10 February 2016
The second step of the COSHH Risk Assessment process is to decide what COSHH precautions are required.
For this, we look at the five W’s and an H:
What does the process involve? What materials are involved? Does the work involve working in the breathing zone, and are the materials listed as hazardous on their safety data sheet?
When is used to refer to how often the particular work is carried out. Is the process carried out every day? (e.g. a fabrication workshop or production line) or just once a year (e.g. a fitter carrying out repairs during a shutdown)?
Is the person trained to carry out the work and are they aware of the risks involved in the process? If not, then the operator needs to be given information, instruction and training on the process at hand.
Where is the work being carried out? Is the operator working in open air, a well ventilated workshop, a mostly enclosed are or in a confined space?
Why is the process done this way? Is the operation being carried out in the best way, or the way “we’ve always done it”. If the answer is the latter, then is there a better way of carrying out the task?
In this case, as examples, are we looking at a fully operational production line processing tonnes of raw materials every day? Or are we looking at a Research and Development department who may only use grams of material every year?
At the decision making process, it is crucial that the process under assessment is observed and operators are involved in the discussions. As just looking at a standard operating procedure alone is not sufficient. What is written on paper is not necessarily what actually happens in the real world.
Once these questions have been answered then we can look at preventing or controlling exposure.
Where a substance requires a COSHH risk assessment, the following procedure should be followed. We will be going into further detail of each of these steps over the coming weeks via nine individual in depth articles:
Understanding – What Is COSHH?
Step 1 – Assess The Risks
Step 2 – Decide What Precautions Are Required
Step 5 – Monitor The Exposure
Step 6 – Carry Out Appropriate Health Surveillance
Step 7 – Prepare A Plan For Accidents and Emergencies
Step 8 – Ensure Employees Are Properly Informed, Trained and Supervised
Envirocare has over 150 years of combined experience in Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Monitoring.
Envirocare will aid your COSHH Risk Assessment by carrying out air monitoring to determine the levels of substances in the workplace and ensure the workplace exposure limits value is not exceeded for the substances you use. We will also provide a detailed report on work practices and findings together with recommendations for remedial action.
Call us on 01274 738668 or fill out our Envirocare Enquiry Form for any queries regarding COSHH precautions, risk assessments or any of our many other accredited services.