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Focus Article: The Domino Effect Assessing Chain-of-Event Consequences in the Context of COMAH

Preventing harmful releases—and reducing the adverse consequences of those that do occur—is a shared goal of industry and regulatory bodies. In order to avoid and mitigate, however, companies must be aware of their risks and how a release can snowball, producing the domino effect. The chain of cause and effect, as well as what to do about it, is staggeringly complex. Addressing it is obligatory under the Control of Major Accidents and Hazards Regulations 2015. mitigate risks related to hazardous materials and energy sources in an industrial context, can prove useful against biological agents as well, especially as biomanufacturing expands its applications beyond its traditional niche. Faced with new challenges, the process safety framework is sufficiently robust to accommodate the necessary modifications and confront emerging risks.

From an industrial safety point-of-view, the domino effect refers to the cumulative consequences of a chain of events set in motion by some initial occurrence, often a chemical release. The metaphor suggests a rapid sequence of collapse, extensive and relentless—a vivid symbol of failure to prevent or contain damage. Clearly, it is a situation that operators in the chemical and process industries strive to avoid and one that regulatory bodies target. The European Union’s Seveso Directive produced the Control of Major Accidents and Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015, which is applicable throughout Europe.
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