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COSHH Testing | Ensuring Exposure Controls are Used and Maintained

4 August 2016

Bethan Stones headshot

Bethan Stones

Group Marketing Manager

COSHH Testing

The fourth step in the COSHH testing and COSHH risk assessment process is to ensure that all exposure controls installed are used and maintained.

So You Have The Kit, Make Sure You Use It

From over 20 years of experience in the field, we know that making sure the above statement is put into practice can be like fighting a losing battle. However, operators are likely to be more compliant in the use of controls when they feel involved.

One way to do this is to involve operators in the design of machinery. Alternatively, providing the operators with information, instruction and training on the use of the controls in place can be another way of motivating them to use the equipment, and also ensure that as far as possible, controls are used correctly. However the other side of the coin is to make sure controls are reviewed to ensure they are not excessive.

On top of involving operators, there should be adequate supervision whilst working on the factory floor, to ensure that controls are used. Once again, on site, we have seen a number of cases involving LEV ducts being intentionally moved out of the way, and no supervision to correct the action.

So You’re Using It… What Can You Do To Ensure It’s Working At Its Best?

All controls, regardless of what they are, need to be maintained and records of this maintenance need to be kept up to date.  Under the COSHH regulation, all Local Exhaust Ventilation systems need to be tested on at least a 14 monthly basis (with some systems needing more regular LEV testing).

As well as the physical engineering controls, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs to undergo regular maintenance. This may be as simple as disposing of a dust mask after you’ve taken it off rather than reusing (dust masks are single use PPE), checking that your safety glasses are clean and without scratches or checking the air fed line for your respirators.

The Golden COSHH Testing Rules!

  • Provide operators with a voice in the design stage, to encourage compliance post installation.
  • Provide every operator with Information, Instruction and Training on the use of controls.
  • Ensure adequate supervision, where operators are encouraged to use the controls correctly.
  • Review controls on a regular basis to determine if they are still useful, and once again involve workers (they’re the ones who have to use the kit everyday!).
  • All LEV systems must be tested by a competent person on at least an annual basis (as per the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002), and note that some processes may require more regular testing.
  • Where PPE is used, it should be kept in a good state of repair, and single use PPE should be disposed of once they have been removed.

The COSHH Procedure

Where a substance requires COSHH testing, the following procedure should be followed. We will be going into further detail of each of these steps over the next few months. Below you can find our nine individual COSHH assessment articles:

Understanding – What Is COSHH?

Step 1 – Assess The Risks

Step 2 – Decide What Precautions Are Required

Step 3 – Prevent or Adequately Control Exposure

Step 4 – Ensure That Control Measures Are Used and Maintained

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

Experts in COSHH Testing, LEV and Exposure Controls

Envirocare is a leading Occupational Hygiene and Health and Safety services provider with over 150 years of combined experience.

Envirocare will aid your COSHH assessments 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.

Local exhaust ventilation testing and inspection services are amongst the other services Envirocare provide. This includes visual inspections, measurements and qualitative assessments that are instrumental in determining whether your LEV system is capable of providing satisfactory control of the hazardous substances as required by COSHH regulations.

Comprehensive, informative and easy to read reports are also provided for all COSHH LEV testing.

Call us on 01274 738668 or fill out our Envirocare Enquiry Form for any queries regarding how to control exposure, COSHH testing, LEV COSHH testing or any of our many other accredited services.