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Hitting the Spot With CoSHH

Hitting The Spot With CoSHH

CoSHHRecently I came across an article in the latest issue of ‘Health and safety at work’ written by Mike Slater. the article really did ‘hit the spot’ providing information about common misconceptions regarding CoSHH assessments. I have taken slices from this article and highlighted the points that I felt were most important.

For those who may be unaware CoSHH is the control of substances hazardous to health, and plays a part in some form in every work industry, from dangerous chemicals in science labs to cleaning products in restaurant kitchens. CoSHH has resulted in 1000’s of deaths over the years, Asbestos as many of you will have heard of is one of the biggest factors in this.

It is the employers responsibility to ensure that staff are protected from substances that may be hazardous to health, putting management systems in place to ensure that when dangerous substances are being worked with, they are done so carefully and safely. CoSHH is not concerned with the hazardous substances themselves, but rather the risk to workers exposed to them.

An effective CoSHH assessment will recognise the hazards, evaluate the risk level and consider appropriate measures to prevent injury. Sounds simple? But all to often managers are being left with extraordinary amounts of paperwork and CoSHH check-lists tackling every substance separately. If the manager is faced with this, they have no clear route to achieving compliance or good safety practice.

“The worst reports have tick boxes to show what’s been done but no detail about what needs to be done and why, by whom and by when”

To many CoSHH assessors are leaving business owners with a list of risks, with no clear indication of how they can be prevented – why they need to prevented and who by. This often puts managers off tackling CoSHH effectively, the mind set being. ‘My CoSHH assessment is done, if anything goes wrong it’s their fault’  FALSE, it is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that the safety measures are not only recognised but put into place. Which is why some CoSHH assessors need to do more for business’

A good CoSHH assessment will advise you whether your controls are working and, if not, what you need instead. A good assessor will will advise you on the standard types of risk prevention equipment needed and explain where a lack of control might also lead to a need for training or health surveillance.