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COSHH Risk Assessment by Health and Safety Mentor

The use of hazardous substances at work or their creation as a by product can put people's health at risk, causing diseases which can include; cancer, asthma, and occupational dermatitis.

For any job or task that involves the use of hazardous substances it is necessary to carry out a COSHH risk assessment. In order to undertake a suitable risk assessment the hazardous nature of the substances and the exposure potential will need to be established. At Mentor, our health and safety consultants will help you determine which jobs or processes with need a risk assessment. It is commonly mistaken that a COSHH risk assessment relates to just the chemicals that are used within the workplace, in fact it includes any substances that could be hazardous to health such as; wood dust, fumes, microbiological hazards, and steam, which can be present in any form; gas, solid, dust, liquid, vapour, aerosol.

Under Regulation 7 of the COSHH regulations there is a hierarchy of control measures, which are as follows:

Prevention of exposure by:

  1. Eliminating the substance. Does it have to be used any more?

  2. Substitution with a substance less hazardous to health. Are there safer alternatives?

Controlling exposure by:

  1. Total enclosure of the process, thus removing exposure.

  2. Limiting the area of contamination. Having confined zones or areas.

  3. The use of Local Exhaust Ventilation systems or Extraction units.

  4. Dilution ventilation.

  5. Reducing your employees period of exposure.

  6. Providing suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This should be seen as the absolute final option as PPE DOES NOT DIRECTLY REMOVE THE HAZARD.

A COSHH assessment should be completed along side your general risk assessment for the entire process or activity that you are reviewing, as many of the inherent hazards will be interlinked and may require an overlap in safety control measures. At Mentor, our dedicated team of Health and Safety Consultants will work alongside your operational staff in ensuring the COSHH risk assessment process is bespoke to organisations needs, giving you the confidence that the controls implemented will effectively protect everyone who works with substances hazardous to health.

If you would like to know more about the COSHH risk assessment process then please contact one of our Health and Safety Consultants on 08444 933 062.