When it comes to safely handling hazardous substances, risk assessments are key. Did you know they are a legal requirement?
It is surprising how many materials or substances used or created at work could damage your health. They could be dusts, gases, liquids, gels or powders that you come into contact with.
Harmful substances can be present in anything from paints and cleaning products to flour dust, welding fume and biological agents.
What Are The Hazards?
Some substances can cause asthma or other diseases, including cancer. Many can damage the skin and some can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs.
The effect can be immediate, such as dizziness or stinging eyes, or can take many years to develop, such as lung disease. Many of the long-term or chronic effects are not reversible.
What Do I Have To Do As An Employer?
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) requires you to adequately control exposure to materials that cause ill health by:
- identifying which harmful substances may be present in the workplace
- deciding how workers might be exposed to them and be harmed
- looking at what measures you have in place to prevent this harm and deciding whether you are doing enough
- providing information, instruction and training
- in appropriate cases, providing health surveillance.
The above actions can be systematically worked through by completing a COSHH Risk Assessment.
If you would like any help with ensuring your workforce are not at risk and you comply with the COSHH Regulations, get in touch.
Sarah Mellor CMIOSH MIIRSM
Salopian Health & Safety Limited
T: 01630 657084