Governance challenges and the prevention of industrial environmental accidents

The case of finland

Nina Wessberg (Corresponding Author), Riitta Molarius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the challenges faced in governing accidental industrial emissions. Accidental emissions are unexpected situations where harmful runaway emissions are released into the environment, causing damage to people, ecosystems, human property and company images. We claim that in Finland the practices of environmental authorities do not encourage companies to prevent accidental emissions in the most effective way. According to our study, based on action research and case study augmented with document analysis and interviews, authorities operate under three different kinds of frame: an environmental permit frame, a risk prevention frame and a major accident prevention frame. Accidental industrial emissions are, in our view, best governed under the risk prevention frame, where practices and management systems are addressed covering the entire complex socio‐technical nature of an industrial process. However, environmental authorities, in Finland, focus on environmental permit frames, stressing limit values, hence concentrating on managing the industrial process component by component. This approach may be suitable for the governing of continuous emissions, but not that of accidental emissions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Environment
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Finland
accident
governance
industrial emission
accident prevention
action research
document analysis
environmental accident
damage
damages
ecosystem
interview
management
Values
industrial process

Keywords

  • Environmental risk analysis
  • environmental risk assessment
  • environmental accident
  • accidental emission
  • incidental emission
  • risk management
  • environmental management
  • environmental governance
  • industry
  • frame analysis
  • case study

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper examines the challenges faced in governing accidental industrial emissions. Accidental emissions are unexpected situations where harmful runaway emissions are released into the environment, causing damage to people, ecosystems, human property and company images. We claim that in Finland the practices of environmental authorities do not encourage companies to prevent accidental emissions in the most effective way. According to our study, based on action research and case study augmented with document analysis and interviews, authorities operate under three different kinds of frame: an environmental permit frame, a risk prevention frame and a major accident prevention frame. Accidental industrial emissions are, in our view, best governed under the risk prevention frame, where practices and management systems are addressed covering the entire complex socio‐technical nature of an industrial process. However, environmental authorities, in Finland, focus on environmental permit frames, stressing limit values, hence concentrating on managing the industrial process component by component. This approach may be suitable for the governing of continuous emissions, but not that of accidental emissions.",
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Governance challenges and the prevention of industrial environmental accidents : The case of finland. / Wessberg, Nina (Corresponding Author); Molarius, Riitta.

In: European Environment, Vol. 18, No. 6, 2008, p. 371-386.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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