The prevention of industrial and natural risks is more relevant than ever - ESAIP

The prevention of industrial and natural risks is more relevant than ever

With global warming, populations, companies and communities are increasingly subject to natural hazards: floods, earthquakes, cold or heat waves… But also to the safety and security risks of industrial facilities, both in terms of the infrastructures themselves, and as employees or residents. 

It is therefore essential to call on the services of specialized engineers, firstly to define the objectives for preventing and combating major risks, but also to organize the response in the event of a crisis situation. Risks evolve over the years and regulations are constantly changing. The engineer’s job is then to set up new procedures, notably based on feedback from recent accidents.

The population is increasingly subject to natural disasters

We are all aware that natural hazards are increasing. On a global scale, a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2020 estimates that natural disasters have doubled in the last 20 years. A report by the French General Commission for Sustainable Development observed in 2020 that 6 out of 10 French people were affected by climate risks.

These events are more virulent and more frequent, and affect territories that are not prepared for them: for the past few summers, we have seen major forest fires in northern France. In these cases, there is an important issue of raising the population’s awareness of prevention and evacuation procedures, coupled with territorial, national and even supra-national issues of regulatory measures to limit the material and human toll.

In 2010, the passage of the Xynthia storm on part of our Atlantic coast caused 53 deaths and at least 1.5 billion euros of damage. Following this disaster, in order to better prevent the population, a weather watch “waves submersions” was created by Meteo France and 303 municipalities were identified as presenting coastal risks justifying that a risk prevention plan be established in priority. The local authorities, with the help of engineers, ensure that these plans are applied, which can lead to the condemnation of entire districts deemed too dangerous. 

Industrial sites face new risks

Industrial risks should not be ignored. The general public remembers disasters that have also led to changes in the legislative framework, such as the fire at the Lubrizol plant, classified as a SEVESO, in Rouen in September 2019.

These disasters have unfortunately underlined the fact that operators of SEVESO sites must redouble their efforts in their crisis management and integrate new threats linked to the evolution of the materials used for example… but also to terrorism.

After each industrial disaster, feedback is provided on the mistakes made in terms of organization, human resources management in the face of a new situation, and the safety and rescue resources put in place. The resulting actions are often required by European or national regulations. By 2023, Internal Operation Plans will be mandatory for all 1,312 SEVESO sites in France.

Faced with all these challenges, the engineer is a key player, interacting with his or her management, the authorities and the operational teams to prepare the response to each hypothetical crisis. For 30 years, esaip has been training committed engineers, turned towards others, actors in the protection of populations and the environment, at the service of their organization. Proof that these skills are in demand, the engineers trained by esaip in this field find their first job in less than 3 weeks on average.