C.O.S.H.H. Regulations and Control
May 27, 2015
C.O.S.H.H. regulations are meant to control exposure to hazardous substances thus, protecting employees from the risks and ill health associated with hazardous substances found in the place of work. As a tool, GOSHH defines eight basic measures that must be taken by both the employees and the employers to enhance the safety of the employees. They encompass step by step approaches that can help one assess the risks , adopt and implement measures that can control the exposure and adhere to good working practices. For example, if you work in a wood working workshop, wood dust can be hazardous to you and your employees health. Where dust is a problem, a dust extraction system should be installed by a professional fume and dust extraction company.
An employer who fails to adequately control hazardous substances making the employees get exposed to the hazardous substances which subsequently make them become ill or suffers from mild eye irritation, chronic lung diseases or die, may suffer from the following consequences.
• Incurs a loss in productivity
• Is liable to a legal enforcement action that can result into civil claims, or imprisonment.
Thus, an employer who adheres and implements GOSHH regulations may enjoy the following benefits;
• Improved productivity due to control that leads to effective use of raw materials
• Improved employees morale
Better understanding and compliance to health safety requirements by the employees is one of the things that reduce risks.
Substances that are classified by GOSHH as hazardous include:
• Adhesives, cleaning agents and paints
• Substances that are generated from work related activities and which are classified as hazardous they include; fumes, light and smoke from welding and soldering activities.
• Substances that occurs naturally such as grain dust
• Biological agents including bacteria and other dangerous micro-organism
Hazardous substances can be found in nearly all environment including factories, mines, shops, farms, laboratories, offices and in houses.
Some of the effects caused by the substances include:
• Skin irritation that may result from skin contact
• Asthma resulting from allergy to substances found at the work place
• Loss of consciousness that may result from toxic fumes
• Cancer resulting from exposure to cancerous chemicals
• Infections from micro-organisms and bacteria
GOSHH regulations require that the employer should identify all the substances it uses and which exposes the employees to hazardous risks. This process is referred to as risk management thus; one must be able to identify all the hazardous substances that are available at the work place. He should then consider the risks the substance presents to the health of the employees.
To guide the employer, the list 5 of the GOSHH regulation outlines all the substances that are supplied as raw materials, or those produced as byproducts of the activities you engage in such as fumes vapor, aerosols and those that naturally occurs at the work place which may cause infection and affect the health of the employees. Included also are agents that are likely to be carried by farm animals and other pets.
GOSHH regulations requires that the employee use as resources to identify some of the substances classified as hazardous and whose presence can impact negatively on the lives of the employees.
• Trade associations
• HSE websites and guidelines and publications
• CHIP approved supply list
• The internet
The employer should then carry out an assessment meant to help them determine the most hazardous substances found in the workplace and decide the precautions that he should take to prevent and control exposure of the employees to the substances. GOSHH regulation requires that the employer should put in place control measures and monitor the exposure.
Ensure that they control the hazards, take measures and carry out appropriate health surveillance meant to mitigate the effect of the substances.
The employer must prepare and put in place plans and procedures to deal with accidents and emergency incidents. They should also ensure that the employees are well informed, trained and supervised to minimize accidents that may endanger the lives of the employees. They must also assess the risks involved in using certain substances and how the substances can affect the health of the employees’ health.
GOSHH regulations require that the employer establishes how much of the substance used and produced and how it could affect all the people who are exposed to it.
GOSSH guidelines thus provides information on hazardous substances, defines solids, dustiness and liquids that are considered hazardous to the employees. It then provides easy steps to be followed to control such substances and the actions you can take place to control the risks and exposure.