The abbreviated term COSHH which stands for Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health refers to the law promoting safety practises and regulations in the use of hazardous substances and dangerous chemicals.
These chemicals if not used correctly can be harmful to employees and indeed the general public if they happen to ‘escape’ into the atmosphere outside a controlled environment. Those exposed to these substances or other hazards like fires should attended specialist courses like fire training workshops, as well as following strict health regulations.
Examples of where this law would apply is the mixing of paints where harmful vapours are released into the atmosphere or a factory that works with poisonous fumes from say a iron works. It also covers germs and bacteria that can cause diseases, cleaning agents that can irritate a persons skin, this is just to name a few. You should train your staff in being able to read a date safety data sheet that comes with any delivery from a supplier of yours. This in important to ensure that any dangerous substances are handled safely.
COSHH requires employers to carry out a risk assessment on their work activities as part of their health and safety policy and to identify health hazards, as well as create a action plan to cut down on the risk to staff from poisonous agents. Then implement this plan for safer procedures and to review it regularly to ensure the recommendations have been carried, and to take into account any changes in the companies activities in the future.
COSHH law also requires employers to supply their staff with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment also known as PPE. This is to ensure minimum exposure to danger from manual handling and includes items like eye protection, protective clothing and protective gloves. It may sound obvious but when ordering PPE make sure you get the right size for different members of your staff.
If ever in doubt about what is dangerous or not, you could always seek the services of a health and safety consultancy for guidance and advice.
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