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Twenty Years of Enforcement of Explosives Safety Regulations in France in View of an European Union Directive

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Conference paper

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IPE Inspectorate for Propellants and Explosives has been providing for decades the technical expertise to the French departments of labour, environment and defense in order to enforce explosives safety regulations and particularly since 1979. Activities concerned are either civilian space, automobile safety, explosives for mines and quarrels, fireworks, anti-hail, avalanche release, ... or military manufacturing, handling, maintenance and storage of high explosives, propellants, missiles and munitions. The activities covered exclude the use of these explosives or explosive components for their own explosive properties or effects. As far as transport is concerned, there are United Nations and European Union regulations. The explosives safety assessment process consists in evaluating, for each phase of the operations considered, the risks faced by people manufacturing, handling and testing explosive goods as well as the danger for the environment of the explosives storages or processing areas. Probabilities of occurrence of accidents incidents are proposed, either empirically or applying stringent approaches such as that applied in nuclear safety an updated list of accidents incidents and the steering of enquiring committees on major accidents may modify these probabilities, as necessary. This approach is considered stringent by the industry but, till today, it has been ensuring the safety of the activities analysed and approved by the local representatives of the administration. It has been checked that, on one hand, there are less and less major accidents caused by explosives and, on the other hand, most of them particularly those with fatalities happened because the rules were not fully applied or the remarks not taken into account. At last and in view of an European Union directive, a comparison between the major european approaches is attempted and proposals are made for its draft.

Subject Categories:

  • Safety Engineering
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Ammunition and Explosives

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