The safety and environmental rules and regulations are complex and regularly tightened, with companies being expected to comply at all times with the currently applicable rules and prevent incidents from arising. Companies subject to the Major Accident Hazards Decree (Brzo 2015) deal with high-levels of hazardous substances and must meet the highest standards or face sanctions for non-compliance. NautaDutilh's team helps companies identify and comply with the specific rules applicable in the area of safety, the environment and Brzo regulation and provides specialised support in the event of inspections and enforcement actions.
A multidisciplinary team of specialists and an integrated approach to oversight and enforcement
Supervision of compliance and enforcement are carried out by various authorities, each of which has its own area of expertise and focus, including the Inspectorate SZW, Environmental Services (Omgevingsdiensten) the DCMR, SodM, ILenT, ANVS and the Public Prosecution Service. Consequently, violations can result in multiple, concomitant administrative and criminal proceedings. In addition, increasing attention is being paid to the potential criminal liability of directors and (HSE and other) managers for violations, in their capacity as the de facto managers of the organisation. Incidents can moreover form the object of a public investigation by the Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid (OvV). Finally, there is a risk of civil claims and negative publicity.
NautaDutilh has pooled its extensive knowledge and experience working with Brzo companies to form a multidisciplinary team of specialists in the areas of administrative, criminal and liability law. This consolidation will make it possible to determine a good strategy for each client and for each incident, one that covers all the bases.
If your company is faced with an unexpected incident, our team is there for you. The team works out of our offices in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but can quickly be on site anywhere in the country.
Legislative and regulatory compliance and preparation for inspections
Our specialists can help your company comply with the applicable laws and regulations, by identifying with you potential risks of non-compliance (if necessary, together with technical experts), making recommendations on policy adjustments, providing training, overseeing improvements and, if necessary, advising on changes to the permit requirements. In addition, we can ensure adequate preparation for scheduled inspections.
In the event of non-compliance, it may be important to conduct your own investigation into the causes thereof. Based on our extensive experience in this area, NautaDutilh has developed a solid policy on the performance of such investigations. Nowadays, there is greater possibility to take the investigation, or a portion thereof, into your own hands and to share your findings with the competent authority, to avoid or limit the impact of an investigation by the special investigative service.
NautaDutilh has extensive experience providing advice, legal support and on-the-spot assistance throughout the entire sector concerned by the safety and environmental regulations, including:
- legal assistance to chemical companies following serious incidents, including alleged violations of the Working Conditions Act, Brzo 2015 (Seveso Directive), the Environmental Management Act, the Economic Offences Act and provisions of the Criminal Code (pertaining to the release of extremely hazardous substances, manslaughter, etc.);
- legal assistance to transport companies in discussions regarding compliance with the Transport of Hazardous Substances Act (including the ADR, IMDG, ADN, RID);
- the provision of advice to waste collection, processing and transport companies on the waste legislation and regulations (including Eural and EVOA);
- legal assistance with (announced) administrative fines or prosecution due to occupational accidents resulting from possible violations of the Working Conditions Act and regulations; and
- the negotiation of settlements or penalty decisions after incidents, including allegedly late reporting of "unusual incidents" and violations of the Soil Protection Act or the Water Act.