COSHH - Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

The subject of COSHH is one of the biggest and most important issues in health and safety in terms of the sheer number of different risks that are out there and the scope of harm that can be done to a person. This harm and danger to health can range from a mild irritation right through to death in extreme cases if the person is exposed to a particularly hazardous substance or even a less dangerous one but in large quantities or over a significant period of time.

COSHH and the Workplace

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health is such a critical issue with regards to workplace safety that in many developed countries there exists substantial health and safety legislation which aims to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of company's employees to prevent them suffering an illness or accident with a hazardous substance.

COSHH Training

A large number of COSHH-related incidents in the workplace are brought about through an ignorance and lack of understanding concerning the risks that the substances pose to health. For example there may be a lack of awareness or even an incorrect assumption that a substance can be handled in a particular way or that exposure to the substance does not pose a risk to human health, when in reality it does. A failure to provide suitable COSHH training to workers will result in them continuing to work in the same old ways which can endanger their health both over the short term and in the long term. More information on this topic can be found on the COSHH training at page of their website. This page explains more about what COSHH is and the various different forms that hazardous substances can take such as dust and liquids, not to mention the ways in which they can find their way into the human body and cause damage. It also provides a link to available COSHH training course providers, as well as explaining how it is often impractical for a person to attend an generic COSHH course as the information taught will be too general, and how a bespoke COSHH training session which incorporates the exact substances which workers in a particular business may encounter will be far more beneficial for them in terms of safeguarding their health and safety.

Procedures and Controls

Along with obtaining an understanding of the risks associated with the substances which employees in the business are likely to encounter as they go about their normal workplace activities, it is imperative that sufficient COSHH control measures are implemented and adhered to in order to minimise the chances of a person suffering a COSHH injury. Whilst the risk from all hazardous substances can never be absolutely eliminated down to zero percent without the business essentially shutting down completely, the potential for injury and illness can be greatly reduced by putting into place procedures and controls. Even more preferable, certain hazardous substances such as dangerous chemicals should be substituted for non-toxic ones wherever possible, such as substituting solvent-based liquids with water-based ones.