Is A CoSHH Risk Assessment Just for Nasty Chemicals?
A CoSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) risk assessment is carried out on any substance that can cause damage to the handler’s health or the health of those around. A common misconception is that such substances are exclusively corrosive or flammable chemicals, however, there are many more substances that fall into this category.
Any substance that can cause any form of injury or harm falls under the CoSHH regulation, which includes common office equipment like correction fluid all the way up to high-profile hazardous substances such as asbestos. However, whether or not a risk assessment is carried out is highly dependant on context. Correction fluid would not require a risk assessment in an office environment as it can be assumed that everyone knows how to safely use it, whereas an environment with young children would require more consideration. Businesses that do not come into contact with asbestos would not need a risk assessment, whereas the reverse is true for businesses that do on a regular basis, or have potential to.
CoSHH applies to conventionally hazardous substances, such as fibres and vapours that can be inhaled, corrosive substances and substances that are toxic when ingested. However, certain processes that produce hazardous substances can apply too, such as sawdust produced in a sawmill, small particles in the air at flour processing facilities or even the production of pesticides, where the constituent parts are hazardous as well as the final product. Finally, CoSHH can apply to substances that are not immediately hazardous, but can cause problems over time, such as toner from printer ink cartridges causing skin complaints.
In short, any substance or process in your business that has the potential to harm the handler/operator or anyone around them will require a CoSHH risk assessment.
If you are still uncertain, call us on 0844 8797286 to discuss the CoSHH regulations or to book a free review of your Health & Safety arrangements.
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