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Your obligations explained.

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), employers must prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to all types of hazardous substances such as chemicals, fumes and dusts that are used or produced in the workplace.

Hazardous substances are present in nearly all types of workplaces and their effects can range from minor skin irritations through to chronic lung disease and even death.

COSHH requires employers to assess the risks of the substances they use and then take action to prevent or control the exposure. Any control measures, as well as future exposure levels, need to be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Plans should be introduced to deal with any accidents or incidents and employees should be fully aware of the procedures and receive relevant training where necessary. In some cases, it may also be necessary to carry out regular health surveillance for employees exposed to substances linked to diseases or other health conditions.

A huge range of substances fall under the COSHH legislation from cleaning products to chemicals, paints and pesticides. Many hazardous substances will include warnings on the product’s label and most good suppliers will be able to provide advice about potential risks.

Most commercial chemicals will include warning labels and safety data sheets if COSHH applies to them and it is important to bear in mind that fumes and dusts produced during work activities may come under the legislation.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) – Key Points.

What Is CoSHH?

CoSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health.

The COSHH Regulations define good control practice as follows:

  • Take into account all relevant routes of exposure –inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion – when developing control measures.
  • Choose the most effective and reliable control optionswhich minimise the escape and spread of substanceshazardous to health. This includes using appropriatemethods of movement and storage.
  • Where adequate control of exposure cannot be achievedby other means, provide, in combination with other controlmeasures, suitable personal protective equipment.
  • Check and review regularly all elements ofcontrol measures for their continuing effectiveness.
  • Inform and train all employees on the hazards and risksfrom the substances they work with and the use ofcontrol measures developed to minimise the risks.

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