A hazardous material is any material that presents a danger to human life and health by inhaling fumes, swallowing, contact with skin or eyes, explosion or radiation of heat, and any material defined as such by law. Storing large quantities of these materials is liable to pose a risk to the public in an emergency. The risk when such materials are damaged is that they will be dispersed as a gas or aerosol, or that they will set off a string of explosions and fires that will cause great damage both to the infrastructure and to the public that resides in that location.
A Hazmat event is defined as an event in which the hazardous material “is no longer under the control of the designated systems, processes or the human element.” Such events can be caused by natural disasters (fires, earthquakes) or war damages (missiles and shelling, explosive, terrorist attack), whether planned/anticipated or not.
The Civil Defense Law defines exactly who is allowed to keep hazardous materials (Hazmat): “A workshop, factory, munitions marketing center, swimming pool, hotel or anyone keeping hazardous materials including landowners on whose property such materials are found.”
Below are two sections of the law intended to clarify the obligations of those who keep hazardous materials:
The fourth section of the Civil Defense Law requires:
a. The installation and maintenance of equipment for civil defense in an industrial plant, as the responsibility of the industry owner.
b. Equipping and training the workers for civil defense in wartime or in an event in the factory.
c. It is the responsibility of the industrial plant to help – with manpower and equipment – other industries during an incident or in an emergency, based on the requirements of the authorized body (the Home Front Command headquarters).
The sixth section of the Civil Defense Law requires:
a. An annual report to the Home Front Command headquarters, Hazmat Center, on the types of hazardous materials stored, their location, quantities and manner of storage.
b. Taking measures in order to prevent risk to the public during an emergency, as follows:
(1) installing protection, i.e. building reinforced concrete walls;
(2) neutralizing and reducing Hazmat stockpiles in an emergency;
(3) removing materials to an evacuation site in an emergency.
Agents who store poisons require a poisonous materials permit issued by the Ministry of the Environment to those who deal with poisons, as required by the 5753-1993 Poisonous Materials Law. The request for a permit is a joint request of the Ministry of the Environment and the Home Front Command. According to the law, dealing with poisons, including their manufacture, importation, packaging, marketing, issue, transportation, storage, holding and use, requires a poisonous materials permit.