Guidance notes for non-scientific assessment
The COSHH Regulations place a duty on the University to prevent or control exposure of its staff and students, to substances hazardous to health, encountered in the normal course of their work. It must also prevent or control exposure to visitors and members of the public on University property.
In this guidance:
The assessment form
Please read the following carefully before carrying out any assessments
The shaded areas on the form are for scientific applications only
A College/Divisional/Departmental Reference identifying the assessment;
eg Buildings and Estate Division, Streatham Farm, Carpentry, Assessment No 23 as BE/SF/CARP/023.
The assessment is valid for up to one year from the date it is completed and signed. After this date the assessment must be reviewed and, if necessary, amended. The assessment must be reviewed immediately if there has been a significant change or changes to its content (eg in the process, frequency, location or substances used, etc), or if there is a reason to doubt the assessment’s validity.
Enter the exact location(s) where the process is carried out;
eg Main Site, Domestic Services Division, Devonshire House , Main Kitchen.
Persons carrying out process:
Enter the names, sex and status.
eg Mike Holmes, M, Plumber
Georgina Kempton, F, Head Porter
Eliza Gibbs, F, Residence Manager
Name: a concise phrase or sentence;
eg Photographic Film Processing, Paint Spraying, Floor cleaning, etc.
Description: a brief description of the process;
eg 1) Floor cleaning liquid is measured into a jug
2) The liquid is poured into a bucket and hot water is added to give the correct dilution
3) Floor is mopped with the solution
4) Floor is finally rinsed with cold water.
The risk of a process causing harm increases with the length of time the process operates and the frequency of which the process is carried out.
|Name||List the hazardous substances used in, or generated by, the process. If there are more than five, use an additional form. Identify the:|
|Hazard||eg Toxic, Harmful, Corrosive, etc;|
|Personal risk||From hazard data assess the most likely route of entry of the hazardous substances into the body if no control (protective) measures were taken. Assign most likely, High Risk and least likely, Low Risk.|
eg Carbon Monoxide (gas); Skin Contact = Low Risk; Skin Absorption = Low Risk; Eyes = Low Risk; Inhalation = High Risk; Ingestion = Low Risk.
eg Sodium Chlorate (weed killer); Skin Contact = High Risk; Skin Absorption = High Risk; Eyes = High Risk; Inhalation = Medium Risk; Ingestion = Medium Risk.
|Quantity||eg 2 pints, 4 litres, 10 kg, 2 gals, etc;|
|Physical form||eg Solid, Liquid, Gas, Dust, etc;|
|OES or MEL||ie Occupational Exposure Standard (OES) or Maximum Exposure Limit (MEL) given as Long Term (8 hrs) and/or Short Term (10 mins) Exposure Limits (LTEL and/or STEL). These may be found in the HSE publication, EH40, published annually or in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).|
eg White Spirit; OES/LTEL = 100 ppm, OES/STEL = 125 ppm
eg Trike (trichloroethylene, degreasing agent); MEL/LTEL = 100ppm, MEL/STEL = 150 ppm
|Storage||eg Locked metal cabinet or cupboard in locked room|
|Disposal||eg by an authorised wastes contractor or down the sink (within consent limits)|
Measures to prevent or control exposure
Tick the measures actually in place. If you consider extra measures are required state this in your "General Comments".
Under the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations (1992, Reg 6) the employer is required to assess and determine the most suitable type of PPE for the intended process.
eg Concentrated Sulphuric Acid (Drain Cleaner); Adequate Ventilation, Safety Visor, Protective Clothing, Hand Protection, Type; Gloves, thick rubber, Other, Type; Restricting access to authorised staff only.
Brief first aid action phrases obtainable from a variety of information sources, eg the Sigma Aldrich Library of Chemical Safety Data, from manufacturer’s data sheets or from the Health, Safety and Environment Office. Most first aid treatments for harmful sold or liquid substances rely on their dilution with water .
eg Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite solution)
Skin: Immediately flush with water (15mins), remove contaminated clothing;
Eyes: Immediately flush with water (15mins);
Inhalation: Remove to fresh air, if not breathing give artificial respiration, call for ambulance;
Ingestion: Wash out mouth with water, call for ambulance.
Certain hazardous substances are incompatible with common fire extinguishing media. Use "Sources of Information" and advice from the University Fire Safety Adviser to determine suitable extinguishing agents.
eg Metal powders, eg Zinc, are incompatible with water: Dry sand or a special metal fire extinguishing medium should be used.
eg Petroleum: Powder, AFFF foam or carbon dioxide.
The Sigma Aldrich Library of Chemical Safety Data gives spillage and disposal data for each entry. College/Divisional/ Department spillage procedures may apply.
Methylated Spirit, Spills and Leaks, c, j, a, f.
c = Shut of all sources of ignition
j = Wear respirator, chemical safety goggles, rubber boots and heavy rubber gloves
a = Absorb on sand or vermiculite and place in closed container for disposal
f = Ventilate area and wash spill site after material pickup is complete
Enter here recommendations for additional control measures and any information you think is relevant and which does not appear elsewhere on the form.
eg , Special precautions, College/Divisional/Departmental safety rules, etc.
Overall hazard and risk assessment
Taking into consideration the information entered on this form, make a qualitative judgement as to the magnitude of the Hazard(s) (ie something which has the potential to cause harm) and the Risk(s) (ie the likelihood that harm will be caused).
eg Hazard = High, Risk = High: A process involving highly toxic substances, frequently carried out by a large number of people, and where the existing control measures are inadequate.
eg Hazard = High, Risk = Low: A process involving highly toxic substances, carried out occasionally by few people and with superior control measures (eg glove box, biological cabinet or fume cabinet).
eg Hazard = Low, Risk = Low: A process using, or generating, a small quantity of substance with a high Occupational Exposure Standard (OES), by few people and with superior control measures.
