We are asked to review and undertake COSHH assessments for a range of businesses large and small. What we often find is they have assessments with one thing in common; they are not written with the end user in mind. Too often it’s about regurgitating information from a safety data sheet without proper consideration to the COSHH risks or if the employee will understand the assessment.
Sometimes businesses are tied to a corporate approach that has been designed to meet what is thought to be the legally compliant approach; yet it fundamentally fails because it does not make the risks and controls to be applied clear for anyone to understand.
Clearly what COSHH requires is to protect people that may come into contact with hazardous substances; this can only occur if they properly understand the risks. Unfortunately the majority of employers don’t understand the substances they are using so how can we expect their staff to. Safety labelling is a good starting point but unless people are properly trained in COSHH awareness then its unlikely the labelling will make them stop and ask before using the substance.
As a business you have to consider not only the properties of the substances but also how they are used and what are the potential risks. To do this it’s important to have a well thought out and well laid out assessment.
If you think you may need help we have assisted many of our clients to move to a user friendly approach that provides clear and easy to understand information using a colour coded safety approach. This can be applied to most businesses and is week received by employees which is vitally important to keep them safe and healthy.