Central collecting and evaluating of major accidents and near-miss-events in the Federal Republic of Germany--results, experiences, perspectives.


Lessons learnt from accidents are essential sources for updating state of the art requirements in process safety. To improve this input by a systematic way in the FRG, a central body for collecting and evaluating major accident (ZEMA) was established in 1993. ZEMA is part of the Federal Environmental Agency. All events which are to be notified due to the German Regulation on Major Accidents (Störfall-Verordnung) are centrally collected, analysed (deducing lessons learnt) and documented by ZEMA. The bureau is also responsible for the dissemination of the lessons learnt to all stake holders. This work is done in co-operation with the German Major-Accident Hazard Commission (Störfallkommission) and other international bodies like European MAHB. At the time being, over 375 events from 1980 to 2002 are registered in Germany. For each event, a separate data sheet is published in annual reports, first started in 1993. All information is also available at. A summary evaluation on the events from 1993 to 1999 is presented and some basic lessons learnt are shown. The results from root cause analysis underline the importance of maintenance, detailed knowledge of chemical properties, human factor issues and the role of safety organisation especially connected with subcontractors. The German notification system is described in detail and some experience with the system is reported. Keeping in mind that collecting reports from notified major accidents is only a small amount compared with all the events which might be interesting to learn from, the German Major-Accident Hazard Commission has established a separate body, the subcommittee "Incident Evaluation", which is in charge with collecting and evaluating of minor and near-miss events. Since 1994, a concept for the registration and evaluation of those non-notifiable events was developed. From 2000 on, the concept has been put into operation. Its main elements are; 1. reporting of the incident by the plant operator to an information collecting point of its trust, 2. passing the anonymous report to the "Incident Evaluation" subcommittee, 3. evaluation and classification whether the incident is safety relevant or not and, 4. publishing the relevant information to all interested stake holders, preparing of summary evaluation results in certain areas. Up to now, two brochures on "waste gas pipes" and "obstructions of pipes" were published.

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@article{Uth2004CentralCA, title={Central collecting and evaluating of major accidents and near-miss-events in the Federal Republic of Germany--results, experiences, perspectives.}, author={Hans-Joachim Uth and Norbert Wiese}, journal={Journal of hazardous materials}, year={2004}, volume={111 1-3}, pages={139-45} }