We are finding many businesses fail to keep their COSHH information up to date and because of this, are failing to control the risks to their business. A key starting point is to look at when you last checked that your COSHH safety data sheets are up to date.
As a rule of thumb we suggest to our clients, they need to be managing their SDS to ensure they are no more than 3 years old. Failure to do this means they are not keeping up to date with the latest information available on the risks from the chemicals in use. This is particularly important since most SDS have been changed recently in compliance with the Reach Directive.
What we have seen is that in complying with Reach many of the SDS have changed and more additional risks have been identified than were previously declared. Clearly, if you don’t have these then your COSHH assessments are not going to properly address the risks your business may face.
Only this year a client received a visit from the HSE and this issue was raised on a small number of chemicals they were using. What might have seemed to have been a small failure was enough for the HSE to identify a reason to raise a charge under the Fee for Intervention regulations. To close this out we have assisted to update the assessments and ensure that all necessary safety control measures are in place to keep the workforce safe and healthy.
This has clearly reminded the business of the importance of keeping all information current. Perhaps you should use this as a warning to check your COSHH assessments before the HSE come to site.