We have recently been working with a client who is finding that keeping their COSHH assessments up to date a very difficult task. The problem for them is that they struggle to understand the information provided on the Safety Data Sheets; as do most businesses we talk to.
Working with hazardous substances is all too often not properly understood; therefore the risks are not protected against. Often this is because the health problems from working with hazardous substances are developed over long periods (normally years); therefore they aren’t usually immediately apparent. This means that workers won’t understand why they need to take the care in handling them that they should.
We have experienced over the last 15 years that most employees don’t understand the risks; therefore simple health & safety measures are missing or not properly enforced. A well thought out COSHH assessment should consider a number of key questions such as:
- How substances are used;
- Where and by who they are used;
- The quantities and frequencies of contact;
- What are the potential routes of entry to the body (often not considered);
- What protective measures are in place;
- How these are used and maintained;
- What health surveillance is needed.
If these questions are properly considered in the COSHH assessments then you will go a long way to help ensure that both short term and longer term health is protected.
If your business is one of those struggling with COSHH then why not find out how your life could be made easier?