Minimizing Product Risk
Product stewardship is an approach to managing product safety that goes beyond regulatory compliance. It encompasses traditional product safety management as well as human health, environmental, distribution, and design safety management. The core objective of Praxair’s product stewardship activities is to promote continuous improvement in health, safety, and environmental protection for each of the company’s products. Our Product Stewardship Policy prompts management at all levels to try to integrate this objective into all phases of product design, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, customer hazard communication and customer support management systems.
Managing Product Stewardship
Management of our global product stewardship policy and program rests with the vice president of safety, health and environment. The vice president reports to a member of the Executive Leadership Team.
We also have a team of business, engineering, operations and safety professionals that examines the potential environmental, health and safety risks of every new product. The entire life cycle of the product is reviewed — from raw material procurement through manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal, using a simplified life cycle assessment.
We use the following management systems to promote product stewardship:
- Risk Review: Identify the potential risks associated with the product and the design features and management systems that minimize those risks.
- Product Design Safety: Consider how a product may be used or misused and identify design features that could mitigate potential hazards.
- Procurement Specification & Control: Verify compliance with purchased material requirements and specifications.
- Manufacturing Control: Establish procedures and train personnel to ensure consistent product quality within product specifications.
- Distribution & Installation Control: Establish procedures and train personnel to ensure safe product deliveries, storage and customer application.
- Hazard Communication: Communicate information on the safe use and handling of each product in a timely manner through appropriate use of Safety Data Sheets (SDS), product labeling, product use instructions, customer training and support.
- Product Disposal: Establish procedures to identify products that are no longer suitable for customer use and refurbish, replace, or dispose of them in an environmentally safe manner.
- Incident Reporting & Investigation: Report, investigate and analyze incidents involving our products misuse and disposal to learn more about product risks and take corrective action.
Praxair has set a target to improve product stewardship (View our performance against this target):
- By 2014: Introduce at least one major application that offers customers an alternative to the use of substance of very high concern ahead of REACH requirements.
We also introduced a new target in 2015: By 2020, conform to the new Responsible Care® Global Charter and its Six Elements. Praxair became a signatory of this charter in 2015.
We are a proud member of the American Chemistry Council, and a Responsible Care® company. Through the Responsible Care initiative and the Responsible Care Global Charter (External PDF), our industry has made a worldwide commitment to improve the environmental, health, safety and security performance of our products and processes. We are committed to:
- Leading our companies in ethical ways that benefit society, the economy and the environment.
- Designing and developing products that can be manufactured, transported, used, and disposed of or recycled safely.
- Working with customers, carriers, suppliers, distributors and contractors to foster the safe and secure use, transport and disposal of chemicals and provide hazard and risk information that can be accessed and applied in their operations and products.
- Designing and operating our facilities in a safe, secure and environmentally-sound manner.
- Instilling a culture throughout our organizations to continually identify, reduce and manage process safety risks.
- Promoting pollution prevention, minimization of waste and conservation of energy and other critical resources at every stage of our product life cycles.
- Cooperating with governments and organizations in the development of effective and efficient safety, health, environmental and security laws, regulations and standards.
- Supporting education and research on the health, safety, environmental effects and security of our products and processes.
- Communicating product, service and process risks to our stakeholders and listening to and considering their perspectives.
- Making continual progress towards our goal of no accidents, injuries or harm to human health and the environment and openly reporting our health, safety, environmental and security performance.
- Seeking continual improvement in our integrated Responsible Care Management System to address environmental, health, safety and security performance.
- Promoting Responsible Care by encouraging and assisting others to adhere to these Guiding Principles.
The American Chemistry Council has certified our commitment to the principles of Responsible Care, which has been demonstrated through third-party assessments of our corporate headquarters in Danbury, Connecticut, and more than 20 of our operating facilities that acknowledge we meet the rigorous Responsible Care requirements.
REACH & Legal Requirements
Praxair is committed to lowering product toxicity and the level of toxicity of products used in Praxair manufacturing processes, through elimination of known or suspected high-priority toxicants or substitution with safer chemicals as required by applicable regulations. We are working with the European Industrial Gas Association and others to develop new processes to communicate product risks, particularly for those chemicals applicable to the European Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) program. We plan to complete the registration of substances in accordance with the schedule provided by the legislation.
Through its product development efforts, Praxair searches for viable, safer alternatives to products that contain substances of very high concern that are currently being used by industry.
PST has established a target that by 2017, it should provide a sustainable alternative to cadmium plating. This is on track. Praxair is working to have this alternative in place not just in the EU, where it is required by the 2006 regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), but globally.
PST has established three targets in relation to eliminating hexavalent chrome containing slurries. These were prompted by requirements of REACH, but go beyond REACH in that they apply worldwide and will eliminate the toxic substances not just in Europe as required by REACH but everywhere.
- By 2021, offer 100 percent chrome free slurry product alternatives to the market.
- By 2024: No sales of coating slurries that contain hexavalent chrome for which chrome-free alternatives have been developed and qualified by OEMs.
- By 2029: No sales of coating slurries that contain hexavalent chrome.
Life Cycle Assessments
During product development, Praxair evaluates 100 percent of our products over their life cycle using the procedures described above under Managing Product Stewardship. Using ISO 14040, we have also conducted screening life cycle assessments (LCAs) of selected products to demonstrate the environmental benefits of certain applications. These LCAs guide decision making in our commercialization process.
Praxair makes claims for customer carbon efficiency of four applications (O2, H2, Kr, and Ar). Explore our Eco Portfolio section below and see how we’re helping our customers do more with less.
We're using our resources to develop innovative technologies that drive economic growth and social value — all while using fewer natural resources and less carbon. In doing so, we’re helping our customers increase their productivity and in many cases, solving environmental challenges.
Praxair’s Eco Portfolio measures the percent of revenue contributed by applications that bring environmental advantage. R&D has developed a methodology to determine and update which applications are covered. Major applications include: O2 in steel production and non-ferrous metals, Ar in welding and solar production, all PST components that extend product life, H2 for Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel and all water treatment.
Praxair established a target to earn at least 30 percent of revenue ($3 billion) from the Eco Portfolio by 2015. In 2014, the Praxair Eco Portfolio was 32 percent of revenue, or $3.9 billion.
Safety Data Sheets
Safety Data Sheets provide an overview and facilitate the safe management of gases, gas mixtures and other chemicals.