Sector Industry, pipelines and networks

Chemistry in cooperation - Safety at the Chemelot industrial complex Limburg


Industrial processes at the chemical complex of Chemelot in the Province of Limburg involve the large-scale processing of hazardous substances. The site also accommodates a research and education campus that is home to a community of researchers and students of around 2,500 people, on average. Chemelot is in the immediate vicinity of several residential districts in the municipalities of Sittard-Geleen, Stein and Beek. One special feature of Chemelot is that all the businesses and institutions located there come under a single, overarching environmental and planning permit.

In 2016 the Limburg chemical complex of Chemelot witnessed four incidents: three serious emissions of hazardous substances and one fatal accident. The Dutch Safety Board has conducted an investigation to find out how parties at Chemelot control safety as well as to identify any shortcomings and weaknesses.

The investigation has revealed that there is room for improvement in how the safety of installations at Chemelot is controlled.  Working with hazardous substances involves risks - especially when the site concerned includes several 'Brzo' companies (companies subject to the Major Accidents (Risks) Decree). Today, those risks are controlled per individual company as part of an approach essentially aimed to meet regulatory standards. What is lacking, however, is a broad, high-level vision of safety at Chemelot as a whole. The Dutch Safety Board concludes that existing collaborative structures should be utilised more effectively in order to achieve permanent safety improvements.


  • Start date 17 feb. 2017
  • End date 21 jun. 2018
  • Type investigationFull
  • Status investigationClosed

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