HC Deb 12 March 1980 vol 980 cc619-20W
Mr. Forrester

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that the regulations concerning the storage of highly inflammable materials are adequate; and if he will require all firms to notify the Health and Safety Executive when any quantity of such materials is being stored and not only when the quantity reaches 100 tons or more.

Mr. Mayhew

I do not consider that the present regulatory position with regard to storage of highly flammable materials is completely satisfactory. There are some variations in the standards required by the existing legislation and it does not cover all work activities. As part of a wide ranging review of existing controls over hazardous substances, the Health and Safety Executive has begun work on the preparation of updated regulations for highly flammable liquids and gasses and these are intended to apply to all work situations. Consultative documents setting out proposals for the regulations will be published in due course.

There are no general statutory requirements for firms to notify the Health and Safety Executive when they are storing any quantity of highly flammable materials. Under the Fire Certificates (Special Premises) Regulations 1976, the occupier of a premises is required to apply to the executive for a fire certificate relating to means of escape in case of fire if flammable materials are stored above certain specified amounts.

The Advisory Committee on Major Hazards is considering the safety problems associated with large-scale premises conducting potentially hazardous operations and draft regulations based on its recommendations have been published. The quantities at which it is proposed that notification should take place are based on the levels of risk which substances present and they are not tied to a specific quantity such as 100 tons.