COSHH stands for The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. It is a legal requirement that you have this legislation in place at all times. This is the law that requires all employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. But why is COSHH important?
COSHH is put in place by the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the safety of all staff members and others. More and more businesses are using substances, products or mixtures that could cause harm to employees and other people.
This is why it is important to abide by the COSHH regulations and follow them correctly. Throughout this blog, we will be exploring why COSHH is important in the workplace and much more.
What is a COSHH Assessment?
A COSHH assessment focuses on any potential risks from hazardous substances within the workplace. An employer's legal duty is to reduce any potential risks to your workers health and safety.
For example, if you work on a construction site, there can be a number of harmful substances that you deal with on a daily basis. Whether this may be cement, lead, solvents, dust or carbon monoxide, it is important to be aware of these so you are able to prevent any incidents from occurring.
You mainly find lead in older, abandoned buildings. If you were to inhale lead dust, then this can lead to serious health problems. Carbon monoxide is another hazard you need to look out for in construction as it is a silent but deadly type of gas. For more information on the risks associated with working on a construction site, click here!
There are five steps involved in a COSHH assessment such as:
- Collecting information on substances you use
- Evaluate the health risks
- Select the appropriate control measures to reduce or eliminate risks
- Record what you find and put your control measures into place
- Monitor performance and review your assessment
To identify hazardous substances, you should walk around your workplace and keep an eye out for any potential hazards or risks.
Choose a Competent Person
It is important that before you start your COSHH assessment, you identify who the competent person is. This is someone that will carry out the assessment.
Whether this person is yourself, an employee or someone from outside of your work, it is important that this is established before starting the COSHH assessment.
A competent person is someone who has the correct amount of ability knowledge and skills that allow them to prevent and recognise hazards before they happen.
A competent person needs to have the correct experience in your area of work in order to put suitable controls in place to protect people from harm.
Why Is a COSHH Assessment Important?
COSHH assessments are important as they are put into place to ensure the safety of others. They are used as a tool to help employers identify certain hazards and risks within the workplace. The majority of companies use hazardous substances on a day-to-day basis, which is why it is important that you follow the COSHH regulations correctly.
By following COSHH regulations, you will be able to identify what substances are hazardous as well as allowing you to understand why this is. This improves your overall workplace safety as you are preventing incidents from happening.
Mercury is an example of a hazardous substance that is most commonly found in dental practices, therefore the COSHH guidelines have to be followed. But how do you protect yourself against hazardous substances?
The answer is to simply wear the correct PPE. For example, when dealing with mercury you must wear a mask, visor, gloves and an apron. The same goes for the handling of other hazardous substances such as carbon monoxide.
It is important to wear protective clothing, footwear, gloves, respirators and eye protection to ensure you are safe and protected at all times.
How Beaconrisk Can Help
Here at Beaconrisk, we offer a wide range of health and safety, accreditation support and e-learning services available to help protect your business, workplace and reputation.
We can speak with you to determine which accreditation is best suited for you - whether it be CHAS, SafeContractor, Constructionline or any other accreditation. See the list of accreditations we can help you acquire here.
We also offer health and safety courses that cover COSHH legislation and everything you need to know about the control of substances hazardous to health.