Are your controls adequate?
There are various ways of deciding this. Probably the simplest way is to use the following chart from HSE’s guide to the COSHH Regulations.
For many harmful substances, there is guidance available on good control practice from trade and industry associations and suppliers, as well as HSE.
You may also find the simple step-by-step advice in HSE's COSHH essentials website useful.
Personal protective equipment
- Where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by other means, provide personal protective clothing and equipment, in combination with other control measures
- Don’t automatically opt for personal protective equipment (PPE) as a control measure. It is not as reliable or effective as other measures
Information and training
- Employees need to understand the outcome of your risk assessment and what this means for them. Tell them what the hazards and risks are, and any workplace exposure limits, and what they need to do to protect themselves
- Make employees aware of the results of any monitoring of exposure and the collective results of health surveillance
- Employers should use the information contained in safety data sheets and other sources of information to train and inform employees
- Employees should know what to do if there is an accident (eg spillage) or emergency
- Involve your workers in developing control measures to make sure that they are suitable for the way they carry out the work. Encourage them to suggest improvements, and to report anything that they think might be going wrong
- Employees should be trained in the correct use of controls and personal protective equipment
- When a contractor comes into your workplace, they also need to know what the risks are and how you are controlling them. In addition, you need to know if they are bringing hazardous substances onto your premises, and how they will prevent harm to your employees
- It is helpful to keep basic training records
Record and review
- If you employ five or more people, you should keep a record of what you have found out about the risks to health and the appropriate control measures
- Write down where exposures occur, what the control measures are, and how you will maintain control
- Keep an eye on things. Changes in equipment, materials or methods may require you to review your earlier decisions