What is COSHH?
The occupational use of nanomaterials is regulated under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).Â COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health and includes nanomaterials. You can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by:finding out what the health hazards are;
- deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
- providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
- making sure they are used;
- keeping all control measures in good working order;
- providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
- providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
- planning for emergencies.
Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.
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 â€“ preventing exposure, eg using water-based rather than solvent-based products, applying by brush rather than spraying?
- Can you substitute it for something safer â€“ 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.
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