John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Post-accident expert assessment: from the origins to the Lubrizol/NL Logistique case study Volume 20, issue 2, March-April 2021


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Parc technologique ALATA
60550 Verneuil en Halatte
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The post-accident expert assessment implemented during the Lubrizol/NL Logistique fire is based on feedback from industrial accidents over the past 15 years. Ineris has developed practices in this field, based especially on studies of real-life French situations.

Experience has shown the need to improve the consistency of emergency management and long-term risk management. In the mid-2000s, investigations into substances in the environment began long after an accident. However, the longer-term management and analysis of the event must begin immediately after the accident by collecting and preserving samples as a precautionary measure and implementing a risk prevention strategy for health and the environment with regard to atmospheric deposition, without waiting for the end of the emergency phase of fighting a fire and bringing people to safety.

Two main challenges were highlighted: the need to characterize exposures that may be fleeting (smoke plume, surface water contamination) and the need to trace the impact of an event relative to the “background” existing pollution. Pollutants emitted are generally not specific and are already present in the area, whether they are partial or complete combustion products, or unburnt original products, even when these seem specific (phytosanitary for example). Responses were proposed and taken up by the authorities, in the decree of February 20, 2012 on the management of environmental and health impacts of events of technological origin in post-accident situations, which includes the implementation of a post-accident unit and is accompanied by a methodological guide. Today, Ineris continues to improve its post-accident expert assessments, in line with its emergency skills.