There are a number of substances that Companies may use in day to day operations – both when working on site as well as at Company offices. All of these substances will present some degree of risk to those who are exposed. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) requires an assessment of these risks.
This will involve obtaining the manufacturers’ Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to get specific information to enable you to:
Identify exactly how the substances are hazardous.
- Determine what effects could they have.
- Find out who could be exposed and how.
- Gauge the potential of a substance for causing harm.
- Understand what the chance of the exposure occurring is.
- Calculate how often exposure is liable to occur.
- Calculate what levels people may be exposed to and for how long.
Once this information is obtained, a formal COSHH Assessment can be undertaken that will include the identification of control measures designed to protect those likely to be exposed. PPE, however, must be a last resort so you will need to identify other ways to reduce risk first, if possible. For example, this could be using a different product (substitution), using less of a product or using it in a different way.
Control measures will also include ways in which you store or transport substances.