COSHH Health and Safety: Over-Filling Containers
There are many risks to health and safety posed by hazardous substances. These COSHH dangers as they are also known, in reference to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations, will vary tremendously from industry to industry, and even different workplaces within the same industry, as the danger to health will depend greatly upon factors such as:
- The exact type of substance which workers are exposed to, as some are more dangerous than others
- The length of time for which exposure takes place, both short-term and long-term
- The safety measures and controls which are in place to prevent harm from occurring
- The level of knowledge that workers have from health and safety training and experience acquired
As mentioned in the last bullet point above, being suitably trained will go a long way in enabling workers to avoid coming to harm as a result of exposure to hazardous substances. Attending COSHH training and other health and safety courses, particularly at the beginning of their career in working in such an environment, will provide workers with the necessary knowledge required to avoid putting themselves or others in danger from hazardous substances
Storage of Hazardous Substances
It is not only the handling or usage of hazardous substances which poses a danger. Another likely cause of danger comes in the form of how the substances themselves are stored on the premises when they are not being used.
One of the most prevalent COSHH dangers associated with storage involves storing two or more substances in close proximity which can be highly dangerous and volatile when combined together. This can happen any time, such as being placed too near to each other or one falling off a top shelf onto the other below, but also often occurs when there is an emergency such as a fire, or a natural disaster such as a flood. Suitable precautions need to be taken to prevent this from happening and making an emergency situation worse, not to mention a comprehensive action plan to deal quickly and efficiently with any emergency which unfolds to lessen the negative impact on both people's health and that of the environment.
The Danger of Over-Filling Containers
Under the topic of safe storage, employees must also be wary of and avoid over-filling storage containers. Putting too much into a container creates the very real risk of the substance leaking and escaping from the container and posing a threat to the health and safety of workers and indeed anyone who happens to be in the vicinity. It can also spill over and run down the sides and onto the floor, where it can create a fire hazard if it is a flammable substance such as petrol or oil.
Storage containers can sometimes be expensive, particularly for highly dangerous chemicals or gases, and there may be a temptation by workers or even an order from managers themselves, to fill containers as much as possible in order to save money through not having to purchase any more containers.
It can also happen accidentally, if workers do not pay sufficient attention as they are filling containers, or indeed if they have not been trained and informed of just what the safe maximum filling level actually is.
As well as performing sufficient and regular COSHH risk assessments, suitable health and safety training for both workers and management is vital in order to prevent occupational illness and injury from hazardous substances.
Because of the wide-ranging nature of COSHH risks according to the activities of each business, a COSHH open course would not be that practical, as it is unlikely to be totally relevant for people coming on the course with differing workplace activities and hazards. A COSHH training course is much more effective if done in-house to a group of employees from the same company.
We have two COSHH courses that are sometimes scheduled as open courses, but are more often used as a basis upon which to build a bespoke COSHH course which is tailored to your requirements and particular working environment. It can also focus more accurately on the specific COSHH regulations affecting your organisation.
Please click on the course titles below to read more about our COSHH courses.
Our COSHH Awareness training course is aimed at employees who deal with hazardous substances on a daily basis, and will give them a sound understanding of their COSHH responsibilities for controlling these hazardous substances.
Our COSHH for Managers and Supervisors course covers issues such as COSHH regulations, practical control measures, conducting a COSHH risk assessment and maintaining appropriate records.
Bespoke COSHH Training
COSHH training is most effective when run as a bespoke health and safety training course for an organisation, which is tailored to the particular substances and risks that their workers face. Attending an open course which tells your workers to store substances correctly and not to spill them is fine, but a COSHH training course which focuses on the correct storage and handling of the actual substances they use, and incorporates the firm's specific health and safety policy and operating procedures will be much more beneficial.
If you would like to discuss your COSHH training requirements with one of our expert health and safety consultants, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or contact us online by clicking the "Contact" tab at the top of the page.