The Financial Impact of Environmental Accidents
Depending upon the scale, substances involved, proximity to populated areas and other such factors, accidents will have differing impacts. For some, the result can involve significant damage to the surrounding environment, sometimes for a long period of time afterwards if, for example, it is an oil spillage or nuclear material escaping.
Although the consequences for people and associated injuries, illnesses or deaths will always take precedence and be the primary concern, companies also face extremely serious financial ramifications from any major environmental accident which could and should have been prevented. These financial implications involve provisions necessary for compensating affected people or their families, fines from regulators, court costs incurred, cost of the accident investigation, and the cost of rebuilding and constructing new buildings and machinery. Along with these costs, there is also likely to be a dramatic fall in sales revenue as consumers shun the company's products in anger over the damage that has been done to the environment. To try and rebuild its shattered brand image, the company will usually have to spend heavily on advertising and on charitable and worthy causes.
It is for these reasons why environmental considerations are becoming an ever-increasing part of company health and safety training programmes, and why many courses including the NEBOSH General Certificate and the CITB SMSTS courses will look at the impact upon the environment that workers can have from their actions or inactions, not to mention the rise in popularity of dedicated environmental qualifications like the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate and Environmental Diploma. For more information on NEBOSH courses, please click here.