Depending on your industry, you might have heard about the term COSHH used in the reference to safety and health procedures. If you have been left wondering what COSHH stands for or what these regulations mean for you or your business, this blog is a detailed explanation of what does COSHH mean? What does it cover? And what are the benefits of a COSHH register?
What Does COSHH Mean?
COSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health is a set of regulations put in place to prevent employees from ill health or injuries while working with harmful substances or materials.
COSHH regulations were introduced to control the exposure to hazardous substances by employees within a business, workplace, or organization. Not complying with the law can lead employers and employees to legal, moral, and financial claims.
A COSHH assessment concentrates on the hazards and risks of substances in the workplace and helps employers understand:
- Is there any potential risk of a hazardous substance to the employees?
- Which tasks can lead to potential exposure?
- Are there any areas of concern?
What Does COSHH Cover?
The hazardous substances in COSHH include materials harmful to health involving any kind of liquids, solids, fumes, or dust vapors that might produce harm to the skin, lungs, mouth, or internal organs.
Nearly a million people work in environments that bring them into proximity to hazardous substances every year. Exposure to these harmful materials may lead to fatal diseases.
It’s only imperative to consider these people’s safety because their work improves the lives of ordinary people all over the world. Therefore, workplaces and their employers must provide their staff with adequate training or information on COSHH regulations, the substances they cover, and how to work safely when such materials are involved in the work operations.
To comply with the COSHH regulations and procedures both employers and employees are held accountable. And so, both have dedicated responsibilities.
Employers have several key duties regarding the COSHH law. These includes:
Employers must prevent their employees from exposure to harmful substances. This involves the provision of adequate PPE and guidance. Training sessions and certifications must be conducted regularly to ensure that any updates to standards will be rightfully disseminated.
Information is power in this industry, and a lack of appropriate information can lead to danger.
- Control Measures
Implement control measures around hazardous substances and ensure that they are maintained. Many organizations have strict policies in place where employees who are found to be negligent can be sanctioned.
In this industry, strict measures are necessary because lapses can be detrimental.
- Risk Assessment
Undertake a COSHH risk assessment to identify, control, and manage the risks posed by hazardous substances
Check and supervise their staff to ensure that they are carrying out the task safely. Managers and leaders must model appropriate behavior for their subordinates and show them how things should be done. This ensures that upper management values the safety of their team and is knowledgeable about the measures that need to be followed.
Alongside employers, employee’s responsibilities involve:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Employees must ensure that they are using the right personal protective equipment including the eye, nose, and mouth, and store them correctly when not in use. This is extremely important since one's life is on the line if standards are not met. Especially for those who work in the highly dangerous sector of law enforcement. A fully functional, high-quality PPE like a tactical gas mask can protect you.
PPE at Mira Safety is designed for professionals working in law enforcement and highly-threatening industrial chemical sectors. Their tactical and military gas masks offer a high level of resistance to chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals that could seriously affect one’s health.
Identify and report all accidents, incidents, spillages, and exposure to any substance to control the problem
Use cleaning and shower facilities provided by employers to minimize the health risks
What Is A COSHH Register?
A COSHH register is a record of hazardous substances that employers identify. It includes information like:
- The supplier/manufacturer
- Where the substances are located or stored
- Information on hazardous substances
- COSHH risk assessment reference/location
- Date/time the substances were last assessed
Identifying, controlling, and keeping a list of all the hazardous materials used within the workplace or organization in a COSHH register can help employers create an effective and efficient COSHH system. This register is easy to maintain, update, and can be accessed easily in case of any information that’s required related to COSHH.
What Are The Benefits Of A COSHH Register?
A COSHH register is not a legal requirement but COSHH regulations are. The purpose of the COSHH register is to make the process effective to keep track of compliance within the workplace.
So, some of the major benefits of a COSHH register are:
- Gives an overview of the hazardous substances used within the workplace or organization
- Helps keep track of when the substances were last assessed
- Helps keep a record of where the substances are stored to keep them safe
- Documents the COSHH risk assessment for the harmful substances
Controlling exposure, the harmful substances is an important aspect of health and safety management within most workplaces, organizations, and businesses. Whether these substances are high-risk or low-risk materials, complying with the law to meet the legal requirements and protecting the staff is the legal duty of employers.
The best way employers can identify, control and manage these health risks for their employees is by conducting regular risk assessments which will determine the nature of the problem and the severity of the work.
Without a COSHH register, it is difficult to know what substances are in use and what risk assessment procedures need renewal to implement health and safety within the workplace.
A COSHH register help quickly scans through the process and documentation to take action accordingly.
Training For Employees
Employers can also train and equip their staff by providing them with sufficient COSHH training that explains to them the COSHH principles, procedures, legal requirements, and safe working practices.
Integrating safe working practices within a workplace or organization is a legal duty of both employers and employees, and is impossible without the effort of either one of them. Therefore, to ensure a safe work environment for all, everyone needs to work collectively to encourage a positive workplace for all.
This blog is a detailed explanation of COSHH regulations, what it covers, and how it helps prevent employees from dangerous chemicals and substances fatal to the health and safety of individuals working within an organization.
To keep track of all the substances and maintain proper working order, a COSHH register can help employers maintain compliance within the industry by preventing their staff from health risks.