Various factors can cause incidents with hazardous substances at companies that work with large quantities of these substances. In the Netherlands, ageing of installations is a (partial) cause of approximately 30% of the incidents at such companies.
The above conclusion was drawn by RIVM based on an analysis of incident reports of companies to which the Major Accidents (Risks) Decree (Brzo) applies.
The above study was carried out in compliance with to the European Seveso-III directive, which requires companies to focus attention on the ageing of their installations. This directive was introduced in the Netherlands via the Brzo of 2015 and does not contain a definition of ageing. The European Union proposes a broad definition of ageing, which was used by RIVM for this study. In addition to wear and tear of materials as a cause, incidents at this type of company can also be caused by ageing of procedures, the organisation, and knowledge needed to work safely with the installation.
Up to date, limited research has been conducted on the topic of ageing. Compared to one of the existing ageing studies, a study carried out in the United Kingdom in 2008, the percentage of ageing related incidents is similar.