The COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations are an important piece of health and safety legislation that cover a lot of chemicals within various industries.
Having a good understanding of the regulations will not only keep you compliant but also help protect employees when they are working.
In this month’s COSHH instalment, we take a look at 3 key areas to look at when it comes to COSHH management with help from EcoOnline’s informative eBook on the Ultimate Guide to COSHH Management.
1. Routes of exposure
The first key area to look at when it comes to COSHH is the route of exposure. This covers ways in which individuals can become exposed to COSHH hazards. The 4 main routes of exposure are inhalation, ingestion, absorption through the skin and eyes, and injection.
This route of exposure is most commonly breached when workers breathe in contaminated air which can come in the form of vapour, dust, or mists.
Whilst ingestion is generally thought of as unlikely chemicals can become ingested if food or hands become contaminated. This can lead to absorption in the blood which then spreads to the rest of the body.
Absorption can occur through the skin or eye contact. If the skin is broken or cut this can enable the chemicals to enter the body more easily. Some of the common symptoms of some chemical absorption include rashes and skin irritations.
When sharp objects puncture the skin, this can lead to the injection of chemicals that have the potential to cause damage. Safe handling practices should be followed to minimise the chances of this happening.
2. Chemical hazards
The Chemical Classification System helps health and safety professionals determine which chemicals are dangerous and which are not. 2015 saw the changing of the classification system from CLP/CHIP to the new CLP Regulations. These are now part of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification.
The hazards are broken into three main categories: health, physical and environment. Health focuses on hazards that pose a danger to workers personal health. The physical classification covers the hazards that pose a physical danger in the workplace, such as an explosion or fire. Finally, the environment classification identifies a hazard that poses dangers to the environment.
3. Proper COSHH management
So, the COSHH regulations are in place to help safety managers keep workers safe, but how do you protect your staff against possible dangers?
You should create a bespoke Chemical Safety (COSHH) Policy for your organisation. Ensure everyone in your organisations know what your policy is to help spread better education and awareness.
Following this, you should build a chemical inventory so that you have an accurate record of the chemicals you work with. After this ensure you have the correct safety data sheets (SDS) and know how to conduct the appropriate COSHH assessments.
More information on the steps to be taken can be found in the Ultimate Guide to COSHH Management from EcoOnline.
The Ultimate Guide to COSHH Management from EcoOnline
There is a fair amount to cover when it comes to the COSHH Regulations, more than can be expected from an article. With that in mind, this month we highlight one of EcoOnline’s most useful eBooks.
The Ultimate Guide to COSHH Management walks safety managers through the steps needed to not only comply with COSHH but also keep their people safe.