What is a COSHH assessment?
A COSHH assessment is the process of identifying substances that are hazardous to your employees. It is a legal obligation for all employers to ensure the health and safety of their staff is protected at all times. The assessment should identify potential problems and the precautions you have implemented, or plan to implement, to ensure that everyone remains as safe as possible.
COSHH assessments are more thorough than traditional assessments and should look at your entire workplace. To save time, you can purchase a COSHH risk assessment template to ensure you cover all of the essential information and can implement any relevant processes swiftly.
What is the purpose of carrying out a COSHH assessment?
The process of carrying out a COSHH assessment involves:
- Identifying health hazards within the workplace
- Ascertaining who might be exposed to these hazards and how
- Outlining control measures to prevent exposure to these hazards
Do I need a COSHH risk assessment?
You will need to carry out a COSHH risk assessment if your company uses, or has access to, substances such as chemicals, dusts, fumes and mists, biological agents or germs that could cause disease.
You should revisit your risk assessment regularly depending on the type of work and the likelihood of changes occurring that impacts the safety of the workplace.
There are occasions when an assessment should be revisited immediately. These include:
- If you have reason to believe that the original assessment is invalid
- If your employees exposure to hazardous substances changes significantly
- If the recommended time that the assessment is valid has passed
What needs to be included in a COSHH assessment?
The required information for this type of assessment differs depending on the industry you are working in. The HSE has a variety of risk assessment examples to help you better understand what may need to be included in your assessment. However, it is important to remember that these are just examples. Risks and preventative methods vary from company to company so you won’t be able to duplicate any of these to use as your own COSHH risk assessment. They exist purely as a guide to showcase what your risk assessment could look like and what you may legally be required to include.
Assistance with your COSHH risk assessment
If you are new to COSHH or are unsure what should be included or how an assessment should be carried out, we offer a COSHH Assessment Template that has been prepared by experts in health and safety. When you purchase this template, you will also have access to complimentary telephone and email support for assistance completing your assessment.
Alternatively, you could have your assessment prepared on your behalf by a professional safety consultant. The consultant will write your assessment based on your company’s Material Safety Data Sheet and other information specific to your company.