Information system on the state of the art in safety technology
The information system INFOSIS in German was developed by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). It contains the following modules:
- DOSIS database (documentation system on the state of the art in safety technology)
- ZEMA database (Central Reporting and Evaluation Office for Hazardous Incidents)
- AIM (interactive information management system)
The database currently holds records of 30 installations of the following types: storage/handling of pressure liquefied toxic gases; liquid gas storage facilities; storage of combustible liquids; general freight warehouses; facilities handling, storing or processing dusts, and production facilities. The database is largely the result of a completed research project in German commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency.
The installations are categorised into different groups depending on the kind of technology used. Each group consists of several elements. To facilitate better depiction of an installation, piping and instrumentation diagrams can be assigned to the installation and to the groups. The individual elements making up an installation are linked with the relevant safety requirements from the technical rules and regulations and other sources. The links can either be references or entire documents. The experience of experts may also be documented in the form of safety advice and comments.
The documentation system is an open platform, checked by BAM, in which competent bodies - such as permitting authorities, experts and operators– can use their internet browser to enter installations of interest into the database and thus document the state of the art in safety technology in Germany. This interactive input from users of the database means that further developments in safety technology are reflected. It is only possible to depict installation designs as examples of "best available technology.” Natural hazards affecting specific installations or locations cannot be included. This means that DOSIS is a source of knowledge for ascertaining the state of the art in safety technology, but is not a substitute for an expert evaluation of a specific installation design.
Since 1993, the Central Reporting and Evaluation Office for Hazardous Incidents (ZEMA) has recorded, analysed and published in annual reports all events notifiable under the Regulation on Major Accidents. This pool of information is an indispensable basis for taking forward the state of the art in safety technology and good management practice.
Between 1980 and 2004, over 400 high-quality detailed reports on major accidents and malfunctions in Germany were registered in ZEMA’s database.
INFOSIS includes a direct link to ZEMA’s datasets. Users can use a number of search filters to carry out their own research in ZEMA’s online database.
Using a web-based accreditation procedure, users can register a specific profile detailing their particular interests and take part in an interactive information system. Whenever a piece of information fitting the profile is input into the ZEMA’s online database or DOSIS, the user is automatically notified. In this way, AIM supports targeted dissemination of important information about and experience with major industrial accidents and helps to fulfil the obligation on public authorities to disseminate environmental information, as set out in Article 10 of the Environmental Information Act.