Despite best efforts, industrial accidents do sometimes occur. It is therefore very important that countries are fully prepared in order to reduce the impact of an industrial accident on communities and the environment.
In order to prepare for industrial accidents, countries should have identified hazardous facilities where an accident could occur as part of the prevention obligations of the Convention. All relevant authorities at the local, regional and national level should be fully prepared and have the proper equipment and training in place to deal with any accident scenario.
Annex VII of the Convention specifies emergency preparedness measures pursuant to article 8, which requires the development of transboundary emergency plans. National emergency plans should be compatible with those of neighbouring countries, so that they are able to respond to transboundary impacts. Article 9 further determines that the public should have an opportunity to participate in the preparation of prevention and preparedness measures, as well as have access to judicial proceedings to appeal a relevant decision.
Responding promptly to an industrial accident is crucial in reducing its effects on communities and the environment. Emergency services personnel need to be mobilized and coordinated across local, regional and national authorities. In addition, procedures should be in place to inform the public in the event of an industrial accident or a threat thereof.
If an industrial accident has possible transboundary effects, Parties are required to inform neighbouring countries of the risks and share all available information necessary for an effective response. The Industrial Accident Notification (IAN) System has been created to facilitate the timely notification of countries that may be affected by an industrial accident.
The Convention encourages Parties to assist each other and cooperate in their response to industrial accidents, as well as in research and development and the sharing of information and technology. The Convention aims to provide a platform for cooperation within and between countries and the exchange of experience and good practices.
The Convention secretariat also organizes regular trainings for both preparedness and response to an industrial accident as part of its Assistance Programme. The Assistance Programme aims to utilize the expertise of other countries to ensure best practice in preventing, preparing for and responding to an industrial accident and to ensure that countries are able to fully implement the Convention.