COSHH Risk Assessment
What is a COSHH Risk Assessment?
A COSHH risk assessment describes the process undertaken by an organisation in order to identify potential COSHH hazards before they happen, so that appropriate preventative actions and controls can be introduced in order to either eliminate completely, or at least reduce, the chances of such an occurrence or incident taking place. A proper COSHH risk assessment will also look at controls and procedures for COSHH risks that have already been thought of and put into place, and identify how well it/they are working, and recommend changes that will further eliminate that COSHH risk. It may also highlight any COSHH training needs that workers have in order to improve their COSHH understanding and working practices.
Who Needs a COSHH Risk Assessment?
Organisations in virtually any industry will need to conduct a COSHH risk assessment, to see how employees are/could be affected by hazardous substances used or produced as a by-product by the company. One of the most frequent points that comes out of any health and safety training is that prevention is the most preferable course of action. Conducting a COSHH risk assessment is a crucial step in achieving this objective.
Most people think of manufacturing firms when they think of COSHH, with mental images of workers handling lethal chemicals. The reality is that the substances do not have to be potential killers to fall under the COSHH umbrella. COSHH stands for the 'Control of Substances Hazardous to Health', and is concerned with all substances that could be hazardous to health, from minor irritants to lethal chemicals. These substances are also not limited to chemicals, for example asbestos dust.
Because of this vast spectrum of substances, an organisation in virtually any industry will have workers who have the potential to come into contact with harmful substances. Examples include workers at food outlets handling disinfectants, builders using paint, car mechanics coming into contact with hydraulic fluid etc.
Also, COSHH dangers do not always have to be substances which can affect the body externally. Fumes and dust which are inhaled pose serious health risks, especially over the long-term, as is the unintentional consumption of chemicals, for example, a worker drinking a clear chemical from an unmarked container thinking that it was water.
A COSHH risk assessment will cover all of these potential hazards, and as a result can be quite extensive. However, by eliminating or introducing effective preventative controls, it should prevent workers becoming ill or being killed as a result of the substances in their workplace.
There are also COSHH regulations and legislation which needs to be taken into consideration and changes made to comply with the law.
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.