In the Netherlands, companies with large quantities of hazardous substances are covered by the Dutch Major Accidents (Risks) Decree [Besluit risico's zware ongevallen – BRZO].
The BRZO is the Dutch arrangement of a European directive. The BRZO merges laws and regulations relating to safety at work, external safety and disaster response. The aim of the BRZO is preventing and managing serious accidents with hazardous substances. Companies that are covered by this legislation are referred to as BRZO companies. Such a company must draw up a safety report if the quantity of hazardous substances exceeds a certain level.

What is the risk?

Some companies are a source of risk because they store hazardous substances. These may include toxic, flammable or explosive substances. The quantities of hazardous substances stored are larger in the case of BRZO companies compared to other companies. The risk occurs if something goes wrong with those large quantities of hazardous substances.

What can you do yourself?

  • do not go to the accident location;
  • call 1-1-2 if this has not yet been done;
  • ensure that you are at least 500 metres from the scene of the accident;
  • ensure that you walk at right angles to the wind (see the drawing below), but always away from the accident;

  • follow the instructions of the emergency services (police, fire brigade, ambulance);


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Risks in your area?

What safety measures are there?

These companies are subject to stricter rules than apply to others. BRZO companies are obliged to draw up disaster response plans and to use these as a basis for exercises with the emergency services. The permit authority (province or municipality) carries out regular checks to assess whether the company is complying with the strict safety requirements.
The BRZO does not apply to Ministry of Defence establishments, nuclear power stations, mining companies and firework companies. These are subject to specific laws or regulations.

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