During our Health and Safety checks, we routinely find that London businesses fail to properly manage the handling of their hazardous substances. This is one of the most common ways that businesses are found to be non-compliant during our audits.
It’s a complicated issue, but we’re here with some insider information to help you properly handle hazardous substances. Employee health is an essential consideration, so we’re here to help keep you compliant.
So, what is a hazardous substance? Substances are considered hazardous when they can be harmful either to humans or to the environment. But a substance doesn’t necessarily have to be an immediate danger to human health to fit the bill.
Examples of hazardous substances include:
- Products containing chemicals
- Gases and asphyxiating gases
- Germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease
- Germs used in laboratories
What is (and isn’t!) considered hazardous can change over time, so it’s good to keep on top of legislation to make sure that you’re keeping yourself, your employees and the environment safe.
In order to keep everyone protected, it’s essential that you know the regulations surrounding training, storage and understanding labels.
The best way to stay compliant is by understanding how to limit the exposure at its source.
So, for example, could your workplace use a water-based solution rather than a solvent-based one? Or be applied by a brush rather than a spray? This approach can avoid many of the issues which routinely come up.
The needs of your business will depend upon where you work and the materials you work with. A welder, for example, will have vastly different needs and requirements to someone who works in a hospital. But they will both undoubtedly work with hazardous substances.
Speaking generally, a COSHH assessment centres itself around three essential questions:
- What do you do that involves hazardous substances?
- How can these substances cause harm?
- How can you reduce the risk of this harm?
The best way to prepare for an assessment is quite simple. Walk around your business and make a list of all the substances that you use. This should include even the most mundane things, such as bathroom products and printer ink.
Because this is all quite complicated, it’s important to check with experts who know the whys and wherefores. Contact us, and we’ll offer bespoke advice according to the needs of you and your business. We’re one of London’s best health and safety consultants and we’ll make sure that you stay safe and that you remain on the right side of the law. Get in touch.