apply to intentional events, such as attacks. It excludes military establishments, pipelines, and transport outside the establishment. It does not examine the cause of an accident. Instead, it focuses on its  impact. The safety report has to consider operational causes, natural causes and external causes (although the text does not explicitly mention causes such as sabotage) and is complemented by critical infrastructure protection regulations for attack-prone installations.

Links outside the EU

At the international level, the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (TEIA) of UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe) is designed to protect people and the environment against industrial accidents. It aims to prevent accidents or reduce their frequency and severity if they do occur and mitigate their impact. The Convention promotes active international cooperation between countries before, during and after an industrial accident. It works in close collaboration with the EU, particularly on the implementation of the framework of the Seveso III Directive. The TEIA also has close links with the Sendai Framework for Action.

More information

Details of projects in this theme can be found on the JRC database