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Hazardous Materials

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Health and Safety Executive has up-to-date computerised information concerning the content of hazardous materials stored on industrial premises; and, if so, to whom it is available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will discuss with the Chemical Industries Association the procedure for notifying the Health and Safety Executive of the storage of hazardous materials.

No general arrangements have been made whereby member firms of the Chemical Industries Association notify hazardous substances stored in their premises to the Health and Safety Executive—HSE. However, officials of the HSE have from time to time held discussions with the Chemical Industries Association about the dangers associated with particular substances.The HSE is now looking at the whole question of exchange of information to see in what ways it can be improved.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will investigate the need for tighter precautions against explosions on the sites of firms manufacturing, processing or storing hazardous materials in the interests of public safety.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 February 1980]: Occupiers of all individual premises are required under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act to have regard to the safety of their own employees and of other people who may be affected by their activities. The advisory committee on major hazards set up in 1975 is considering the safety problems associated with large-scale industrial premises conducting potentially hazardous operations, and draft regulations based on its recommendations have been published for comment. In addition, the Health and Safety Executive is engaged in a wide-ranging review of existing controls over hazardous materials.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Health and Safety Executive has up to date and detailed knowledge of the contents of industrial premises storing hazardous materials; and whether it passes this information to the fire service and to local authorities.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 February 1980]: The Health and Safety Executive does not have up to date and detailed knowledge of the contents of all industrial premises storing hazardous materials. There is no statutory obligation on the occupiers of such premises to notify the Health and Safety Executive of materials stored and used. Inspectors possess powers under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to obtain, where necessary, information concerning hazardous materials in industrial premises. There are no formal arrangements for the exchange of information following all visits, but there is close liaison with fire prevention officers and local authorities and especially when serious deficiencies are noted.