PROCEDURES FOR CONTROL OF SUBSTANCES HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) prohibit the use of hazardous substances unless a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk and the control measures has been carried out. This procedure provides a step by step guide on how to comply with the requirements of COSHH, for commercially bought chemical products.
2. The COSHH Regulations apply to:
· substances that are very toxic, toxic, harmful, irritant or corrosive,
· substances listed in EH 40 as having a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL),
· harmful micro-organisms (e.g. Legionella, Hepatitis etc.) and carcinogens,
· dusts of any kind in substantial concentrations (e.g. from wood working),
· substances which pose comparable hazards to health (e.g. pesticides).
COSHH applies to all hazardous substances that are:
· brought into the workplace to be used, stored or worked upon,
· given off as fumes or vapours or are likely to leak or be spilled during an activity,
· produced by any work or process, as finished products, waste or residues.
3 Responsibility for carrying out COSHH assessments
Managers have the responsibility for ensuring COSHH assessments are carried out, where their staff may be exposed to hazardous substances. Where the Manager has appointed one or more COSHH Assessors, it remains their responsibility to ensure that COSHH assessments are completed and kept up to date.
4 Responsibility of the COSHH Assessor
Compile an inventory of all substances within their area of responsibility (See Appendix 1 for example substances register)
Check the label or the safety data sheet, obtainable from the supplier, to identify hazardous substances. Labels have changed in accordance with the CLP Regulations. See http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/detail/coshh-clp-reach.htm
· Carefully examine the supplier recommendations to establish whether or not the existing measures are adequate.
· If the control measures are adequate record the findings on the COSHH assessment form (See Appendix 2 for example assessment form)
· If the existing measures are inadequate, introduce extra precautions, and record these on the form.
· Ensure staff and candidates are informed of the control measures.
· Monitor work practices to ensure precautions are followed and are valid.
· Review assessments when they are no longer valid. For example, if control measures are defective or deteriorate, there are changes in exposure levels or new staff who are more susceptible. Assessments should be reviewed annually and re-assessed every three years.
5. Control measures
Exposure to hazardous substances must be effectively controlled by one or a combination of the following control measures:
- Substitution of a material for a less hazardous substance
- Total enclosure of the process
- Partial enclosure and extraction equipment
- General ventilation
- Using systems of work and handling procedures which minimise the chances of spills, leaks and other escapes of hazardous materials
- Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a last resort
Control is usually considered adequate if most people would suffer no adverse health effects if exposed to a substance day after day. However, for certain substances where the risk to health is through inhalation, occupational exposure limits have been set. These limits should not be exceeded.
Where these are applicable (obtainable from the product data sheet or EH40), additional advice should be sought from the Head of Health and Safety.
In order to comply with COSHH, the Centre requires Managers to ensure:
· That control measures are kept in efficient working order and good repair (carry out prompt remedial action where necessary)
· That engineering controls and respiratory protective equipment are examined and where appropriate, tested at suitable intervals
· That records of all such actions are maintained.
The Centre requires employees and candidates to:
· Use all control measures provided and wear protective equipment properly.
· Store Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) properly when not in use.
· Remove contaminated PPE before eating, drinking or smoking.
· Practice personal hygiene and make use of all washing facilities and to ensure the facilities provided for eating/drinking are not contaminated.
· Report all equipment and PPE defects promptly to manager or the lecturer in charge.
6. Record keeping
Managers must ensure that information and instructions for handling hazardous substances is readily available to employees and students and they understand the instructions.
7. Training requirements
Managers should ensure that they or their nominated COSHH assessor(s) are competent to carry out COSHH assessments. The minimum training requirement is completion of the ‘Principles of COSHH’ training. Further details can be obtained from the Professional Development Administrator.