Industrial Incidents

Industrial Incidents

There are several industries in the Gwent area that store or use potentially dangerous substances which may have impact on people and the environment should an accident happen.

However, the potential for a large impact does not always come from accidents at large industrial sites.

For example, if a fire involves acetylene cylinders as found in many garages, workshops etc. response procedures may require the placing of a hazard zone and anyone living in this zone may be evacuated until it is safe to return.

Industrial activities involving dangerous substances have the potential to cause accidents.

Possible Consequences:

  • Danger to life
  • Public health issues
  • Damage to property and the local area
  • Pollution of the local environment , including watercourses and wildlife
  • Possible evacuation of the affected area
  • Disruption to local and national utilities and supplies
  • Economic losses for the industry involved and local businesses
  • Possible adverse impact on farming and local agricultural produce

 If you live close to a hazardous site, you’ll regularly receive information from industries in your area reminding you to ‘Go in. Stay in and Tune in’, should an accident occur.

Most sites are regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH), which aims to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit the consequences to people and the environment. These types of sites require a plan to respond to a major accident affecting the site and reduce the impact on the surrounding community.

The Competent Authority (CA)

The Competent Authority comprises five organisations:

  • Health Safety Executive (HSE);
  • Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR);
  • Natural Resources Wales (NRW);
  • Environment Agency (EA) (for England); and,
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)

These five organisations are responsible for the enforcement of the Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) Regulations.

Their main aim is to prevent and mitigate the effects of those major incidents involving dangerous substances, such as chlorine, liquefied petroleum gas, explosives and arsenic pentoxide which can cause serious damage, harm to people and damage the environment.

What are we doing in Gwent?


  • Work directly with site operators who manage COMAH sites and work in partnership to produce COMAH off-site emergency plans
  • Develop and exercise multi agency plans to ensure an effective response to and manage the consequences of industrial accidents
  • Carry out fire safety inspections and work with industrial sites to reduce the risk that an accident will happen
  • Identify ways and means of communicating with the public and provide appropriate advice

What can you do?

  • Be aware if you live near a hazardous site
  • Check to see if you live near a regulated site
  • If you hear a warning of an accident, go indoors, close all your doors and windows and tune into the local radio stations or follow social media for advice
  • Prepare for possible evacuation by putting together an emergency grab bag of things you may need if asked to leave your home in an emergency 
  • If evacuated listen and follow the instructions of the emergency services

After Evacuation

When you return, remember the following;

  • Don’t eat any food which was left uncovered.
  • Don’t eat any vegetables from the garden until they have been thoroughly scrubbed and peeled.
  • If any laundry was left outside on the washing line, ensure that you re-wash it.
  • Open all windows and doors to ventilate your home fully for as long as possible, preferably for several hours.
  • Clean all surfaces in your home thoroughly.