0 Health & Safety Part 1

The following article has appeared on the HSE official web site on the 23-08-01 and applies to all organisations whether they be large or small, commercial or non-profit making.

COSHH Essentials
The system is based on the recent well received COSHH Essentials launched in May 1999 and is currently available as a paper version. It provides practical advice in easy to understand terms, and the free electronic version will make the guidance easier and quicker for users.

Sandra Caldwell, Director of HSE's Health Directorate comments: "This free internet product will make a real difference to small firms who use chemicals in the workplace. It contributes to our commitments under the Revitalising Health and Safety Strategy Statement by taking a tool into the workplace for employers, safety representatives and individual employees.
By giving clear and straightforward advice, the tool will contribute to our aim to improve workers' health and safety."

The site will not be operational until April 2002 but that doesn't mean we can't do anything until then.

How well do you look after your employees / helpers / staff.

The use of chemicals in this day and age is becoming more and more the "norm" in the industry, but how many of us have in place the correct "Risk Assessments" and safety policy statement regarding there use in our environment.

COSHH sheets are available from the manufacturer / supplier of the chemical and you should ask for them and then draw up your "Risk Assessment" from the information supplied on the sheet. This exercise doesn't take long and is fairly simple:

  • 1. Who does it affect
  • 2. What is "The Risk", problem, action, method.
  • 3. What you do currently to reduce the risk.
  • 4. Is the "risk" reduced to an acceptable level?
  • 5. If "yes" then no further action need be taken.
  • 6. If "No" then what other steps can you take to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

Once you have documented the "Risk Assessments" then you should put in review dates just to ensure that you look at the latest information on the COSHH sheets to make sure that things haven't changed.

When staff are working with fertilizers and the like have you will probably have to supplied them with the correct "Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)" Your COSHH sheet from the manufacturer will tell you what you need to supply and in order that you can show "Due Diligence" you will need to supply the PPE and make sure that they are using it correctly. This is the sort of information that will be in part 3 of your "Risk Assessment".

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