Industrial safety

The 2017 MAVESZ Conference on Chemical Logistics was held in Budapest on March 23.

As its primary objective, the Conference was meant to provide up to date information on current changes in the regulatory framework of the transportation and storage of dangerous goods, on new developments in intermodality, and on the effects of digitalization and automation on chemical logistics.

The presentations at the Conference covered, in particular, the following subjects (presentations were made in Hungarian and are available for download in the Hungarian version of this page):

  • new elements in the regulation relating to the control of the storage and transportation (road, rail, air) of dangerous goods,
  • practical challenges and best practices in the storage of dangerous goods – regulation and implementation from a corporate perspective.
  • the European network of intermodal terminals, the opening of the Metrans terminal in Budapest, opportunities for the Hungarian economy and the chemical industry,
  • the transportation of dangerous goods after 2020, a vision for the future; digitalization, robotization: challenges for regulators and operators.


 MAVESZ and the National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Ministry of the Interior (BM OKF) concluded a cooperation agreement that was signed in Budapest, on 6 December 2016 by Mr Tibor Klement, President of MAVESZ and Dr Zoltán Góra, Director General of BM OKF. 

The agreement stipulates the principles of cooperation with special emphasis on the common interests of the parties relating to the implementation of the SEVESO III Directive of the EU. It also establishes the system of consultations between the two organizations, creates a permanent expert group for the consideration of legislative projects and the examination of the results and experiences of their implementation. In the agreement the parties also laid down their obligations regarding the operation of the MAVESZ Alarm and Information System for providing assistance in the case of road transportation accidents of dangerous goods.


General terms

Danger or risk – what is the difference?

In everyday life various terms are used for the expression of risk but some of them are deceptive. When chemical materials are in question the words ’risk’ and ’danger’ are often considered as interchangeable terms. In what follows, we try to expound – on the basis of a CEFIC publication – the difference between the two terms. Understanding this is of primary importance for a fruitful discussion on the safety of chemical materials and processes.

Danger: the way by which an object or a situation can cause damage.

There is danger when an object (or a material) or a situation has an inherent ability to cause damage. Such a (source of) danger can be a faulty pavement, a machine without any shroud, an icy road, a fire, an explosion, or a poisonous gas in the air.

Exposition: the rate of exposition of the probable receiver of the damage.

The rate of risk is determined by the presence of the potential receiver at the given point and his or her distance from the source of danger. A fire or an explosion, for example, can cause damage in a nearby building and its interior, or in vehicles or in furnishings – but it cannot cause damage in people if there is nobody about at that moment.

Risk: the chance the damage will occur.

As we mentioned before there is danger when an object (material) or a situation has an inherent property causing damage. Risk, on the other hand, is the possibility this damage actually occurs: therefore, the risk may be big or negligible.

In everyday life we are encompassed with risks. One way or another – consciously or automatically – we are estimating these risks. When we decide whether to cross over the road or whether to eat health-food or how to take care of our family – we are always assessing the sources of danger in question and estimating the risks before acting.

As in everyday life there are risks, similarly, they can be found at the activities of companies as well as in relation to the products these companies are manufacturing.

BUT: for the occurence of damaging in practice (or, in other words, for a risk in a given case) the simultaneous presence of both the danger and the exposition to this danger is needed. If any of these two prerequisites is lacking the risk will not occur.

For example, a dangerous animal is a source of danger. If this animal goes about loose the people around are exposed to this source of danger. There is a risk, therefore, that these people will attacked by the animal. But if that animal is locked in a cage, it is as dangerous as it was, but since nobody is exposed to this danger there isn’t any risk.

Risk = source of danger + exposition

The risk of chemical materials

All materials are poison and there isn’t any of them which is not. It is the correct portioning that differentiates the poison from the medicine.”

Paracelsus (1493-1541)

Does a dangerous chemical material indicate risk? For the occurence of risk the simultaneous presence of both the source of danger and the exposition to danger is needed.

The dangerousness of the chemical materials means that their properties are able to bring about harmful effects on people or environment. Risk is the chance these effects will occur. Nevertheless, even if a chemical material has dangerous properties, their risk for people or environment is extremely small provided that the chemical material in question is kept safely (on strictly controlled conditions).

Estimating risks is a means for the management to find out how and in what circumstances a danger may occur. For estimating the risk you must consider both the danger and the exposition. Although there are numerous ways of estimating risks, it is of importance to choose the best one.

The strongest basis for estimating risks is the method of pure science. It has to be the cornerstone for an operational and successful chemical policy.

Every decision related to risk-management has to be founded on estimating risks. You must consider the actual use and the exposition as well. You mustn’t take only the inherent properties of chemical materials into account.


SEVESO ll Implementation in the Chemical

The Hungarian pages contain the texts of understandings and agreements between MAVESZ and the Hungarian Disaster Prevention Authority on the practical aspects of the implementation of SEVESO II rules in the chemical sector.

Dangerous goods logistics

VERIK is the alarm and assistance system operated by the Hungarian chemical industry in order to provide help in case of accidents during the transportation of chemicals. The system is operating under the auspices of MAVESZ and it is based on the close cooperation of the firefigfhter units of the largest chemical producer companies of the country.

VERIK – Chemindustry alarm and assistance system

VERIK is the alarm and assistance system operated by the Hungarian chemical industry in order to provide help in case of accidents during the transportation of chemicals. The system is operating under the auspices of MAVESZ and it is based on the close cooperation of the firefigfhter units of the largest chemical producer companies of the country.


MAVESZ held a conference in 2005 on the moduls of SQAS (rail, road, distributors), the Hungarian version enlists the presentations made at the conference.