Processes judged to be of a High or Medium risk MUST NOT BE CARRIED OUT, until control measures are adopted which, on reassessment, will render the process Low risk. You must refer to your College/Divisional/Departmental Safety Officer and, if you wish, the Health and Safety Office for advice.
Process Assessor: The Assessor should be the person with the most knowledge and experience of the process. Assessments will normally be carried out by the Process Supervisor, but the Supervisor may delegate the task of assessment (but not supervisory responsibility) to another or other person(s).
Process Supervisor: The Supervisor has executive control of, and health and safety responsibility for the process. He or she must ensure that the assessment is as complete and correct as possible and sign.
Sources of information
The following reference sources should provide the information required to complete the assessment:
- Product Label - The label should give the hazard classification (eg Corrosive, Toxic, etc) and risk and safety phrases.
- Manufacturer's Data Sheet - Manufacturers must make these available, by law, either supplied with the product or on request.
- Supplier's Catalogue - Often give relevant safety information including storage and disposal. Catalogues are available from the supplier on request.
- The Health and Safety Office- Members of the Health and Safety Office will be pleased to assist if other sources of information are required.
Other sources (available in the Health and Safety Office reference library)
- A Step by Step Guide to COSHH Assessment, Health and Safety Executive (HS(G)97)
- COSHH: Guidance for Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Further and Higher Education, Health and Safety Executive, Educational Services Advisory Committee.
- Croner Record Keeping Book For COSHH, Croner Publishing Company.
- Dangerous Chemicals, Emergency Spillage Guide, Croner Publishing Company.
- Dangerous Chemicals, Emergency First Aid Guide, Croner Publishing Company.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (1988); the Regulations in full text.
Summary of the regulations
REGULATIONS 1-5; PREAMBLE.
REGULATIONS 13-19; EXEMPTIONS AND LEGAL ASPECTS.
REGULATIONS 6-12: MAIN POINTS OF ACTION
Regulation 6. Assessment of health risks
No employer will be able to carry out work liable to expose employees to substances hazardous to their health, unless he has made suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks created by that work, and of the steps needed to comply with COSHH in respect of it. A review of the assessment will be required if its validity becomes suspect, or if significant changes in the work take place.
Assessments will enable employers to make informed and valid judgements about health and risks. They will be undertaken by a competent person, and will consider to what substances employees will be exposed.
Except in the very simplest of situations it will be necessary for the assessment to be in written form. This will enable an employer to demonstrate readily that all factors have been considered; that he has adequate knowledge on which to base his control measures to achieve compliance with COSHH; and that he can show continuity of achievement in dealing with health risks associated with COSHH.
Regulation 7. Prevention or control of exposure to hazardous substances
The first duty of every employer is to prevent the exposure of his employees to substances hazardous to health. Only where prevention is not reasonably practicable is the employer able to turn to the provision of adequate control as a legitimate second option.
Adequate control must be secured in the first instance by measures other than personal protection (eg by enclosure of the process, or by the use of local exhaust ventilation, LEV). Where such control measures are found to be inadequate by themselves, then, and only then, is the employer able to resort legitimately to the provision of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE).
Certain substances have been given Maximum Exposure Limits (MEL's). Where such limits exist, control of exposure as far as inhalation is concerned, can only be treated as adequate if the level of exposure is reduced so far as is reasonably practicable, and in any case well below the listed MEL's.
Certain other substances have been given approved Occupational Exposure Standards (OES's). The limitations above apply with the employer ensuring that these standards are not exceeded and, if they are, rectifying the situation as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Regulations 8&9. Use, maintenance, examination and test of control measures
Employers providing control measures must take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are properly used or applied.
Employers must make full and proper use of control measures, including PPE which is provided to comply with COSHH. Additionally if employees find any defect in what is provided they must report the defect at once to their employer. How to recognise defects and understand their significance is an important part of information and training provided by the employer (Reg 12).
The employer must ensure that all measures he provides are maintained in good order and repair.
Engineering controls (such as fume cupboards and local exhaust ventilation) must be examined and tested at least once in every 14 months.
Suitable records of examination and tests, and of repairs if found to be necessary, and thereafter carried out, must be available for inspection for at least five years.
Regulation 10. Monitoring and exposure at the workplace
Where it is requisite for ensuring that adequate control of exposure is maintained the exposure must be monitored by a suitable procedure.
Records of monitoring are required to be kept for at least five years. When representative of personal exposure of identifiable employees, the period is extended to 30 years.
Regulation 11. Health surveillance
Where it is appropriate to protect the health of employees exposed to hazardous substances, the employer must ensure that the employees are under suitable health surveillance (HS).
It may be appropriate where exposure is linked to an identifiable disease or adverse health effect. There must be a reasonable likelihood that the disease or effect may occur under the conditions of work prevailing and that valid techniques exist to detect these.
Personal HS records must be kept by the employer for at least 30 years after the last entry. In specific cases HS records include medical surveillance undertaken by an employment medical adviser or appointed doctor.
Employers must allow their employees to access their health records. Employees must make themselves available for health and medical surveillance.
Regulation 12. Information, instruction and training
Employees exposed to substances hazardous to health must be provided with such information, instruction and training as is suitable and sufficient for them to know the risks to their health created by such exposure. They should also be familiar with the precautions necessary for their protection.
All persons carrying out work in connection with COSHH (assessment, monitoring, health surveillance, training, examining control equipment etc) must have the necessary information, instruction and training. This applies whether the persons concerned are employees or otherwise.