COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health and can help prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances. It stands of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. A COSHH assessment examines the hazards and risks that can arise from substances you may have in your workplace.
You can prevent or reduce employee’s exposure to hazardous substances by:
Exploring what the health hazards are;
Put a plan in place to prevent harm to health (risk assessment)
Putting control measures in place to reduce harm to health
Making sure all measures are adhered to and
Ensuring all control measures are in good working order
Ensuring information, instruction and training is given for employees and others
Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
Planning for emergencies.
Most organisations use substances or products that are a combination of substances. Some processes create substances. This could conceivably cause harm to employees, contractors and the general public.
Some substances are easily recognised as harmful. Household substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful to health.
It is an employer and legal requirement to protect the health of their employees.
An assessment should be carried out by someone who has sufficient training and experience and knowledge of chemical safety and should be completed in conjunction with information supplied by manufacturer in form of their SDS (Safety Data Sheets) or MSDS (Materiel Safety Data Sheets) taking into account procedures and protection already in place to handle materials. A Safety Data Sheet is a document that lists information on dangerous substances, cataloguing information on chemicals and chemical compounds. Other substances should have instructions for safe use.
An experienced safety assessor will visit the site and assess chemicals used and documentation and procedures in place and format a COSHH assessment to reflect the actual amount used and how it is handled and managed at the premises.