COSHH

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What is COSHH? 

COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • making sure they are used ;
  • keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
  • planning for emergencies.

Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.

COSHH assessment: Identifying hazard and assessing risk

You are probably already aware of many risks in your trade or industry. A COSHH assessment concentrates on the hazards and risks from substances in your workplace.

Remember that hazards and risks are not limited to substances labelled as ‘hazardous’.

Steps to making a COSHH assessment:

  • Walk around your workplace. Where is there potential for exposure to substances that might be hazardous to health?
    Examples include processes that emit dust, fume, vapour, mist or gas; and skin contact with liquids, pastes and dusts. Substances with workplace exposure limits (WELs) are hazardous to health.
  • In what way are the substances harmful to health?
    Get safety data sheets, and read your trade magazines. Some substances arise from processes and have no safety data sheet. Examples include fume from welding or soldering, mist from metalworking, dust from quarrying, gases from silage. Look at the HSE web pages for your trade or industry – Your Industry.
  • What jobs or tasks lead to exposure?
    Note these down. Note down what control measures you already use. For these jobs, how likely is any harm to workers’ health?
  • Are there any areas of concern, eg from the Accident Book?
    Examples include burns from splashes, nausea or lightheadedness from solvents, etc

HSE has provided specific guidance on COSHH assessment called A step by step guide to COSHH assessment. You can apply this to substances hazardous to health. More detailed guidance is in the free booklet on working with substances hazardous to health. Working with substances hazardous to health: What you need to know about COSHH. INDG136

Safety data sheets provide information on substances that are ‘dangerous for supply’. Other substances should have instructions for safe use.

By law, your supplier must give you an up to date safety data sheet for a substance that is ‘dangerous for supply’. Safety Data Sheets are often hard to understand, though this explanation might help.

A Guide to COSHH

What is COSHH?

COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. These Regulations require employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health

What are the main points of COSHH?
What is COSHH?
  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • making sure they are used ;
  • keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
Is COSHH a law?

What is COSHH? 

COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • making sure they are used ;
  • keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
  • planning for emergencies.

Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.

Why choose GR Safety Solutions for your COSHH Needs?

  • Our professional health & safety consultants are available 24/7 to advise and support you on any health & safety issues.
  • We’re highly qualified to carry out your risk assessments for you
  • We can act as your competent person
  • We create health & safety policies, procedures and management systems bespoke to your business
  • We can help you achieve and promote a positive health & safety culture
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COSHH

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