Chemical Risk Management: Not Only a Task for the Experts
January 10, 2019
Chemical Risk Management for Small Medium Enterprises
The sheer complexities of a traditional scientific approach to chemical risk management is so daunting to the average person, it is not even attempted. The reduction of chemical risk using substitution by the average Small Medium Enterprise (SME) needs real practical guidance when there is little or no chemical management expertise. Substitution can become a very complex process in larger organizations involving formal evaluations from team members from quality control, engineering, production, R&D, purchasing, safety, environment, occupational hygiene, maintenance and management. In the vast majority of organizations, one person will have to manage all these aspects.
Managing chemical risk effectively is a task that requires knowledge, determination and sustained effort. An understanding of how chemicals affect health and how to minimise negative impacts can however be hard to come by. The effects of chemicals on humans and the environment can be complex, very technical for the average person to understand and interpret. Legislation also can be very technical and complex to understand. This clearly makes it a very complex subject for the non-expert.
Practical chemical management is a balancing act with the target of finding the best possible solution that minimises risk to health, safety and environment yet is both practically possible and financially viable. The case is clear for the existence of user-friendly tools, guidance and practical help like Chemscape’s Chemical Hazard Assessment and Management Program which was developed for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
CHAMP was built using the concept of Control Banding, an excellent method to share and transfer Industrial Hygiene (IH) information to the general workforce of non-IH’s. Small Medium Enterprise (SME) often lack the resources to hire Industrial Hygienist’s or lack the budget to hire consulting expertise in this area. However, they still have the desire to protect their workers and meet the same regulatory requirements as larger companies. SME’s need direction based on trusted systems that can advise on how to protect workers in a way they can understand.