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COSHH: What it is and the responsibilities of the employer

Many employers and employees may be a little unfamiliar with COSHH. This is slightly concerning, as various places of work require you to follow these to the tee on a daily basis. Therefore, this article will discuss what COSHH is, what is covers, the responsibilities of both the employer and the employee, and where you can go to receive online elearning COSHH training.

What does COSHH stand for, and what does it cover?

COSHH stands for “the control of substances hazardous to health.” This is a law implemented by the UK government to ensure the proper handling of chemicals and to reduce hazardous exposure to employees.

When a project is carried out, or even when chemicals are stored, the COSHH guidelines must be followed. Both the employer and the employee have responsibilities when it comes to handling chemicals, which will be explained below.

Employer responsibilities

Under the COSHH guidelines, the employer’s must ensure they:

  • Implement control measures to protect employees from chemical exposure
  • Provide employees with suitable training and instruction
  • Prevent or appropriately minimise hazardous exposure 
  • Ensure control measures are maintained at all times
  • Create an action plan for what to do in an emergency
  • Ensure employees working with hazardous chemicals are under health supervision 
  • Conduct a COSHH risk assessment 
  • Guarantee substances do not exceed the workplace exposure limit 

As you can see, there are many responsibilities as an employer to take into consideration when dealing with chemicals and other hazardous substances. Failure to follow these may result in an accident, prosecution, or fines. 

Employee responsibilities 

Alongside employer responsibilities, employees also have a duty of care when dealing with chemicals and other hazardous substances. Employees must:

  • Follow and make use of the guidelines and facilities provided by the employer 
  • Return and store equipment appropriately and safely
  • Wear PPE equipment (and store this correctly)
  • Report potential defects in the set out control measures from the employer
  • Correctly operate their PPE, for example, removing before eating to prevent contamination 
  • Follow health and hygiene guidelines

The employee responsibilities in regards to the control of substances hazardous to health are slightly less vigorous than those of the employer. However, essentially, the employee follows the set guidelines and responsibilities outlined by the employer, so it’s essential that a proper COSHH risk assessment is conducted before a project begins.

To read more on both the employer and employee’s responsibilities and more on general COSHH guidelines, click here.

To conclude 

Many workplaces store and work with harmful chemicals and substances on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the COSHH guidelines, ensuring your place of work complies with these for the safety of your staff, the public, and the legality of your business.

If you are still a little unsure of what COSHH is, you can take an elearning online COSHH training course, both as an employer or an employee. 

To find out more information regarding our online COSHH training course, click here.

PD Training are a professional training company based in Berkshire, but serving businesses nationwide. We provide practical (face to face) training and online training in Health and Safety, Plant Equipment and Material Handling Vehicles and Equipment.

For more information about our training, contact us on 01344 830015.

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