10 reasons COSHH is important to your business

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) isn’t optional. Despite it being a law like any other though, some people simply don’t rate its importance.

So, we’ve put together 10 reasons to back up why COSHH is so important to your business.

1. Ensure no stone is left unturned

By conducting robust COSHH risk assessments, you’ll identify substances that might not have initially been on your radar as hazardous, and understand why they’re hazardous.

This’ll ensure that people aren’t unknowingly exposed to hazardous substances which, we’re sure goes without saying, improves their workplace safety.

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2. Find the best tool for the job

The COSHH risk assessment process will encourage you to really look at the chemicals you’re currently using and assess whether or not they’re the best agent for the job, or if they could be replaced with something less hazardous.

3. Look at the bigger picture

Conforming with COSHH means evaluating the long and short-term effects of the chemicals you’re using. So, why’s this so important? Because taking a step back and looking at how certain products you’re using could negatively impact employees, will give you a nudge to actually do something about the risks.

4. Assess your adequacy

COSHH forces you to make sure the controls you have in place are adequate – this includes things like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), first aid provision and emergency procedures.

Ensuring all of the above are suitable makes for an all round safer workplace for employees, visitors and members of the public.

5. Comply across the board

Although COSHH encompasses all hazardous substances, some chemicals will have additional, specific guidance that your processes must follow to keep compliant. For example, some waste substances cannot be bumped into public drains, because they could have an adverse effect on the water system.

Keeping up with your COSHH responsibilities will uncover these extra rules and regulations, adding an added layer of safety around your business.

6. Safety from start to finish

COSHH doesn’t just apply to when hazardous substances are in use, it covers their storage and transportation too. By taking a 360 look at how your substances are handled from start to finish, you’ll be adhering to the highest safety standards at every stage, and minimising the risk of potential accidents.

7. Establish what you need

Do you know what health surveillances are? Do you require health surveillance monitoring in place? Did you just shrug your shoulders to both?

Health surveillances are a system of ongoing health checks, and they play an important part in:

  • Detecting symptoms of ill-health early on
  • Helping you evaluate health risks
  • Providing a platform for employees to raise concerns
  • Highlighting gaps in your current control measures
  • Reinforcing employee training and education.

In some cases, health surveillances may be a legal requirement – your COSHH assessment will help you determine if this is true for you.

8. The do’s and don’ts

Some substances might be harmless alone, but be hazardous when combined with something else. COSHH risk assessments will help you to uncover these potentially dangerous combinations, and give you an understanding of what reactions could occur if they are mixed.

9. Stay on the right side of the HSE

COSHH is a hot topic for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at the moment and, well, no-one wants to get on the wrong side of them, right?

Keeping on top of COSHH will keep the HSE of your heels, saving you time dealing with potential enforcement.

10. To alert or not to alert

Last but not least, COSHH risk assessments will let you know whether or not you need to alert your local authority about any of your processes. This’ll more often than not be the case when environmental issues are born from bi-products of your process(s).

Don’t know where to start?

Here at Citation, we take the confusion out of COSHH. With everything from conducting COSHH risk assessments to running regular health surveillances, we’re with you every step of the way. Get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or hello@citation.co.uk to see how we can start supporting you today.

And for all you Citation clients out there, remember, we’re available 24/7 with our advice line.

Did you know…

…As well as our core Health & Safety service, we offer a comprehensive COSHH Awareness course, too? Head here to see what it’s all about.

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