Safety is a crucial element in any workplace, and it's vital to ensure it's a top priority. As an employer, it's your responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for your employees. COSHH is stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. So, what exactly does COSHH mean, and what is its purpose? In this article, we'll explore the importance of COSHH and how it helps keep your workplace safe for you and your employees.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH) is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health and includes nanomaterials. Examples of hazardous substances include asbestos, chemicals, fumes, dust, and biological agents such as viruses and bacteria. The regulations relate to any substance that could cause harm - whether it’s in liquid form, a solid or a gas.
Employers are required to assess the risks posed by these substances and implement measures to prevent or control exposure. Mintra offers a COSSH Awareness online training course aimed at individuals working in the UK oil and gas industry who are required to carry out work with or near chemicals and hazardous substances.
Every employer has a legal responsibility under COSHH to protect their employees from the hazards posed by substances in the workplace. To meet this requirement, an employer must carry out a risk assessment, addressing all hazardous substances in the workplace. The assessment should identify who could be harmed, how likely it is, any control measures needed, and how to prevent exposure. Employers must provide information, training, and protective equipment to their employees while also implementing the necessary control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure.
Importance of COSHH regulations
The COSHH regulations are the most critical legislation that exists in the area of workplace health and safety. Organizations which choose to ignore these regulations face severe penalties, including prosecution and hefty fines. Adhering to the regulations can help control and prevent illness, injury, and even fatalities in the workplace. Having the right procedures, equipment, and control measures can minimize the risk of accidents and ensure you comply with the regulations, making your employees feel more confident and valued.
Implementing COSHH regulations
To ensure efficient compliance, organizations must provide employees with adequate training, information, and supervision to manage hazardous substances along with appropriate protective gear. Conducting regular safety audits helps your organization to identify and meet the necessary requirements of COSHH regulations. It's essential to ensure labelling on hazardous substances are accurate, well-designed, and visible for safety and awareness. Monitoring, reviewing, and updating your Protection & Prevention programs and procedures frequently is critical in maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.
Learn more about our COSSH Awareness online training course.
Reporting hazardous substances
If you identify any hazardous substance that may have been inadequately controlled at your workplace, ensure you report that risk to your employer/supervisor immediately. This point of reporting and having an open dialogue with your employer can help identify, assess and control significant risks that are critical in controlling or preventing injury and illness.
COSHH plays a vital role in ensuring that employers implement the necessary measures to keep their workspaces free from health hazards. By understanding the importance of hazardous substance management and implementing measures to prioritize safety, employers can avoid fines, minimize the negative impact of workplace accidents, and improve employee morale. The regulations can help prevent life-threatening situations in the workplace, ensuring the well-being and long-term professional success of both employees and employers. Ultimately, adhering to the COSHH regulations keeps everyone safe and ensures a safer working environment.
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