Health Safety Environment

Health, Safety & Environment

HSE (health, safety and the environment) – meaning work practices that safeguard people and the environment – is a priority for our clients. Companies that work with, or store, large quantities of hazardous substances, and are therefore subject to the Dutch Major Accidents Risks Decree 1999, are aware of their role in society and their responsibility to ensure that their practices are geared towards preventing industrial HSE accidents.

At Houthoff, we assist companies with issues such as changes in legislation and regulations, and the performance of compliance-related internal investigations. Our HSE Team advises companies facing official inspections or legal action following a disaster or claim. We analyse what is essential to our clients in this respect, and keep a close eye on all facets of the issue. The HSE Team offers our clients more than just legal advice.

  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Legal 500, Environment & planning (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff Buruma has ‘in-depth industry knowledge’ and gives ‘to-the-point advice’ on a wide range of environmental, planning and zoning matters."
    Legal 500, Environment & planning (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Legal 500, Environment & planning (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The team is praised for its value for money."
    Legal 500, Environment & planning (2016 Edition)

A serious industrial disaster can affect confidence in a brand or business. This can impact the company’s reputation and stability. In addition, tighter national and EU laws and regulations mean that enforcement and penalties are no longer confined to the civil law arena, or to administrative law penalties. Companies and their directors are increasingly confronted with criminal law investigations and prosecution. A good understanding of this complex and layered regulatory framework is essential to cope with the potential consequences of an incident.

Houthoff's HSE Team offers an efficient one-stop-shop approach. The team advises and, where necessary, litigates on the full spectrum of HSE matters from a civil law, administrative law and criminal law perspective. Our experience extends from risk prevention, compliance and regulation to incident response, contact with regulators, the performance of internal corporate and compliance investigations, and litigation (including mass claims). Moreover, in the event of a disaster or an unexpected visit from a regulator, our HSE Team offers 24/7 support and can be scaled up to any desired size or speciality.

  • Houthoff advised Latour Capital and Bpifrance (Banque publique d’investissement), together with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, in connection with their consortium acquisition of Plastic Omnium Environment BV, the environment division of Plastic Omnium. The purchase price amounts to €220 million.

  • Houthoff is defending a leading commodity trader in class action litigation in the Netherlands against more than 100,000 claimants in the Ivory Coast. The team successfully defended the company at the Amsterdam District Court. It will continue to defend the company in the appeal. Houthoff successfully defended the company in another class action submitted by a different mass claim vehicle at the Amsterdam District Court and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

  • Houthoff advised Active Capital Company on the acquisition of a 70% majority stake in the capital of Arnold Suhr, the world's second largest trader in quinine. Arnold Suhr supplies quinine to soda producers such as Coca Cola and Schweppes for the production of tonic. In addition to quinine, Arnold Suhr is a worldwide trader in raw materials such as stevia and iodine for the food and beverage, sport nutrition and pharmaceutical industry.
  • Representing Mourik Groot Ammers and her insurers after two cranes and their bridge load fell off their pontoons destroying many houses and businesses in Alphen aan den Rijn.
  • Defending Smit Draad, manufacturer of rectangular winding wire for the capital goods industry, and her insurers against a collective health and safety claim on behalf of emloyees by trade union FNV and the works council.
  • Defense counsel to Smit Draad, part of IRCE SpA against a collective health and safety claim on behalf of emloyees by the FNV Metaal and the Occupational Diseases Bureau.
  • Advised Alcoa, global leader in lightweight metals, in matter concerning the Inspectorate SAE.
  • Advising and representing New York Pizza on various zoning and environmental matters.
  • Advised PQ Silicas, global manufacturer of silica based inorganic chemicals in dealings with the Inspectorate SAE and coordinating compliance issues for prevention in the future.
  • Advising the world's largest privately owned global tank container leasing company in dealings with the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).
  • Represented a.o. Alcodis S.A. in an agrifood product liability matter involving product recalls in several countries worldwide.
  • Represented Goodyear Dunlop in litigation resulting from a series of incidents.
  • Counsel to Oerlemans Foods after fatal accident of an employee.
  • Houthoff assisted the sellers (among whom, H2 Equity Partners and ABN AMRO Participaties) in the sale of Evenementenhal to Artexis Easyfairs.
  • Assisting Verwater Group in their crisis management and legal affairs in the acute phase of a huge asbestos contamination involving delivery of asbestos' contaminated grit
  • Counsel to the Dutch Association of Insurers to advise the industry and the Association of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering on strategic matters concerning occupational exposure to Chrome-6 
  • Defense counsel to Waagner Biro,  the design-build contractor for the machinery of the Botlek Bridge in the Netherlands, which is the world's biggest vertical lift bridge, and its insurers in liability issues against a joint venture consisting of a.o. Strabag, Strukton and Ballast Nedam 
We have been engaged in almost all of the large-scale incidents of recent years, from the fireworks disaster in Enschede to the devastating detention centre fire at Schiphol Airport, and from the blaze at Chemie-Pack to the collapse of two cranes in Alphen aan den Rijn. The HSE Team is regarded as a crucial player with extensive practical experience and characterised by its specific sector knowledge, excellent relationships with technical and scientific experts, and efficient approach.
Huib Lebbing

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 10 217 25 91
+31 6 2049 0572

Key Contact

Advocaat | Counsel
+31 20 605 69 18
+31 6 1496 9273