The OECD is an intergovernmental organisation of 30 member countries; its principle aim is to promote policies for sustainable economic growth and employment, a rising standard of living, and trade liberalisation. The OECD brings countries together to co-ordinate policies, analyse issues of mutual interest, recommend actions, develop guidance, compare their experience, and seek answers to common problems. The OECD's Working Group on Chemical Accidents (WGCA) has been the driving force within the OECD framework for developing several guidance documents related to chemical emergency prevention, preparedness and response. The objective of this OECD Working Group is to provide an opportunity for experts from governments, labour, international organisations, and other interested parties to exchange information and experience, and based on this, to develop guidance on the prevention of, preparedness for, and response to chemical accidents.
The primary guidance document which has been developed is the OECD Guiding Principles for Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness, and Response. The first edition of this document was published in 1992 and has been recently revised to include results of efforts, activities, and workshops over the past 10 years. This second edition is a more comprehensive document to help public authorities, industry, and communities worldwide prevent and prepare for accidents involving hazardous substances resulting from technological and natural disasters, as well as sabotage. It is internationally accepted as a valuable resource in the development and implementation of laws, regulations, policies, and practices related to chemical safety. A copy of the Guiding Principles is available for viewing online at the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) – Chemical Accidents web site at www.oecd.org/env/accidents. A searchable internet version of the Guiding Principles is available at http://www2.oecd.org/guidingprinciples/.
The Working Group on Chemical Accidents, enlisting input from experts worldwide, has developed a companion document to the Guiding Principles. This document, entitled OECD Guidance on Safety Performance Indicators, serves as a guide for key stakeholders to use in determining if their implementation of the Guiding Principles, or similar chemical emergency prevention, preparedness, and response programmes, has led to improvements in chemical safety. The Guidance on SPI provides a systematic approach to measure the success of stakeholders' chemical safety programmes by detailing targets, activities indicators, and outcome indicators of a safety performance approach. It affords flexibility for groups to design programmes to assess their own performance related to the prevention of, preparedness for, and response to chemical accidents. The SPI Guidance has been published in an interim version. It is available in hard copy, on the web, and as a searchable internet version. A copy is available for viewing online at the EHS-Chemical Accidents web page at www.oecd.org/env/accidents. A navigable internet version of the SPI Guidance is available at http://www2.oecd.org/safetyindicators/. The OECD is requesting volunteers to pilot the guidance over the next two years, and provide their results and lessons learned to the Working Group, which will publish a final, revised version in 2006 based on the results of the pilot programme.
UNEP’s APELL program is designed to create and/or increase public awareness of possible hazards within a community; stimulate the development of cooperative plans to respond to an emergency that might occur; and encourage the prevention of chemical accidents. APELL is an initiative sponsored by the Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics (TIE), Production and Consumption Unit (P & C) of UNEP in cooperation with the U.S. The American Chemistry Council (formerly the Chemical Manufacturers Association) and the Conseil Européen des Fédérations de l’Industrie Chimique (CEFIC) and is aimed at industrializing countries. General information about APELL as well as copies of the APELL newsletter, information on APELL publications, list of accidents, and upcoming events can be found at this website.
In the early 1990s, the UNECE concentrated its efforts on preventing industrial accidents and especially their transboundary effects in its region, which stretches from Canada and the United States in the west to the Russian Federation in the east. This work led to the adoption in Helsinki in 1992 of the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents. The Convention aims to foster international cooperation to protect human beings and the environment against industrial accidents by preventing such accidents as much as possible, by reducing their frequency and severity, and by mitigating their effects. Available on this site is the full text of the Convention, along with information on the Signatories and Parties to the Convention, UNECE publications, and points of contact.
Additionally, this site links to the two Regional Coordinating Centers established by the Signatories to the Convention which recognized that countries in transition would need extra help to implement the Convention. The Centres' aim is to improve industrial safety in countries in transition by strengthening human and institutional capacities in these countries. The Centres are located in Hungary and Poland. Their assistance is focused primarily on developing and applying industrial safety management policies, and on improving the levels of preparedness and the capabilities to respond to an industrial accident.
Environment Canada is an active player in confronting the environmental aspects of emergencies. The mission of the Environmental Emergencies program is to reduce the frequency, severity, and consequences of these events. Information on chemical emergency prevention, preparendess, and response activities and publications, National and Regional response teams and plans, and chemical accidents statistics can be found on this website.
Developed jointly by Transport Canada (TC), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico (SCT) for use by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving dangerous goods. It is primarily a guide to aid first responders in quickly identifying the specific or generic hazards of the material(s) involved in the incident, and protecting themselves and the general public during the initial response phase of the incident.