The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health or COSHH is a set of regulations introduced in 1988, to ensure any business, workplace, or organization using hazardous substances does so in a safe, secure, and controlled way.
As a business owner or employer, it is your legal duty to minimize any potential risks to the employees’ health while working with hazardous chemicals. Part of this duty involves undertaking a COSHH assessment if hazardous substances are likely to be present in the workplace.
This article will explain everything one needs to know to conduct risk assessments for COSHH and how to identify and assess the risk of dangerous chemicals within the work environment to prevent their staff.
How to do a COSHH Assessment?
Following are the steps of completing a COSHH risk assessment:
Identify the Hazard
The first step of the process involves identifying the hazard that any hazardous substance may pose to the employees’ health. Hazardous substances within the workplace involve chemicals or substances directly used at work or are produced due to work activities.
These substances include:
- Products that contain chemicals
- Dust or fumes
Therefore, it is an effective approach to examine, identify, and assess these substances to implement controls to prevent the staff from any health risks.
Evaluate Health Risks
When evaluating the health risks posed by hazardous chemicals, employers must consider the following things:
- The likelihood of the substance causing injury
- The likelihood of the exposure
- How often is the exposure likely to occur?
- Level & duration of the exposure
When examining these risks, employers must take a look at their daily work operations including routine cleaning, maintenance, and chemical spillages to check when and how these affect their staff.
Select Vital Control to Eliminate the Risk
The third step of the COSHH risk assessment process is to select the vital control measures to eradicate the risks from their work environment. Not all the risks are identified, eliminated, or minimized instantly, therefore, employers must need to prioritize what needs to be sorted first to mitigate the high-risk danger.
To decide what hazards, need instant attention, employers must consider:
- Which danger poses the most serious health risk
- The most instant risk
- How rapidly to implement the control measures?
These few points help prioritize the work to take action accordingly.
Record the Findings to Implement Control Measures
It is always a good practice to record your findings to outline any hazards, dangers, and precautionary measures to implement to eradicate the risks from work and ensure a safe workplace for all.
Monitor Performance & Review Your Assessment
Employers must regularly monitor their COSHH assessments to check that the control measures are still effective or if they need any updates to meet the requirements. This will help examine if the review process is sufficient or needs to be changed.
When is COSHH Assessment Required?
COSHH assessment is needed whenever an employee or any other member of the workplace use, produces or creates a substance or chemical that could cause harm to health. Employers have a legal duty under COSHH regulations to conduct regular risk assessments before they cause any harm to their workforce.
An effective risk assessment approach helps employers put in place control measures to prevent their staff from any contact with hazardous substances. Neglecting this duty can lead businesses and their employers to non-compliance which in turn can result in legal and financial claims.
Who is Responsible for COSHH Assessments?
Employers are not necessarily responsible for COSHH assessments; however, their duty is to ensure that an assessment of the risk from hazardous substances must be carried out. Employers have overall duty to maintain health and safety procedures to meet compliance.
They need to ensure that they have competent persons in their workplace who can conduct risk assessments competently and help them maintain safety compliance within their work environment or organization.
COSHH Risk Assessment Training
When it comes to fulfilling the legal requirements and meeting the law, employers must also make sure that their staff members are sufficiently trained to undertake the work competently. There are numerous ways employers can train and equip their staff. One of the effective ways is by providing COSHH risk assessment training to help them understand the law and work proficiently within the workplace or organization.
This blog post is an in-depth explanation of everything one needs to know about COSHH risk assessment, how to conduct effective risk assessments for hazardous substances, and who is responsible for undertaking such risk assessments within the workplace, business, or organization.
Those using hazardous chemicals as part of their daily work tasks need to be familiar with the effective ways to work safely with them so that the chances of low to severe risk injuries can be minimized and high standards of safety are implemented at work.