At European level, industrial risks are subject to the Seveso directive which was last revised in 2012. France, still subject to the Loi Risques (Risks Law) of 2003, has launched an action plan for prevention and management, and adopted seven new regulatory texts at the start of 2020 following the Lubrizol accident in Rouen.
Even if these are not new, natural and climate risks (floods, forest fires, the shrinkage and swelling of clays, storms, heatwaves etc.) are deepening in intensity and leading to ever higher losses. According to Swiss Re, the cost of natural catastrophes globally will rise to USD270 billion in 2021. In addition to this, we must now take into account the NaTech risk, which denominates the impact of severe weather events on industrial installations.
Health risks continue to grow, whether of chemical (pesticides, medicinal residues, gaseous pollutants), physical (electromagnetic waves or fields) or microbiological (virus, bacteria, parasites) origin. In all of these sectors, the development of knowledge impacts on regulation (revision of existing text or the publication of new content).
The management of every risk hinges on monitoring, prediction, warning, reducing vulnerabilities and strategy implementation both during and after a crisis. At each of these stages, many innovations are emerging which are just as likely to be technological as they are organisational or behavioural.