Manage your environmental risk
Learn how businesses can work to prevent harm to human health and the environment.
Information on this page is not current law. It details new laws intended to commence on 1 July 2021 under the amended Environment Protection Act 2017.
All businesses must manage the risks their activities may pose to human health and the environment from pollution or waste.
Managing risk in a structured way helps businesses:
Under the general environmental duty (GED), it’s your responsibility to:
There are other duties and obligations you may need to meet.
Not eliminating or reducing your environmental risk could mean you face cleanup costs, lost work time, legal fees, fines and criminal charges.
Your approach to managing risk will depend on the scale of your activities and how complex they are. It also depends on the kinds of risks you need to manage.
Some business activities pose a low risk of causing pollution. These have low potential to cause harm to human health and the environment. For example, they may produce small amounts of waste that can go in normal bins.
Businesses with activities that pose low risk include:
These businesses may only need to take basic steps to comply with the law. Basic steps to show you’re managing risk include:
Find out more about what you might need to do if your business activities are low-risk.
Some businesses engage in activities that pose medium to high-risk of harm to human health and the environment. They must take extra steps to eliminate or reduce these risks.
Medium to high-risk activities include:
You must properly manage these activities to avoid risk of polluting soil, groundwater, surface water and air.
Businesses with medium to high-risk activities should follow a risk management process.
Find out more about medium to high-risk business activities.
Reviewed 31 July 2020