Substance substitution

You can prevent exposure to a hazardous substance by:

  • substituting it with another substance which presents less, or no risk;
  • using another process which doesn't create a hazardous form of that substance.

For example

  • substituting a powder for a liquid;
  • removing the need to weigh out powders by buying it pre-packed.

There are seven steps to practical, well thought out decisions about substitution.

  1. Decide whether the substance or process is a hazard. Is there a significant risk involved in storing, using or disposing of a substance?
  2. Identify the alternatives.
  3. Think about what could happen if you use the alternatives.
  4. Compare the alternatives with each other and with the substance or process you are using at the moment.
  5. Decide whether to substitute.
  6. Introduce the substitute.
  7. Assess how it is working.

You can speak to trade associations, others carrying out similar work, customers and suppliers for information if you are considering substitution.

You should also look at HSE REACH web pages for information about the effect of substances you use.

Is this page useful?