Environmental Pollution and Industrial Accidents
Some industrial activity can involve hazardous substances which have the potential to cause accidents. These accidents can cause injuries to people and cause damage to the environment both nearby, and further away. These types of accidents tend to vary in size and impact.
Industrial Hazards in Greater Manchester
Although Greater Manchester is not considered more at risk than any other part of the UK, there are a number of industrial sites, storage depots and fuel and gas pipelines running through the county that have the potential to cause an explosion, major fire and damage to the environment.
In November 2012 an incident at a site in Trafford Park resulted in the release of a cloud of hydrochloric acid gas. The site was evacuated, surrounding roads were closed and residents advised to stay in doors for several hours while the emergency services managed the incident.
The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH)
The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (2015) aims to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit the consequences of incidents to people and the environment. The regulations are overseen by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. Large COMAH sites require Public Information Zones and people in these zones must receive information about the potential hazards and how they may be affected during a major incident, the safety measures in place at the site, how they will be warned and informed about the major incident, and any action that should be taken to protect their personal safety.
What are we doing in Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is the lead agency in Greater Manchester and their responsibilities include:
- Working with COMAH site operators, the Health and Safety executive, and the Environment Agency to develop and maintain multi-agency emergency plans.
- Coordinating regular testing and exercising of plans.
- Working with site operators to ensure the requirements of the Public Information Zones are in place.
Local Authorities also have plans in place to provide temporary shelter or accommodation for people who have been evacuated from their homes in any emergency.
What you can do
There are a number of actions you can take to prepare yourself for an Industrial Accident:
- Follow advice or guidance given if you live in a Public Information Zone.
- If you hear a warning of an accident, go indoors, close mall doors and windows and tune into local media for advice.
- Familiarise yourself with the safety codes and emergency escape routes for buildings in which you live or work.
- Check your Local Council’s website for details of major industrial sites in your area.
- If you suspect that the building you are in is at risk of fire from a neighbouring building, evacuate in the opposite direction of the incident.
- Follow advice from the emergency services in the area.