What Is COSHH?
The use of toxic, flammable and potentially hazardous chemicals and substances carry a wide variety of risk. Not only can they bring potential threat to the property in which they’re kept (i.e. fire hazard), they also bring risk to the user. For instance, the user may touch the liquid by mistake and burn themselves, or perhaps put their hands to their mouth after contact with a toxic substance, causing themselves to be poisoned.
COSHH, which stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health helps to alleviate such unwarranted health implications. Particularly as, for both employers and workers who deal with potentially threatening chemicals day in, day out, you’d be surprised at how lightly the matter of toxic and hazardous substances can be taken.
In fact, thousands of employees become ill as a result of hazardous substances, whether it be a lung condition such as Asthma or an occupational skin diesease such as Dermatitis. The Work-related skin disease in Great Britain 2017 report published by the Health and Safety Executive state there are an estimated 6000 annual new cases of self-reported work-related skin problems, a decrease on previous years, but still a relatively high figure, particularly given that the main cause of such work-related skin disease is caused by exposure to allergens or irritants.
Why Is COSHH So Important?
Well, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health are a collective of helpful guidelines set by the government. As an employer of anyone who could come into contact with hazardous substances of any kind, you’re required by law to perform certain duties designed to reduce the potential risk to your employees’ health.
Originally introduced in 1988, the COSHH Regulations 2002 grew from this earlier piece of legislation which was designed to place more focus on the dangers associated with hazardous substances and the measures employers should be taking to reduce risk.
COSHH has played an important part in improving safety standards, raising awareness of the risks and giving employers an incentive to ensure that their workplace is as safe as possible.
How to Comply with COSHH Regulations
To comply with COSHH regulations you need to follow these eight steps:
Step 1: Find out what the health hazards are
Step 2: Decide how to prevent harm to health (carrying out a COSHH risk assessment)
Step 3: Provide control measures to reduce harm to health
Step 4: Make sure the control measures are used
Step 5: Keep all control measures in good working order
Step 6: Provide information, instruction and training for employees and others
Step 7: Provide monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
Step 8: Plan for emergencies
What Are the Consequences of Poor COSHH?
When you consider that an online COSHH training course can cost as little as £15, there’s really no excuse for employers to not train their staff. Particularly as such training can cover all the need-to-know details to ensure workers at any level, in any sector know how to work safely with substances that are hazardous to health. Such training can ensure participants understand the risks associated with substances and equally, the precautions to take to ensure safety.
But for those who don’t comply with the COSHH Regulations, what are the dangers? Well, if businesses fail to adequately control hazardous substances, employees or others may well become ill. Effects from hazardous substances can range from anything between mild eye irritation to chronic lung disease, or worst-case scenario, loss of life. Such conditions could result in lost productivity to a business, not to mention the possibility for prosecution under the COSHH Regulations.
AH Support Services
At AH Support Services, we understand that there’s a number of health and safety regulations to consider, as cleaning often involves working with potentially harmful chemicals. That’s why we take the safety of our staff and others very seriously. We ensure COSHH regulations are adhered to at all times while our staff undertake regular health and safety training. Contact us today for more information.