All employers have a legal obligation to reduce any potential risks to their employee’s health. It is down to you to ensure that a workplace is fit for purpose, meets requirements, and above all else keeps your employees safe and well.
This involves everything from ensuring that health and safety standards are met, to keeping up-to-date on all of your training. Of course, you know this already, but are you aware that you may have to be carrying out COSHH assessments in your workplace?
If there is any risk that hazardous substances could be present in your workplace, you will be required to carry out a COSHH assessment. Here, we will take a look in closer detail at what COSHH training is and why you need it:
What is a COSHH Assessment?
COSHH stands for the ‘Control of Substances and Hazardous to Health’ and is a set of legal legislation put in place to protect workers who work with specific hazardous substances and materials.
Employers are required to carry out COSHH assessments, and breach of COSHH regulations is a crime, punishable be an unlimited fine.
COSHH Assessments focus on the hazards and risks in the workplace from hazardous substances. Whereas traditional assessments may only focus on items labelled as a hazard, the COSHH assessment will look at the workplace as a whole, for a more in-depth and thorough report, that then allows you to put appropriate measures in place.
These regulations have been in place since the introduction of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Work regulations in 1999 and were most recently updated in 2002.
What does COSHH cover?
It’s important to understand what ‘substances’ are covered by COSHH training to know whether it is something you will be required to undertake.
Under COSHH regulations, ‘substances’ refers to any hazardous material including – but not limited to – liquids, solids, fumes and vapours, dust, fibres, gases, and biological agents such as bacteria and viruses.
It’s also important to understand what is classified as ‘hazardous’. This refers to any damage to the lungs, skin, internal organs, or central nervous system, as well as any potential risk of injury due to combustion or explosion.
Do I need COSHH training?
It is easy to look at the aforementioned substances and hazards and think of workplaces that are obviously at risk – such as quarries, mines, and factories – but there are many more less obvious such as cleaners, construction and automotive.
If your employees are at risk of coming into contact with a hazardous substance whilst at work, you will need to be carrying out COSHH assessments. It is a legal requirement for workplaces to provide information, training and equipment to mitigate risk and injury, and employees must follow protocols.
By following COSHH regulations, companies can not only protect their employees, mitigate risk and avoid fines, but also reduce downtime due to illness or injury.