Guide

Carry out an environmental review of your business

What is an 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.

It uses similar techniques to the health and safety risk assessment your business already has to perform.

How to carry out an environmental risk assessment

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

  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

How to identify potential environmental hazards

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 assessments

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.