This brochure aims to raise awareness of Natech risks and the challenges associated with their management. Using examples, it highlights key characteristics of Natech accidents, and gaps and challenges in analysing and managing Natech risks.
It also describes the work and resources of some international organisations to support improved understanding of and resilience to Natech.
The brochure is intended for a broad and multidisciplinary audience, including industry, public authorities and practitioners involved in industrial safety and civil protection. It is also intended for the disaster risk management community as often Natech accidents are treated within the broader context of disaster management.
Natural hazards such as earthquakes and floods can initiate events which challenge the safety and operation at hazardous installations. Accidents triggered by such events are known as ‘Natech’ - Natural Hazards Triggering Technological Accidents. Many natural disasters have led to major damages to hazardous installations, releases of hazardous substances, fires and explosions, resulting in potential health effects, environmental pollution, and economic losses. These impacts can also have a transboundary dimension. Natural hazards considered minor, such as lightning or freeze, have also been found to cause Natech accidents.
The OECD Programme on Chemical Accidents started work on Natech risk management in 2008 in partnership with the European Commission Joint Research Center, the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit, UNECE and UNEP. The project goals were to investigate the specifities of Natech for the prevention, preparedness and response to chemical accidents, exchange experience across countries (e.g. good practices, challenges, lessons learnt from Natech accidents), and provide guidance on Natech risk management.
The project provides also a forum to follow the development of Natech risk management measures and share good practices and experience in OECD countries and beyond, in cooperation with partner agencies.
The next step is the development of a guidance document on Natech Risk Management (planned for release in 2024).
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