There are many reasons why we require COSHH Assessments within our workplace, take a look below at what we think the main reasons are.
- COSHH assessments help to keep everyone safe
COSHH Assessments are designed to concentrate on the potential hazards and risks from the substances in our workplace. This isn’t just limited to hazardous substances we have in our workplace, it could be classed as hazardous due to the process you use such as silica dust from tile cutting.
- If we had an issue with our COSHH, we could look back to our COSHH Assessments
With a COSHH Assessment, we have several different areas of the assessment. These consist of the following:
- COSHH Risk Assessment
- Prevent or Control Exposure
- Maintenance of control measures
- Monitor exposure
- Health surveillance
- Plans & Procedures for accidents and emergencies
- Training for employees
- COSHH can tell you about the dangers of the substance
When your business purchases a substance that could be hazardous to health such as bleach, you are supplied with a document called a safety data sheet. This document has lots of information relating to the substance which include the following:
- Identification of substance
- Any substances it shouldn’t be used in conjunction with
- Contact details for supplier
- Classification of substance
- Label elements (Warning signs, signal word and any hazard statements)
- Precautionary statements
- Any other hazards
- Mixtures such as dilution etc.
- First Aid measures
- Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed.
- Handling & storage
- PPE required when in use
- Physical and chemical properties
- Any other information that may be required.
All in all, the safety data sheets provide us with a lot of information about the hazardous substances we are using. Next time you buy a cleaning product such as bleach, look at the information on the back of the bottle!
- COSHH Assessments can help prevent you and others getting injured
One of the main areas of a COSHH Assessment is how we can prevent employee’s coming into direct contact with substances. Therefore, it is vital that we are reading our safety data sheets so that we are aware of what injuries could occur. The main reason we have COSHH related injuries is due to employee’s not using the correct procedure or wearing the correct PPE when using substances.
Lets take wood dust for example, wood is not a hazardous material but when it’s being cut or sanded it can be dangerous to our health. The way we ensure that we minimise our exposure to this dust is by using appropriate dust extraction to the tools we are using. As well as dust extraction we must also be wearing RPE, for example FFP3 masks are required for most sanding and cutting operations. Particularly in enclosed spaces.
- It provides us with all the information we need relating to each COSHH substance in our workplace
With our COSHH Assessments, it provides us with all the relevant information required for any substances in use. It even goes into the details such as the types of injuries that could happen and how we can prevent them from happening. Also gives us information about what first aid is required if something does happen, for example getting a substance in your eye.
- COSHH can make staff safer in the business
With our COSHH Assessments, this ensures all our employees are using substances safely. This therefore means that all those using substances should be inducted in how to use them safely, as well as understanding the dangers of that substance and what effects they can have on you if you don’t follow the guidance laid out in both the safety data sheet and COSHH Assessment.
- It tells you all you need to know
By having a COSHH assessment in place this can help you to know about the substance and let you know about other things like what may be in the substance, if the substance is hazardous, the measures you need to take if you’re in need to use first aid etc. By knowing this information, this can help you by knowing how to deal with different situations to handle different outcomes.
- It gives you an overall perspective of why the chemical is harmful and what damage it can cause
By having a COSHH assessment in place, this helps to give you an overall perspective of the chemical that is being used and what damage it can do. An example of this is if you are using bleach, you need to be wearing eye protection, protective rubber gloves and appropriate clothing such as a protective apron to protect your clothes.
- COSHH can tell you what the substance can be a threat too
Another reason why you should use a COSHH assessment for your substance is because when looking through a COSHH assessment it tells you what is dangerous within the substance and what can be a threat. The key part of a COSHH assessment you need to look at, is where the hazard identification is. This will tell you everything you may need to look out for within the substance as there could be some sort of toxic chemicals within the substance.
- COSHH is the safest way to handle a dangerous product
The main reason behind the COSHH assessment for your substances is because COSHH assessments tell you the safest way to handle a hazardous substance within the workplace. When using substances you need to look out for the key information about what is dangerous about the product as this could be things like the stability and reactivity or the toxicological information as this will let you know about the product and will give you an idea on how to handle a substance the safest possible way.
Did you know that as a Retained Health & Safety Client, you get access to online management software called Safe Shield where you can create all your documents such as Risk Assessments, Method Statements, COSHH Assessments and much more!