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Environmental Risk Assessment

An environmental risk assessment allows you to assess the likelihood of your business causing harm to the environment. This includes describing potential hazards and impacts before taking precautions to reduce the risks.

There are five key steps to carrying out an environmental risk assessment:

  1. identify any hazards, ie possible sources of harm
  2. describe the harm they might cause
  3. evaluate the risk of occurance and identify precautions
  4. record the results of the assessment and implement precautions
  5. review the assessment at regular intervals

When looking for environmental hazards in your business, you should consider:

  • waste storage and disposal, eg making sure that proper containers are used, and are located away from drains and watercourses
  • emissions, eg dust and other substances to the air
  • hazardous substance storage, use and disposal
  • liquid waste drainage and disposal
  • environmental impact of raw materials, eg potentially toxic metals or other materials
  • environmental impact of packaging

There are statutory minimum standards to maintain in some of these areas.

Environmental impact assessment

If your business is planning a development that’s likely to have a significant effect on the environment, you will first have to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment.