ChemistryCAN care for people and planet
The chemical industry uses highly demanding operational management systems to minimise the risk of handling hazardous substances and prevent harm
Safety is built into the DNA of the chemical industry, and applied from the first R&D, to managing materials at their end of use. In line with the Responsible Care programme, we must ensure that at all times we augment this mindset with thorough Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) standards and product stewardship of chemicals throughout their life-cycles.
Chemistry will always be associated with the risk of handling hazardous substances. But we can minimise this risk, and prevent harm, through highly demanding operational management systems, that are regularly evaluated and constantly improved. These include thorough emergency preparation and procedures, to cope with the potential consequences of accidents which could affect staff, local communities or the environment. These commitments are the standard for our industry, and also apply to safe use of substances.
Since the REACH legislation came into force in 2007, a wealth of information has become available, as substances are now covered by systematic safety data collection and dissemination. The strength of the European chemical industry’s safety record is now based on a rigorous legal framework, close collaboration, and specific protection standards for individual products. At every step, from the very first employee in the production, re-use and disposal chain to the end user in the value chain – namely the consumer – safety remains of the highest concern.
In parallel with complying with existing regulations, our sector has introduced practices which in certain cases go beyond the regulatory requirements. For example, Cefic promotes and coordinates the global Responsible Care programme. This commits companies along the supply chain to work through their national associations, to continuously improve their HSSE performance, and communicate about their products and processes;
As an industry, we also support research to help us understand knowledge gaps, to progress risk assessment and safe management of chemicals. The Cefic LRI (long-range research initiative) programme supports scientists around the world in looking at the implications of chemistry in the long term. LRI aims to improve methods used for the scientific assessment of the safety of chemicals, and better understand their potential health and environmental risks.