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As part of our commitment to continually improve our service and to help our clients meet their legal obligations, we continue to update the Legal Registers on our website and provide free quarterly legal compliance updates to anyone who subscribes. The purpose of these updates is to ensure you stay up to date with any changes in your legal compliance obligations, our updates can also be kept and can be used as evidence that your business is staying up to date with any changes in the legislation, this can be very helpful at audit time.
The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (COMAH) aim to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances by ensuring that risks are identified, assessed and managed appropriately. The regulations apply to businesses that store, handle or process certain dangerous substances above certain threshold quantities, and require them to take specific steps to prevent and control major accidents.
The requirements of COMAH include the preparation of a safety report which assesses the risks associated with the dangerous substances, including the likelihood and consequences of major accidents, and sets out measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of such accidents. The safety report must be submitted to the relevant regulatory authority for assessment and approval.
Businesses covered by the regulations must also have an emergency plan in place to deal with major accidents, including procedures for notifying the emergency services and the public, and for managing the consequences of an accident. They must also appoint a competent person or team to ensure the effective implementation of the safety and emergency plans.
The regulations also require businesses to provide information to the public and workers about the risks associated with the dangerous substances, and to consult with them on the safety and emergency plans.
Overall, the purpose of COMAH is to prevent and control major accidents involving dangerous substances by requiring businesses to identify and manage the associated risks, and to have appropriate safety and emergency plans in place. The regulations apply to businesses that handle certain dangerous substances above certain thresholds, and require them to undertake specific measures to ensure compliance.
The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (COMAH) require businesses to provide evidence to demonstrate that they are complying with the regulations. The evidence requirements include:
1. Safety Report: Businesses covered by COMAH must prepare a safety report, which assesses the risks associated with the dangerous substances they handle and sets out measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of major accidents. The safety report must be submitted to the relevant regulatory authority for assessment and approval.
2. Risk Assessments: Businesses must carry out regular risk assessments to identify and evaluate the potential for major accidents, and to assess the effectiveness of their control measures.
3. Emergency Plans: Businesses must have an emergency plan in place to deal with major accidents, including procedures for notifying the emergency services and the public, and for managing the consequences of an accident.
4. Competent Person or Team: Businesses must appoint a competent person or team to ensure the effective implementation of the safety and emergency plans.
5. Training Records: Businesses must maintain records of training provided to workers involved in handling or processing dangerous substances, including information on the risks associated with the substances and the measures in place to control those risks.
6. Maintenance and Inspection Records: Businesses must maintain records of the maintenance and inspection of equipment and systems used to handle or process dangerous substances.
7. Audits and Reviews: Businesses must carry out regular audits and reviews of their safety and emergency plans to ensure they remain up-to-date and effective.
Overall, the evidence requirements of COMAH are designed to ensure that businesses are taking appropriate measures to prevent and control major accidents involving dangerous substances. The regulations require businesses to provide evidence in the form of risk assessments, emergency plans, training and maintenance records, and audits and reviews.
There are a few exemptions to The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (COMAH):
1. Domestic use: The regulations do not apply to dangerous substances used for domestic purposes or for personal use.
2. Transport: The regulations do not apply to the transport of dangerous substances by road, rail, inland waterway, sea, or air. However, other regulations may apply to the transport of dangerous substances.
3. Defence activities: The regulations do not apply to the armed forces or to defence activities that are under the control of the Ministry of Defence.
4. Mines and quarries: The regulations do not apply to mines and quarries that are subject to separate health and safety regulations.
5. Nuclear installations: The regulations do not apply to nuclear installations that are subject to separate regulations.
6. Offshore installations: The regulations do not apply to offshore installations that are subject to separate regulations.
It is important to note that even if a business is exempt from the regulations, they may still have other legal obligations under other health and safety or environmental regulations. Therefore, it is important for businesses to seek advice and guidance to ensure they are complying with all relevant regulations.
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Including our quarterly legal compliance updates that are a great resource for evidence for your ISO audits.