Industrial plants with no potential for extensive damage
Wherever chemical or biological hazard potential exists, exceptional events may result in the release of substances, causing a major accident. Major accidents can cause death, injury, extensive damage and environmental pollution outside plants. Plants with hazard potential are subject to the Major Accidents Ordinance (MAO)which requires a reduction of these risks. If the consequences of potential major accidents are classified as “serious”, the authorities will require the plant owner to carry out a risk assessment, through which the risk can be specified in detail and evaluated. If the risk is unacceptable, the enforcement authority shall require additional safety measures to reduce it. The locations of plants that have carried out risk assessments indicate the areas in which major accidents causing severe damage could arise.
In 2017, 158 of the 1,227 establishments subject to the MAO were required to submit or update risk assessments. This number almost halved after revision of the MAO, which is why the trend is considered as positive. The total number of establishments subject to the MAO also decreased significantly. Accordingly, the goal of the revision has been achieved, which was for enforcement authorities to be able to focus their inspections more on the relevant establishments.
Establishments subject to a risk assessment are mainly plants manufacturing chemicals, large sports facilities with a high public footfall (swimming pools, ice rinks,etc) and storage facilities for chemicals handling and transportation.
The indicator is not comparable at international level as the criteria for the reporting of risk identification differs from country to country.
The data (cf. Technical Instructions on basic geodata (Swiss environmental law), Register of Risks required under the Major Accidents Ordinance (StFV), identifiers 112.1 & 113.1) are extracted from the databases of the enforcement authorities. The data recorded as part of the updating of the Eidgenössischer Risikokataster (Swiss Register of Risks) indicate whether the plant could cause extensive damage to the public and/or the environment in the event of a major accident.