In some businesses such as chemical manufacturing or oil production, the threats posed by the substances used by your employees will be obvious. However the thought of substances hazardous to health may be more difficult to imagine in hairdressing or bakery. In any business, though, it will be important to know at least what is in the cleaner’s cupboard, the canteen or the handyman’s cubby hole. Because you are responsible.
The COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations classify a substance as ‘hazardous’ if it has the ability to cause ill effects if inhaled, absorbed or ingested. Common potential problems include skin irritations, asthma or eye damage. More severe issues may be cancer or organ damage. It is your responsibility to address these issues, whatever the business.
Here is your duty as a manager
- You need to know what substances are used in your business and what could be a problem.
- You must have safe working practices to prevent inhalation, minimise leaks and spillages and make sure they are cleaned up.
- You may need to provide protective equipment such as gloves, aprons or goggles.
- You may need to monitor the health of some employees working with potentially hazardous substances.
- You should ensure safe storage.
- You should ensure safe disposal.
- You need to keep records
The issues that might relate to your particular business are well set out on the HSE website. The site also provides useful information for managers and employees.
From agriculture to woodworking the site lists potential hazards, suggests control methods and defines exposure limits where required.
Broadland Group can bring an informed view to a survey of your premises and practices. We can undertake risk assessments, identify potential hazards, advise on control procedures and protection equipment and set up the required records. We can also arrange training for management and staff tailored to your business.