COSHH assessment: Identifying hazard and assessing risk
You are probably already aware of many risks in your trade or industry. A COSHH assessment concentrates on the hazards and risks from substances in your workplace.
Remember that hazards and risks are not limited to substances labelled as ‘hazardous’.
Steps to making a COSHH assessment:
Walk around your workplace. Where is there potential for exposure to substances that might be hazardous to health?
Examples include processes that emit dust, fume, vapour, mist or gas; and skin contact with liquids, pastes and dusts. Substances with workplace exposure limits (WELs) are hazardous to health.
In what way are the substances harmful to health?
Get safety data sheets, and read your trade magazines. 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. Look at the HSE web pages for your trade or industry – Your Industry.
What jobs or tasks lead to exposure?
Note these down. Note down what control measures you already use. For these jobs, how likely is any harm to workers’ health?
Are there any areas of concern, eg from the Accident Book?
Examples include burns from splashes, nausea or lightheadedness from solvents, etc