The Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB) is a special Unit within the Joint Research Centre's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Hazard Assessment Unit, dedicated to scientific and technical support for the actions of the European Commission in the area of the control of major Industrial Hazards.
MAHB provides research-based scientific support to the European Community on the formulation, implementation and monitoring of EU policies for the control of major accident hazards, chiefly the Seveso II-Directive, 96/82/EC, concerning the processing and storage of hazardous substances.
Working together with DG Environment, the Seveso Competent Authorities and the industry, MAHB develops guidelines and tools necessary for the effective implementation of legislation. The Bureau also has an instrumental role in managing the European accidents database, analysing trends in accident occurrence and identifying and disseminating lessons learned in order to avoid recurrence of similar events.
The overall mission of the Bureau is to assist other services of the Commission, and in particular Directorate General Environment in the successful implementation of European Union policy on the control of major hazards and the prevention and mitigation of major accidents. To fulfil this mission, MAHB carries out scientific and technical activities related to the day to day implementation of relevant Community legislation. Activities include:
• Under the 'Seveso' directive Member States are called upon to inform the Commission about major accidents within their territory. To help prevent similar accidents, the Commission evaluates this information, details lessons learnt from it, and disseminates the results. For this purpose the Commission maintains the Major Accident Reporting System (MARS) database at MAHB.
• The Commission has established a Community Documentation Centre on Industrial Risk (CDCIR) at MAHB. Its principal remit is to collect, store and assess guidelines, regulations, codes of good practice, and accident case histories related to all aspects of relevant Community legislation and to facilitate the exchange of such information. The Centre has promoted a series of studies on lessons learnt from emergency action after accidents involving chemicals, and the drafting of guidelines on the information to be communicated to the public concerning major hazards.
European Union Institution