Safety Spotlight: Asbestos Awareness & COSHH

As part of April’s Hazard of the Month, Hazardous Substances, we’re highlighting two key areas: Asbestos Awareness and Control of Hazardous Substances (COSHH).

Asbestos Awareness

asbestos statisticsEmployers must ensure that anyone who may disturb asbestos during their normal work, or anyone who supervises them, receives the correct level of information, instruction and training to enable them to work safely.

There are three main levels of information, instruction and training:

  • Asbestos awareness
  • Non-licensable work with asbestos including NNLW
  • Licensable work with asbestos

Asbestos Awareness is the most common, as this is intended to give workers and the information they need to avoid disturbing asbestos during any normal work, and so is relevant to those working in a wide range of industries.

Asbestos awareness information, instruction and training should cover:

  • Properties of asbestos and its effects on health
  • Types, uses, and likelihood of occurrence of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings and plant
  • General emergency procedures, such as an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace
  • Avoiding the risk of exposure to asbestos

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Control of Hazardous Substances (COSHH)

scientist holding a beaker filled with blue liquid with a warning label on itControl of Hazardous Substances (COSHH) refers to the law that states employers must take steps to control substances that are hazardous to health. Ideally, this would involve preventing exposure at the source, by avoiding using a hazardous substance, substituting it for something safer, or using a safer form of it – however this will not always be possible.

In this case, employers must ensure that the risk of harm is ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’, meaning that any implemented control measures are in good working order, exposures are kept below the Workplace Exposure Limit (if one exists), and exposures which cause extreme health conditions such as cancer, asthma or genetic damage are reduced as much as possible.

Steps employers can take include:

  • Assessing potential hazards to health
  • Carrying out risk assessments to decide on controls, and implement these
  • Ensure control measures are used and reviewed regularly
  • Making sure information, instruction and training is provided for employees
  • Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
  • Planning for emergencies

COSHH covers a wide range of substances that are hazardous to health. It is important to consider the many different forms these substances can take. These include:

  • Chemicals
  • Products containing chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dusts
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Nanotechnology
  • Gases and asphyxiating gases
  • Germs

Learn how to identify, control and protect against hazardous substances in our Control of Hazardous Substances (COSHH) online training! Save 10% for April only with the code ‘hazardous10’!

Asbestos Awareness and Control of Hazardous Substances (COSHH) training courses are essential tools in protecting your workers from the effects of harmful substances. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of April. Simply enter the code ‘hazardous10’ at checkout to save!

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