By Megan and Stuart
When SOS-Switched Onto Safety started in business some 20 years ago we started out just in OSH. We have broadened our knowledge and experience over these years too incorporate environment as we could see that over this time, organisations themselves were wanting to include environmental aspects in their systems for numerous reasons. We wanted to be able to assist, not just from an auditing and inspection aspect but also being involved in researching and investigating environmental problems or conditions that could endanger people’s health or wellbeing.
In addition to this, as one of our speciality areas in the business is Chemical Management, we could see that it was only natural to look at this area from an OSH and Environmental perspective.
Protecting ourselves and the environment from chemicals!
There are a number of reasons why ‘chemical management’ & ‘spill management’ is becoming an important part of any organisations management system and emergency preparedness, including:
- Occupational health and safety legislation requirements
- Environment protection legislation (Act)
- Business management and;
- Moral imperative
As mentioned, the first reason why we need a management system in place is from a legal perspective, OR IS IT? Is it also not good business sense to have a system in place that is going to help keep your people safe and well? Do we not have a moral obligation to the world we live in and the future generations to look after our environment?
In regards to Environment, an ‘Environmental Duty of Care’ is the basic principle that the legislation is built on, a Due diligence for the environment, you might say.
‘A person must not carry out any activity that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the harm’.
This means that every reasonable step to avoid the spill and prevent spill from harming the environment must be taken. If these reasonable steps are not taken, it constitutes an offence against the Act.
Having spill control equipment in place in case of a chemical spill to assist with the practical side of an incident and a basic documented system with training of how to manage a spill will help with your compliance obligations and help protect the environment and personnel from harm. This is just one small simple step that can be put in place, yet will have a substantial effect and make a difference if there is a spill.
So just ask yourselves; how prepared are you are your organisation when it comes to chemical management within your organisation? If you are not too sure or have any questions, please contact for assistance.