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close this bookThe Long Road to Recovery: Community Responses to Industrial Disasters (UNU, 1996, 307 p.)
close this folder4 Seveso: A paradoxical classic disaster
close this folderThe European Community's institutional response to Seveso
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe Directive and its annexes
View the documentOther institutional effects of the Seveso Directive

Other institutional effects of the Seveso Directive

In order to meet the Seveso Directive's requirements, the Major Accident Reporting System (MARS) data bank has been established to store and retrieve accident information reported by the Member States (Drogaris 1993). It is located at the Commission's Joint Research Centre, Institute of Systems Engineering and Informatics in Ispra, Italy. To promote safety-related knowledge further, a Community Documentation Centre on Industrial Risk (CDCIR) has also been established at the same site. This Centre collects, classifies, and reviews materials relevant to industrial risks and safety.

The effects of the Seveso Directive were not confined to improvements in the management of industrial accidents. The Directive also opened the floodgates for similar initiatives on a variety of other issues, particularly in the fields of environmental management and public health. Among these are the following: Directive 89/391/EEC, which mandates the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in occupational safety and health; Directive 89/654/EEC, which addresses minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace; Directive 90/219/EEC, which relates to biotechnology; Directive 90/313/EEC, on the freedom of access to environmental information; and Directive 89/618/Euratom, which concerns public information about radioactive emergencies. The European Single Act and the Maastricht Treaty also call for greater participation of citizens in EC decision-making and this has expanded the scope of public information programmes. Indeed, recent reluctance by Danish voters and others to approve the Maastricht Treaty has led to further broadening of the commitment to provide information in support of public policy within the EC.

Beyond the European Community, the Directive has relevance for many international organizations. Those that are concerned with industrial hazards include the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Council of Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Office of the UN Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO). In particular, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has devoted much attention to accident prevention and response and has published a number of recommendations, some of which are specifically addressed to public information and public participation in decision-making (OECD 1989, 1990, 1992).