The APELL Process



What is APELL?

APELL is a modular, flexible methodological tool for preventing accidents and, failing this, to minimise their impacts. This is achieved by assisting decision-makers and technical personnel to increase community awareness and to prepare co-ordinated response plans involving industry, government, and the local community, in the event that unexpected events should endanger life, property or the environment.

APELL was originally developed to cover risks arising from fixed installations, but it has also been adapted for specific applications:


APELL for Port Areas was released in 1996,
APELL for Mining released in 2001.

Transport :

TransAPELL, Guidance for Dangerous Goods Transport: Emergency Planning in a Local Community was published in 2000.

Natural Disasters:

APELL and Natural Disasters, a community -based approach for disaster reduction

APELL is a tool for bringing people together to allow effective communication about risks and emergency response. The process of dialogue should help to:

  • reduce risk;
  • improve effectiveness of response to accidents;
  • allow ordinary people to react appropriately during emergencies.

APELL was developed by the United Nations Environment Programme, in partnership with industry associations, communities and governments following some major industrial accidents that had serious impacts on health and the environment. APELL is now being implemented in nearly 30 countries around the world.

The APELL Handbook, launched in 1988, sets out a ten-step process for the development of an integrated and functional emergency response plan involving local communities, governments, emergency responders and others. This process creates awareness of hazards in communities close to industrial facilities, encourages risk reduction and mitigation, and develops preparedness for emergency response.

Communication is often between the three main groups of stakeholders - company, community, and local authorities. Discussion on hazards usually leads to the identification of risk reduction measures, thus making the area safer than before. Structured communication between emergency response bodies (public and company) results in a better-organized overall emergency response effort.

None of the elements of APELL is radical or new. The programme simply provides a common-sense approach to accident prevention and response. APELL can apply to any risk situation, whether industrial or natural. It can be initiated by any party, although companies can be expected to take the lead. It can be facilitated by governments, or by industry associations. APELL can be applied in developed and developing countries and in remote or urban areas.