"All substance are poisons, there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from remedy." (Paracelsus, 1493-1541)

There is a fine line between something being harmful or beneficial, and leaving matters to chance could prove dangerous and costly. This is where risk management, a structured approach to managing uncertainty related to a threat, can be employed to ensure that the line is not inadvertently crossed.

Risk is the coming together of hazard, the manner in which something may cause harm, and exposure, the extent to which something or someone is the recipient of harm. Put simply, risk is the chance that harm occurs.

In the area of industrial surface cleaning, every solvent has certain product specific risks that need to be managed effectively. Once risks have been identified and assessed, all techniques to manage the risk fall into one or more of these four major categories:

  • Avoidance (eliminate)
  • Reduction (mitigate)
  • Transference (outsource or insure)
  • Retention (accept and budget)

Choosing the Right Risk Strategy
The challenge a company faces is to find ways for effective risk management to derive the maximum advantage in the long-term from the best product solution. Choosing a risk retention strategy cannot be accepted as best practice if products or services are available that enable any of the other three aforementioned options, namely avoidance, reduction, or transference.

A transference strategy is feasible if the right business models are in place. A Chemical Leasing Model enables outsourcing of the cleaning process to a service provider who then takes on the responsibility for the effective risk management.

In most cases, risk avoidance means product substitution. This strategy is recognized as a best practice as long as the alternative offers at least the same quality parameters and is not inferior from a technical performance perspective. If substitution means accepting a second best alternative, the risk avoidance strategy becomes short-sighted vis-à-vis progress.

An effective risk reduction strategy can be measured by combining compliance with emission levels on one hand and sustainability criteria - environmental, economic, and social benefits - on the other.

Components for a best practice risk management strategy in industrial surface cleaning are:

  • Enclosed cleaning equipment
  • Supply and take-back in closed loop safety systems
  • Continuous solvent maintenance and process optimization

The results of a best practice risk management strategy in industrial surface cleaning include virtually no solvent emissions and a significant increase in the lifespan of the product. Additionally, the solvent virtually does not come in contact with workers or users.