Friday, November 7, 2014

Select a Safer Alternative: Select Alternative

Select Alternative

During the selection of alternatives, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative with regards to hazard, performance, and cost, and identify any trade-offs that exist. You may want to develop a table or spreadsheet that outlines the pros and cons of each option and their importance in the selection process. Or you may develop some sort of scoring system that weighs different attributes – safety, performance, and cost.
The selection of a preferred alternative should be directly linked to the goals of your organization and your project. You should consult the team and use your company goals and work plan for transitioning to safer chemicals, as well as any chemical use policy, to weigh the various hazard, performance, and cost criteria or make decisions regarding trade-offs. You should also determine whether there are other impacts of the alternatives, including, but not limited to energy use, water use, environmental impacts, hazardous waste impacts, and upstream or downstream hazards to workers that are important to consider in your decision.
Worker input is also important during the selection process. It may be helpful to openly discuss any drawbacks and benefits of the options, as well as practical considerations of implementation, with the team as well as with any other workers who might be affected by a change.
Once you have selected an alternative for your particular application, you should communicate the decision to all relevant parties, particularly those who will work with the alternative chemical, material, product, or process. You should document the decision-making process, including the thought process, assumptions, and rationales used, so the decision can be clearly explained, justified, and understood by others. Conducting training might be an efficient way to communicate these changes; trainings may also fulfill legal requirements of communicating hazards to employees, depending on the alternatives selected.

Key Example

Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute’s Perchloroethylene Alternatives Assessment

In its assessment of seven alternatives to the use of perchloroethylene (perc) in drycleaning, the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute developed a table summarizing the comparison of the alternatives and perc, based on technical, economic, environmental, regulatory and human health criteria. The table uses color coding to indicate the preferability of alternatives purely from an environmental health and safety perspective.
TURI Table Adapted from TURI’s Methods and Policy Report—Assessment of Alternatives to Perchloroethylene for the Dry Cleaning Industry.