Chemical accident prevention, preparedness and response

Guidance on Change of Ownership in Hazardous Facilities

 

The OECD Guidance on Change of Ownership in Hazardous Facilities is a concise document providing a framework to assist stakeholders to identify, understand and minimise the risks during and after a change of ownership at a hazardous facility, and help make the change of ownership a better informed process.

The guidance provides:

  • A list of risk drivers prior, during and after the change of ownership;
  • A set of self-assessment questions for the original owner and for the prospective owner so that they can evaluate how well their organisation is managing the ownership change;
  • A “template for transparency” as a structured approach to carrying out technical due diligence with a list of documents and information which those selling a facility should be expected to provide;
  • A list of factors for the regulators to consider before, during and after the change of ownership.

 

Ownership change transactions are very common in hazardous facilities and can potentially affect the safety management of a facility.
If not handled well, the effects of a change of ownership can be severe and significant, creating uncertainty in the companies involved and leading to an increase in occupational, process safety, environmental and major accident risks.

What are the key elements to consider for a well-informed change of ownership at hazardous facilities and minimise potential risks of chemical accidents?

 

Stakeholders involved in an ownership change should be aware of the hazards that those facilities are capable of posing, and understand that these hazards can lead to accidents with effects that extend far beyond their boundaries potentially affecting the public and the surrounding environment. They should also understand the responsibility they have for preventing such accidents and mitigating their consequences. Before, during and after the transaction the management of safety should be a priority for all.

This guidance is a high level document and aims to:

  • raise awareness that ownership change is not just a business affair but can be associated with an increase in risk at a facility
  • give general principles for supporting a safe ownership change that are accessible to a non-technical audience
  • give a framework to assist all stakeholders in identifying, understanding and minimising the main risk drivers before, during and after a change of ownership at a hazardous facility
  • support stakeholders involved in ownership change in identifying the main questions necessary to help make the change of ownership a better informed and transparent process with the goal of preventing potential accidents associated with ownership change
  • complement the OECD Guiding Principles for Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response.

 

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