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Topical Workshop 1
10th European Work Hazards Network Conference 2006
29th September – 1st October 2006; Baltic Beach Hotel, Jurmala, Latvia
Topic Workshop 1: Chemical Management in SMEs
Facilitated by Henning Wriedt, Germany, and Günther Kittel, Austria
The workshop group included delegates from Denmark, the Netherlands, United States, Norway, Germany and Austria.
The power point presentation is attached.
The aim was to discuss some of the strategies and tools used in different European countries to support smaller companies to manage their chemical risks.
The workshop began by a short introduction of the current situation: Despite all regulatory efforts, the management of dangerous chemical substances is still indicating severe problems and shortcomings in smaller enterprises. That may be due to the lack of supportive structures, deficiences in the basic informations (labelling, safety data sheets) or the limited capacity of regulatory inspectors and OHS professionals to reach small firms. But the main causes are connected with the specific characteristics of smaller enterprises, especially the multifaceted lack of resources that is exacerbated by special social and economic contexts.
The main part of the workshop dealed with supporting strategies (tools) that may be categorised as general strategies, sector-based approaches, approaches based on the company size, provisions of structured collections of methods and instruments, and intermediaries as element of strategy. Selected German, British and Austrian examples of every type of strategy were presented.
The final conclusions addressed relevant strategic elements and support requirements, necessary to ensure an effective implementation in smaller enterprises.
The workshop is based on the study "Strategies for success? Managing chemical risks in small workplaces: a review of European practice" (2004 to 2006), focussing on Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK, and examining success, sustainability and transferability of support for chemical risk management strategies and tools.
More detailled information about the project's findings are found in two attached papers, written by the project manager:
David Walters. The efficacy of strategies for chemical risk management in small enterprises in Europe: evidence for success? Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, Issue 1, pp. 81-116(36).
David Walters, Evolution of chemical safety data systems for SMEs, Occupational Health Review, Issue 122 July/August 2006, pp19-20.