International Programme on Chemical Safety

Providing guidance for strengthening preparedness, response and follow-up to chemical accidents and emergencies

The management of a major incident is a complex affair which requires timely and accurate input from various organisations and agencies. Planning aims to ensure that people have understood and learned their roles before an incident occurs.

Public health preparedness and response to chemical incidents at national level should include the development of a health national plan for dealing with chemical incidents. This should include minimum quality requirements to include regular testing (Public Health Preparedness and response to Chemical Incidents in Europe Report on a WHO Meeting Copenhagen Denmark 22-24 April 2002).

A series of guidance documents have been produced to assist countries in developing their own public health response plans for both accidental and deliberate chemical events.

IPCS is currently developing an inventory of resources for responding to chemical events at both national and international level e.g national facilities that can be used, experts and matreials such as antidotes that can be sent to another country.

  • WHO Guidelines for the public health response to biological and chemical weapons (2004). [pdf 682kb]
  • WHO Guidelines to Assess National Health Preparedness and Response Programmes to Deliberate Disease from Biological and Chemical Agents (Draft, 2003).
  • WHO Guidelines on crisis communication (Draft, 2003).
  • WHO/IPCS Guidelines for the Public Health and Chemical Incidents for National & Regional Policy Makers in the Public/Environmental Health Roles (1999).
    [pdf 1.07Mb]
  • WHO/EURO Guidelines for assessing the health consequence of major chemical incidents - epidemiological approaches (1997).
  • WHO Health Assessment Protocols For Emergencies (1999).
  • Health Aspects of Chemical Accident Awareness, Preparedness and Response for Health Professional and Emergency Responders, IPCS, OECD, UNEP-IE/PAC, WHO-ECEH (1994).