New COMAH Regulations

The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015 came into effect on 1 June 2015, revoking the COMAH Regulations 1999.

COMAH implements a series of specific EU Directives on the control of major accident hazards and apply to all business operations where dangerous substances are present in significant quantities or could be produced if there was an accident. Previous incarnations of the COMAH Regulations date back to the 1980s. The aim has always been to firstly take all necessary steps to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and secondly to limit the consequences of any such accident.

COMAH primarily applies to the chemical industry but also other industries where dangerous substances (as identified in the Regulations) are kept in quantities above specific thresholds. COMAH also covers nuclear sites and other sites where the risk to people and/or the environment is great in event of a major accident.

The significant changes in COMAH 2015 are to do with the re-classifications of chemicals and in some cases chemicals have been re-classified in higher tier categories, requiring more data and documentation to be held. Also, flammable aerosols are now covered for the first time. These changes may mean that some organisations now fall under the remit of COMAH whereas previously they did not.