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One of the requirements of the European Union's Council Directive 96/82/EC ("Seveso II") is that the authorities in the Member States report all major accidents involving dangerous substances and falling under the provisions of the Directive to the European Commission. The objective is to use this information as a basis from which to draw lessons-learned for preventing major accidents and mitigating their consequences. For this purpose, the Commission has set up in 1984 an industrial accident notification scheme, the Major Accident Reporting System (MARS), operated and maintained by the Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB) of the Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra / Italy.

In addition to the purposes of reporting under the EU Seveso Directive, the MARS 4.0 tool is used by OECD members countries and UN/ECE signatories to report industrial accidents under the OECD Chemical Accidents Programme and the UN-ECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, respectively.

The MARS tool consists of one central database, located at the MAHB, and local databases for the Competent Authorities in the participating countries.

Information on major accidents is submitted to MARS using both character and numeric types of data. The accidents are characterised via free text descriptions and by categories, in terms of events and circumstances leading to the major accident, accident evolution, consequences, emergency responses and lessons learned. Two linked reporting forms have been established: the "Short Report" is intended for use for immediate notification of an accident, and the "Full Report" is prepared when the accident has been fully investigated, and the causes, the evolution of the accident, and the consequences are fully understood.

Additional information

Authors: KIRCHSTEIGER C, JRC-Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19766 EN (2001). Euro: Free of charge
Availability: Available from Documentation Service JRC Ispra (IT) FAX:+39-0332-785818
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