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COSHH Risk Assessment


COSHH risk assessments are carried out in order to assess the hazardous substances and chemicals within the workplace that might cause damage or ill-health for the employees of the business. In 2002, the UK made it a legal requirement for any business or employer to have a risk assessment carried out under section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations.


The assessment is part of the COSHH initiative which has set out to create safe and healthy workplaces for all employees; its purpose is to find and identify any requirements that need to be altered by the employer in order for them to fully comply with the set regulations. These regulations are designed to protect the employer from any adverse market conditions and the employees from any damage to their health and well-being that may come into being through unsafe conditions in the workplace. Risk assessments are very difficult to define in a precise way as the substances in their very nature are uncertain and instable.


The possibilities of an event taking place where the employee is in contact with a hazardous substance and the risk to an individuals health can be estimated by the assessor but it is a difficult to calculate exact figures and instances for these types of events. The risk assessment is only one part of the overall process that will identify and manage substances in the workplace, this assessment is designed to determine where exactly there is danger in the workplace and how it can be managed. The overall process is set up to help prevent all health problems that may occur through contact with hazardous substances, those that affect people who are both, direct in contact as well as potential contact with any chemicals.


Once the hazardous substances have been identified and the risk is calculated within a company it is important to then evaluate those risks and start looking at what precautions can be taken to protect the workforce from any harm. It is necessary to look at whether the hazardous substance can be eradicated from the work completely, or if not, if there are any ways in which the risk can be controlled or lowered, either by using an alternative substance, or through improved equipment.


There are also many items of protective clothing and equipment that can be provided for the staff which will reduce the risks of any exposure they may have the to the chemicals, as well as supplying first aid boxes and training for the staff to equip them to handle any emergency situation that may arise, these include spillages and disposal methods. Once all these amendments have been put into place then the risk assessment should be repeated on a regular basis to ensure that the health and safety standards and regulations are being upheld.