COMAH Regulations 2015: What are the Changes?

September 8, 2015
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If your workplace has responsibilities under the COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulations 2015 then it’s essential that you’re aware of the new legislative changes brought about by the Seveso III Directive.

As of 1st June 2015, COMAH establishments have new legal responsibilities with which they must comply – but what do these changes mean for you?

The Seveso III Directive

One of the main aims of the COMAH 2015 Regulations is to implement the majority of the European Seveso III Directive (2012/18/EU) in Great Britain. Prior to this, the law was based on the Seveso II Directive, but this has since been updated to provide COMAH establishments with some important changes.

comah regulations 2015 overview

Key Changes to the COMAH Regulations

The new or changed duties contained in the COMAH Regulations 2015 include:

  • The list of substances covered by the Regulations has been updated and aligned to the CLP Regulation.
  • Some definitions have been changed.
  • There are transition arrangements for safety reports.
  • For emergency planning, there is a new requirement for co-operation by designated authorities in tests of the external emergency plan.
  • There are stronger requirements for public information including a duty for lower tier establishments to provide public information.
  • The domino effects duty is broader.
  • There are stronger requirements for the competent authority on inspection.
  • Local authorities must now inform people likely to be affected following a major accident.

What’s the Main Change?

The existing CHIP Regulation has been replaced by the CLP Regulation. This means that there are changes to the way chemicals are labelled and classified.

There’s also a new requirement to provide information about your establishment to the general public.

COMAH 2015 changes

The New CLP Regulation

Before June 2015, chemical classification law was a mix of EU and domestic legislation. This was known as the CHIP Regulation and was perhaps most identifiable by the orange and black hazard warning labels found on dangerous substances.

The new CLP Regulation, however, is based on the Global Harmonised System (GHS) and ensures that the classifications and labelling of chemicals is consistent throughout the EU. This need for consistency is what prompted the change.

The two main changes are:

  1. New rules to follow when classifying chemicals.
  2. A new set of hazard pictograms to display on the labels of dangerous substances to match those used by the Globally Harmonised System. These new red, white and black labels replaced the existing orange and black labels.

What do the New Chemical Labels Look Like?

It’s important that you familiarise yourself with the new labelling and classification system so that you know how to identify the chemicals you are using in the workplace. The new CLP chemical labels can be seen in the following pictogram:


The Need to Provide Information to the Public

Another major new change under the Seveso III Directive is that ‘there are stronger requirements for public information including a duty for lower tier establishments to provide public information.’ This means that:

All COMAH establishments are now required to provide basic information about their sites for the public to view (Click to Tweet).

Upper tier establishments are required to provide more details than lower tier ones.

The information provided must be permanently and electronically available and kept up to date. The public will then be able to view the information you provide on the HSE website.

You can download a COMAH notification form and submit your completed form via the HSE website.

Work in the chemical supply chain? Find out more about how the CLP Regulation will affect your work activities from the HSE.

Further Resources: