Risks are present in all business activities. Businesses that conduct activities that risk harming human health or the environment from pollution or waste must manage those risks. This is to comply with the general environmental duty (GED)

About medium to high-risk activities

Medium to high-risk activities include: 

  • handling and storing liquids 
  • disposing of chemicals 
  • receiving, storing and treating waste 
  • discharging industrial wastes. 

These activities can pollute soil, groundwater, surface water and air.  

Many medium to high-risk activities can also produce harmful odour, noise and air pollution. For example: 

  • receiving raw materials, roasting coffee and heating waste polystyrene can cause odour pollution 
  • roadworks, construction, manufacturing and sheet metal activities can cause noise pollution 
  • earthworks and stack emission activities can cause air pollution. 

You may already be controlling medium to high-risk activities under the existing EPA licensing and approvals process. Or you may need to: 

  • follow EPA and industry guidance to assess your risks 
  • adopt good practice measures your industry follows  
  • consider engaging a consultant for advice. 

Levels of risk infographic

Follow a risk management process

How you manage risk should match the level of risk your business activities pose. 

Any size business with any risk level can apply the four steps below. Or you can use a different risk management approach better suited to your business.  

Steps in controlling hazards and risks infographic

Medium to large businesses may already have more complex processes in place. 

Your actions shouldn’t stop at step four in the risk management process. To comply with the law you must continually identify, assess and control risks.  

Find out more about how to manage your environmental risk.  

Tools to support and manage risks

Follow the four-step risk management process

Find out about common hazards

Manage your environmental risk

Learn to manage low-risk activities

Get guidance from EPA

Find out if you need a permit or licence

Reviewed 12 August 2022