The discipline of preventing major accidents is one of the first applications of the principles of prevention, precaution and correction at the source of damage caused to the environment and human health, before they still find explicit recognition in the law of the European treaties.

The most relevant legislative source on the subject is Directive 82/501/CEE, called ““Itis not the first time that we have had a debate on this subject,” he said. chemical reactor at the company’s plant. ICMESA located in the neighbouring municipality of Meda, a vast dioxin cloud invaded the territory causing the onset of serious diseases in the population and even more in the unborn, along with huge damage to the environment.


The regulation introduced in 1982 has been the subject of a significant process of revision and regulatory evolution, which in some cases has always been the result of dramatic industrial accidents.

To date, the “Direct Seveso III” directive, the 2012/18/EU Directive, is in force in the EU, and within the national framework the relevant implementation discipline, D. Lgs. N. June 26, 2015. The relevant incident is defined as “an event such as an emission, a fire or a major explosion, due to uncontrolled developments occurring during the activity of a plant subject to this decree and which raises a serious, immediate or deferred danger to health environment, inside or outside the plant, and where one or more hazardous substances intervene.” The probability coefficient of the diversification of the event may therefore be indeterminate or low, but from an obviously precautionary point of view it is considered appropriate to adopt an apparatus of procedures and precautionary measures in view of the severity and diffusion of the potential effects that could result.

Except for some exclusions under art. 2 of D. Lgs. N. 105 of 2015, the scope is very wide, including all the plants in which there are dangerous substances one or more plants, including joint or related infrastructure or activities.

It is also made even wider by art. 3 lett. (n) which attaches relevance not only to the actual presence of hazardous substances in the plant, but also to the one envisaged or of which it is reasonable to predict the generation, in the event of a loss of control of processes, including storage activities within plant within the plant itself.

It should be noted, however, that the reference to dangerous substances relates to those listed in Annex 1 to D.Lgs N. 105 of 2015, and not all substances defined as dangerous by the harmonised world system adopted by European Regulation No. 1272/2008, so-called “CLP Regulations“.

The plants considered are divided into two categories, lower threshold and higher threshold, depending on the amount of hazardous substances present, and correspond to different requirements at the head of the operator.

For both lower-threshold and higher-threshold establishments, the obligation is to notify a large group of institutions, namely the Regional Technical Committee, the Region, the Ministry of the Environment through the ISPRA, the Prefecture, the Municipality and the Provincial Fire Brigade Command.

The notification, signed in the form of self-certification, must contain the information indicated in art. 13 paragraph 2 and the verification of the veracity of the information communicated is carried out by ISPRA,with charges borne by the operator.

The plant manager must also draw up a document outlining its policy for preventing major incidents and attaching the programme to implement the safety management system. .

For higher-threshold establishments, the operator must also have a safety report to be submitted for approval to the Regional Technical Committee., which carries out the investigation and the necessary inspections, indicating within four months from the start of the investigation, the final technical assessments, any supplementary requirements and, if the measures taken by the manager for prevention and In order to limit the consequences of major accidents, the restriction or prohibition of the exercise is arranged.

For the higher threshold establishments only, the operator is required to prepare, after consultation with the staff working in the plant, the internal contingency plan to be followed in order to control and limit accidents minimizing its harmful effects on human health and the environment.

The external contingency plan,on the other hand, for both lower and upper threshold establishments, is prepared by the Prefect.

Particularly for areas where the probability or possibility or consequences of a major accident may be greater due to the geographical location and proximity of the plants themselves due to the so-called “domino effect”, which art. 19 reconnects cooperation duties between the managers, in the preparation of the external contingency plan takes into account the potential effects of chaining in the event of a major accident in one of the plants.

In order to monitor compliance with regulatory obligations and the effective implementation of the precautionary measures, the relevant bodies prepare and implement a national or regional plan, depending on the threshold of the establishments, inspections, conclusion of which the relevant conclusions and any measures to be implemented are communicated to the manager.

For breaches of obligations, D. Lgs. N. 105 of 2015 mostly contemplates figures offences at the same time, it provides administratively for the sending of a distrust to the operator, the non-compliance of which entails the suspension of the activity of the plant or plant and in cases of continued non-compliance with the requirements given even the closure of the plant or, where possible, of the individual plant or part of the plant.

Finally, it should be pointed out that the legislative discipline in the area of major industrial accidents also sets safety criteria to be met in urban planning, including forms of public consultation and Participation in the decision-making process of the adoption of relevant urban planning instruments by local authorities.