A large number of work environments now use hazardous substances on a daily basis. These substances range from cleaning chemicals to paints and aerosols.
As a result of the presence of hazardous substances, we can all consider ourselves at risk of harm from these while out and about or at work. The one main way to significantly reduce the risks of injury from hazardous substances is to ensure they are properly stored within secure CoSHH cabinets.
Lucky for us, it is a legal obligation for employers to ensure the safe storage and use of hazardous substances within their workplaces. These are otherwise known as the CoSHH regulation, or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.
In short. CoSHH regulations require bosses conduct a full audit of the products they feel are potentially harmful to our health. As well as to implement suitable emergency procedures for if there was accidental exposure to these substances. It is important to note, that even if you are self-employed you are still required under CoSHH to conduct a full risk assessment on any substances you use and/or store.
What substances are actually hazardous to health?
In today’s age, the number of and access to harmful substances is somewhat unrestricted. We all imagine a hazardous substance to be luminous green. Supplied in giant ‘toxic’ barrels with a giant radioactive symbol plastered on the front of it. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. For this reason, it is important for us all to be aware of what is and isn’t harmful to us. Obviously, we need to consider quantity and exposure under these. For example: dust can be considered a hazard under CoSHH regulations. On the other hand, there are some very harmful substances which are not classified harmful under CoSHH. These are lead, asbestos and radioactive substances. CoSHH does not cover these because they all have their own specific regulations.
The 8 main categories of Harmful Substances
To simplify the identification of harmful substances, HSE have devised these 8 main classifications. these include:
- Chemicals – Such as Sulphuric Acids
- Products containing chemicals – Such as paints
- Nanotechnology – Such as electronics
Simple substances like fumes, mists & chemicals are all considered as hazardous by the HSE. Many of us come into contact with these common substances without even knowing that we may be endangering our health. It is due to this why CoSHH is in existence, and why it is thought of as being a key consideration within our Health & Safety Assessments.
Do you have all the necessary equipment to reduce the risk of permanent injury when your employees are exposed to hazardous substances?
So, the question is what can we do to protect ourselves & our teams from harmful substances? Well, there are many ways we can all start ensuring that our health comes first.
The main CoSHH products that you should consider are:
The easiest, yet most effective way to protect our health is to safely store hazardous substances in a secure, lockable unit. These are known as CoSSH Cupboards or Cabinets.
You may have already seen this type of product, but not necessarily considered what it is for. CoSHH cabinets are quite easy to identify. They are typically bright yellow in colour and feature some form as hazardous warning label. CoSHH cabinets are available in many different formats. These include:
Our TUFF 45 hazardous storage cube cabinets. So, you need to safely store chemicals, but haven’t got the space for a large cabinet. What you need is a small, yet effective cabinet that can fit on top of a work surface our bench. Our TUFF 45 cabinets offer a space saving solution to your safety requirements. These are also popular for the safe storage of substances at workstations, while they are away from main CoSHH cabinets.
Alternative products to these are our hazardous substance wall cabinets, mobile cabinets and under counter cabinets. These are all discreet, compact and able to provide workstation safety.
If you have greater quantities of substances to store, you may need one of our large CoSHH floor cabinets. These are bunded with adjustable shelves. Meaning you can make all the relevant adjustment to ensure they meet your safety requirements.
Drench showers and eye wash stations can be beneficial at reducing the impact of exposure to harmful substances. For this reason, any workplace that uses CoSHH substances should consider one.
Spill kits and absorbent materials can significantly reduce the environmental impact of chemical, oil or fuel spillages. They are available in many different applications and formats, so explore the range properly before making the right purchase for your workplace.
Are CoSHH products necessary?
This is undoubtably a daft question. You could interpret this as being is my health really necessary? CoSHH regulations can seem overwhelming. If you are unsure of whether or not you require any specialist CoSHH equipment you should conduct a full and thorough risk assessment of your workplace. Remember, if your employees feel you have not given full consideration to their health and safety, they are within their right to report your business to the Health and Safety Executive.
The video below demonstrates the use of CoSSH equipment, in a somewhat witty way. Check it out today. See if you can spot any of the intentional mistakes.