Review the risk
You have now identified a prioritised risk reduction substance. The questions below provide support in collecting the basis for a decision that is needed to:
- find out which risks the use of the substance involve for your company and
- prioritise the measures that need to be taken.
Note that a complete risk assessment is considerably more detailed. Since this text is intended to cover a wide target group, and it is not possible to pose specific questions here, remember that your situation is unique and must be dealt with accordingly.
To decide whether handling carries risks, the risks must be analysed on the basis of the life cycle of the product:
- Risks due to chemicals in production
- Risks in the user phase (involves several different steps)
- Risks when the product or article becomes waste
- Evaluation of the risks
- Decision on chemical usage
In Chemicals in practical use, Risk analysis you can get more information concerning the work necessary to review the risks.
Evaluation of the risks
Once you have made a risk assessment you should have a relatively good general idea of the hazardous properties of the substance and the effect it could have on humans and the environment from a life cycle perspective, and in your specific situation.
Assessing risks can be facilitated by sorting substances into different risk levels. On the basis of your summary of how people and the environment may be exposed during production, usage and in the waste disposal stage, you can now do this.
You can for example work with the following risk levels:
- Low risk, acceptable in principle
- Increased risk that needs further investigation and possibly requires measures to be taken
- High risk that requires direct measures to be taken
Depending on the risk level, there are different ways to deal with them. In general you should make sure that there is sufficient expertise in the company to handle the risks. Can you make changes to your buildings and production processes to build away your risks? Is relevant protection equipment available? The risks can also be so large that they cannot be considered as acceptable, in which case the substance should be phased out or replaced.
Decisions concerning the use of chemicals
Remember that the decision is always yours. The PRIO tool can help you to prioritise, but you should always link your discussions to the company's internal priorities in the form of environmental policy or environmental goals, or other relevant aims and strategies. Depending on whether you assess the current risks as unacceptable, or that they are being managed in a satisfactory manner, you can now proceed further with the prioritisation guide.
How is the risk assessed?