The long reach of legislation

The long reach of legislation

5.1 Introduction and synopsis

The prophet Moses, seeking to set standards for the ways in which his peo­ple behaved, created or received (according to your viewpoint) 10 admirably concise commandments. Most start with the words "Thou shalt not…," with simple, easily understood incentives (heaven, hell) to comply. Today, as far as materials and design are concerned, it is Environmental Protection Agencies and European Commissions that issue commandments, or, in their language, directives. The consequences of infringing them are not as Old Testament in their severity as those of the original 10, but if you want to grow your business, compliance becomes a priority.

This involves some obvious steps:

■ Being aware of directives or other binding controls that touch on the materials or processes you use

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Warning signs that relate to materials. Clockwise from top left: dangerous, highly flammable, explosive, poisonous, environmentally hazardous, very corrosive.

■ Understanding what is required to comply with them

■ Having (or developing) tools to make compliance as painless as possible

■ Exploring ways to make compliance profitable rather than a burden; exploiting compliance information as a marketing tool, for example

This chapter is about controls and economic instruments that impinge on the use of engineering materials. It reviews current legislation and describes an example of tools to help with compliance.