Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work may put people’s health at risk, thus, employers are required to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. The aim is to protect both employees and others who may be exposed by complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (as amended) (COSHH).

Hazardous substances include: –

  • Substances used directly in work activities (e.g. paints, adhesives, cleaning agents).
  • Substances generated during work activities (e.g. soldering, welding fumes).
  • Naturally occurring substances (e.g. grain, dust).
  • Biological agents (e.g. bacteria and other micro-organisms)

Effects from hazardous substances can range from mild eye irritation to chronic lung disease or even death.

Associated hazards

  • Skin irritation.
  • Losing consciousness.
  • Infection from bacteria and/or micro-organisms.

N.B. This list of hazards is not exhaustive.

Employer’s responsibilities

BDS Pest Control Ltd recognises its responsibilities in the provision of a safe working environment in relation to the management of potentially hazardous substances and shall: –

  • Identify and list those hazardous substances that are used or stored within company premises.
  • Identify all work activities likely to produce or generate hazardous substances.
  • Obtain hazard data sheets from suppliers.
  • Identify who may be affected (e.g. employees, contractors, public).
  • Appoint a competent person to complete and record the COSHH assessments and review the assessment regularly if it is deemed to be no longer valid.

Where reasonably practical, the company will prevent exposure by: –

  • Changing the process so that a hazardous substance is not required or generated.
  • Replacement with a suitable alternative.
  • Using the substance in a safer form.

If prevention is not practicable, the company will control exposure by: –

  • Total enclosure of the process.
  • Partial enclosure and extraction.
  • Using a system of work and handling that minimises leaks, spills and escape of the hazardous substance.
  • Determining the need to monitor employee’s exposure or if health or medical surveillance is required.
  • Ensuring that control measures (e.g. ventilation and extraction) remain effective by inspection, testing and maintenance of plant and equipment.
  • Recording the findings in a COSHH assessment and review the assessment regularly or if is deemed no longer valid.
  • Providing a copy of each relevant COSHH assessment to those persons considered at risk.