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The HSE website provides practical advice and Guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. You can find information on what the law requires, and advice on completing COSHH assessments.
The HSE publication “Working with Substances Hazardous to Health: A brief guide to COSHH” contains useful information. The publication is available here.
The HSE has produced a useful template and example risk assesments can be found here.
Please ensure you read the guidance notes at the end of the template before completing the COSHH risk assessment.
The information relating to the substance you are using will be on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
MSDS are provided by all manufacturers for products that may have any adverse effects.
These effects may be things like occupational dermatitis caused by continued exposure to cement or engine cleaning fluids, or it could be brick or flour dust causing asthma.
If the Material Safety Data Sheet did not come when you ordered the substance, you will need to contact the supplier of the substance and request that one be sent.
Information a Material Safety Data Sheet will contain:
A free copy of the Work Place Exposure Limits from the HSE is available here.
The assessment must be reviewed immediately if:
The date of the review of the COSHH risk assessment will depend on type of risk, the work activities, and the employer’s judgement on the likelihood of changes occurring.
No, as it will not be specific to your workplace and cannot take into account the particular environment you work in.
A good material safety data sheet (MSDS) is not a substitute for carrying out and recording a COSHH risk assessment.
Gathering MSDSs is only the first stage in the assessment process.
More information on working with hazardous substances, can be here.
It is important to remember that some substances arise from processes and have no safety data sheet. Examples include fume from welding or soldering, mist from metalworking, dust from quarrying, gases from silage.
BESA members have access to a free dedicated health and safety helpline. For all of your health and safety questions contact one of our BESA representatives on 01768 860452.
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