Anyone who handles certain quantities of certain hazardous substances and is therefore the operator of an operating area must, in accordance with the Major Accidents Ordinance (Twelfth Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Immission Control Act - 12th BImSchV), take measures to prevent major accidents and keep their effects as low as possible. This applies irrespective of whether or not the corresponding plant requires an immission control permit. There are approximately 480 such operating areas in Bavaria. Most of these are large industrial plants such as refineries and chemical plants, but biogas plants and hazardous materials storage facilities can also be operating areas.
The safety of persons in the operating area and also in the neighborhood as well as the protection of the environment must be ensured, otherwise the plant of the operating area from which an impermissible hazard emanates must not be operated. When taking precautions to prevent incidents, various causes must be taken into account by the operator, unless they can be reasonably excluded. Such causes can be, for example, operational sources of danger such as the failure of a technical facility, but also environmental sources of danger (e.g. earthquakes, floods, infrastructure) or the intervention of unauthorized persons. Every operator of operating areas is also obliged to set up and apply a so-called safety management system.
Sufficient distances to protect human health and the environment must be ensured when new operating areas are established and when changes are made to their surroundings (e.g. approaching residential development). The operator of an operating area with a particularly high hazard potential (operating area of the "upper class") must prepare a detailed safety report and inform all persons and facilities open to the public as well as operating facilities, or neighboring operating areas that could be affected by an incident, in detail about safety measures and about the correct behavior in the event of an incident. Operators of operating areas with a lower hazard potential (operating areas of the "lower class") also generally have to make various information available to the public.
The responsible authorities in Bavaria are the immission control authorities and - if external emergency plans are to be drawn up - the disaster control authorities, (i.e. usually the district administrative authority, i.e. the district administration office or the independent municipality). Since the handling of hazardous substances also affects the employees who work directly with these substances, the occupational health and safety authorities (factory inspectorates) are also involved in reviewing and advising the operating areas. Other affected authorities may also be the water management authorities, e.g. because of water protection. Monitoring under incident law, with the involvement of all the authorities concerned, is carried out under the auspices of the responsible government.
If you are interested in more detailed information about a specific area of operation, please contact the operator, as he has information available about his operation and the measures he has taken.
The European legal basis for the Major Accidents Ordinance is Directive 2012/18/EU of July 4, 2012 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances (the so-called Seveso III Directive). The Seveso III Directive was transposed into German law mainly by revising the 12th BImSchV and the Federal Immission Control Act.