Carrying out a COSHH risk assessment correctly equips you with the knowledge and understanding to help protect your employees. It’s a crucial tool in your arsenal to identify, manage and mitigate risks associated with hazardous substances in the workplace.
Knowing how to carry one out and what to include makes the process a whole lot easier, so check out our blog below and discover what you should include in your COSHH risk assessment.
The importance of COSHH for different industries
COSHH helps to be important so you can see potential health risks that could otherwise remain hidden. And of course, you’ve got a legal duty to make sure you’re protecting your workers from any hazardous risks. No matter the sector or industry of your business, knowing how to write a COSHH assessment is a pivotal part of your safeguarding responsibilities.
You can carry out a COSHH risk assessment that identifies hazardous substances across many industries including:
Whether you’re dealing with chemicals, dust, fumes or other hazardous substances, writing your COSHH risk assessment properly helps you take all the proper steps to protect your employees’ health. Why not check out our handy resources for building and construction, engineering and electrical?
The five steps to consider in a COSHH risk assessment
There are five steps to consider when carrying out COSHH risk assessments. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Collect information about the substances used in your workplace and your work practices
Identify and classify hazardous substances used in your workplace. These can range from chemicals and solvents to biological agents and vapours, mists and fumes produced by work activities. Products containing harmful chemicals have a symbol on them that identifies them as ones that need to be controlled, so make sure you look out for that. Recognise who might be at risk from certain substances through exposure and work activity.
Evaluate the health risks related to these substances and practices
You’ll need to have a clear understanding of the different health risks associated with each substance you’re working with. Substances can cause skin issues like dermatitis, respiratory issues or even long-term chronic diseases. Evaluating these risks thoroughly sets the foundation for effective risk management.
Choose appropriate control measures that will reduce or eliminate these risks
Work out how to control all the risks associated with the substances you’ll be using. Follow the hierarchy of control to help out with this.
- Elimination – physically remove the hazard
- Substitution – replace the hazard
- Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard
- Administrative controls – change the way people work
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) – protect the worker with equipment
If you do use PPE (which is quite likely when it comes to COSHH) you’ll need to make sure you’re choosing the right equipment and training your workers on how to use it properly and how to detect and report any faults with it.
Implement control measures and record your findings
Put your chosen measures into action. Make sure you’re documenting all your findings – the more detail the better! Getting it written down is a legal requirement if you have five or more employees, and even if you don’t, recording your risk assessments is still best practice.
Monitor performance across all areas and review your COSHH assessment
You’ll need to regularly monitor and review your measures. Regularly monitoring the performance of your chosen controls means you can make sure they’re working and that your employees are following all the right steps. You can update them to account for changes in substances, practices or regulations.
Get COSHH right with our range of great resources
Wondering how you can streamline the process of writing up your assessment?
Our COSHH assessment templates might be the trick you’re missing. Our templates provide a structured framework to make sure you’re covering all the necessary aspects you need. of COSHH assessments. – and even better, we’ve got a library of over 80 assessments to cover every substance you might come across. And if you find one that isn’t covered, our blank COSHH assessment template means you can tailor it to your exact business needs.
Not sure where to start? Try out our free COSHH template to get a full walkthrough of the assessment process and create a safer and healthier workplace for everyone. Or, if you’ve got more questions, just contact us and our friendly experts will get back to you. For further reading and understanding of what COSHH is, explore more in our extensive detailed guide here.