Environmental risks may be caused by sudden emissions of toxic and harmful substances during accidents, for example, but they may also be caused by the gradual contamination of the environment due to nutrient inputs or the seeping of harmful substances into soil, water bodies or groundwater.
The objective of risk management is to secure a company’s operations and success. The risks connected to a company’s operations can be determined by reflecting on the following issues, for example:
Identify risks. What can happen and why?
Assess the probability and effects of risks. If a risk becomes reality, what happens next?
Plan risk prevention. How can you avoid and minimise damage?
Draft a plan for accidents and other exception conditions.
Train and instruct your employees.
The goal of reports and mapping is to help in selecting development areas and find the procedures that will yield the best results or whose development will help you avoid environmental risks. You can utilise environmental management tools such as environmental systems for risk assessment.
Company personnel play a key role when the company wants to manage its environmental issues. Personnel must be trained, know-how must be constantly maintained, and instructions must be kept up-to-date. Instructions related to operations must be easily accessible, visible and familiar to all. The company must have a clear picture of what to do in an exception situation.
Accidents are prevented by conducting environmental risk analyses to determine harmful environmental effects, with use restrictions for chemicals, and by setting technical requirements or guidelines for machines and equipment, for example.
The location of the company’s establishment has a significant influence on the environmental risks. If environmental damage occurs and the company’s establishment is located near a water body, residential area or groundwater area, the situation can be serious and the authorities may demand that the area be cleaned. You should also pay attention to previous activities in the area. The soil in old industrial premises, such as service stations, market gardens and saw mills may be contaminated and the regeneration of the land areas may prove very costly.
Also notify the environmental authority of environmental damage
Environmental damage must always be reported to the emergency centre (call 112). The emergency and the maritime rescue centres will if necessary contact the environmental damage watch of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). You should also contact the municipal environmental authority.
As a general rule, the party responsible for causing the damage is also responsible for compensation and restoration of the environmental damage. In addition, the responsible party may be liable for criminal responsibility for the damage caused. Legislation also restricts and even forbids high-risk operations, and sets operators the obligation of minimising the consequences of any possible damage by issuing instructive and limiting values for emissions and contamination. Industries that pose the most significant environmental risks are obliged to take out statutory environmental liability insurance. The environmental liability insurance is a secondary source of compensation in case it is impossible to make the party responsible for causing the damage to fulfil its obligations.
Handling and storage of chemicals