The Major Accident Reporting System (MARS) has been established by the Commission of the European Communities for collecting in a structured way information on Major Accidents in industrial installations involving dangerous chemical substances occurring in the territory of Member States and for distributing the experience gained from them to all Member Countries for improving their accident and loss prevention policies and practices.

By the middle of 1991, about six and a half years after the SEVESO-Directive was enforced, a total of onehundred eleven (111) accidents had been notified by the National Competent Authorities and registered in MARS. Analysis of the accident reports underlines the importance of the following two factors for an effectiveaccident prevention:

  • managerial attitude to safety;

  • application of a structured hazard identification procedure.

A total of thirty five (35) accidents, more than one third of the accidents notified, refer to oil and gas installations.

This paper contains the major conclusions of the study of the accidents after their classification according to various parameters (e.g. type of activity, type of accident, substances involved, consequences, causative factors). Further study of the accident reports enables the extraction of lessons to be learned from them that can be applied for preventing similar occurrences or mitigatingthe conbsequences of such accidents.Illustrative lessons learned from accidents involving gas and oil products are also presented.

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