Multiple concerns arise in modern societies, namely increasing technological complexity, challenges of a global market, rising frequency of severe natural events and increasing societal vulnerability.
The impacts on the population of such combination of new threats and hazards is potentially amplified by the strong multi-sectorial dependence of specific critical infrastructures. Chemical industrial parks, also called Seveso sites in Europe, store or process high quantities of hazardous substances. The involvement of Seveso sites/areas in crisis scenarios may escalate the impact of cascading events, either deriving from external threats as natural hazards or intentional interference (terrorist attacks), or by internal causes.
Population and safety and security officers need an increased awareness of the potential impact deriving from such scenarios. Seveso sites have specific factors for the prevention of scenarios, as well as factors that influence resilience and response to crisis. The scope of conventional approaches to the safety and security of complex systems needs to be widened to include the specific scenarios involving Seveso sites/areas.
The consolidated approach and tools available for the assessment of the impact of major accidents at Seveso sites, developed to address hazards as required by the Seveso Directive, needs to be revisited and integrated in a holistic assessment of external and internal threats. Consequence and impact assessment should be extended to consider cascading events that, through multi-sectorial dependencies and indirect impacts, may affect different entities of the society. Awareness needs to be created among population and safety and security managers of chemical parks.