What you need to do
Before you start your COSHH assessment, you need to:
- What do you do that involves hazardous substances?
- How can these cause harm?
- How can you reduce the risk of harm occurring?
Always try to prevent exposure at source. For example:
- Can you avoid using a hazardous substance or use a safer process – preventing exposure, eg using water-based rather than solvent-based products, applying by brush rather than spraying?
- Can you substitute it for something safer – eg swap an irritant cleaning product for something milder, or using a vacuum cleaner rather than a brush?
- Can you use a safer form, eg can you use a solid rather than liquid to avoid splashes or a waxy solid instead of a dry powder to avoid dust?
Check your trade press and talk to employees. At trade meetings, ask others in your industry for ideas.
If you can't prevent exposure, you need to control it adequately by applying the principles of good control practice.
Control is adequate when the risk of harm is ‘as low as is reasonably practicable'.
- All control measures are in good working order.
- Exposures are below the Workplace Exposure Limit, where one exists.
- Exposure to substances that cause cancer, asthma or genetic damage is reduced to as low a level as possible.