COSHH regulations and why you need to know them
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1. What does COSHH stand for?
Firstly it’s important to understand what the abbreviated term COSHH means.
COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.
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2. What is COSHH?
COSHH is the regulation for all organisations to maintain high standards in controlling substances hazardous to health. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health law came into force in 2002 setting the standard for employers to protect employees and any other person affected by hazardous substances within their working environment.
This regulation identifies the substances that are hazardous to Heath as existing in a variety of forms all of which should be accounted for during risk assessments:
• Biological agents
• Asphyxiating gases
3. COSHH Regulations
The regulations set out in 2002 require organisations to undertake a number of tasks to ensure their compliance. Organisations are required to review the potential risks and dangers from chemicals and develop a control to maintain safety. They are required to implement these safety procedures to all staff across the organisation and to ensure awareness of these controls.
By setting controls in place, regular reviews should be conducted to ensure they are working as they should, train staff on COSHH and the controls put in place and inform works on the potential risks caused by dangerous chemicals within the workplace.
Setting procedures in place significantly reduces the risks of compensation claims to employers and increases the comfort for workers where there is potential high exposure to hazardous chemicals.
4. COSHH Assessment
Regulation 6 of the COSHH requirements states that employers should carry out the necessary risk assessments to ensure workers are not exposed to hazardous substances. When reviewing the risk assessment, implementation of the agreed measures must be carried out before any work can commence. If work is carried out without compliance with the regulations, the organisation could be liable to compensation claims from any affected employee.
Risk assessments can be completed by following a number of steps:
1. Understand the substances that can arise from work carried out in your trade/industry. Review safety data sheets and trade papers where necessary.
2. Identify all possible areas that could lead to exposure to hazardous substances for employees. This needs to be completed throughout the whole premises. Look for all substances highlighted in the list above.
3. Highlight all work that produces hazardous substances and review the controls in place.
4. Read through your incident reports to identify any potential areas that you have missed and that could be caused by hazardous substances.
For further information on assessments, see the government issued guide to COSHH assessments.
5. COSHH Training
Once you have reviewed the risks within your workplace, it is essential that all staff are aware of the regulations and are fully trained at using the correct procedures in circumstances where there is a risk of exposure to hazardous substances.
A COSHH training course will significantly reduce the potential risk for employers and help restore safety within your workplace. A training course will help staff:
• Identify hazardous substances thus increasing the monitoring of risks
• Understand the risks involved with all hazardous substances
• Learn the different exposure limits within a workplace
• Improve best practice when working with hazardous substances and increase controls to manage risks
Thanks for taking the time in reading our COSHH post. We hope you have learnt some valuable and potentially life-saving information here. You may also be interested in reading our Electricity at Work Regulations and Gas Safety post which aims to identify further risks within the workplace.
Here at Instant Energy, we go a great way to helping customers save money on their energy bills too so please take the time to review our top money saving blog post.
Thank you again, James.