COSHH Risk Assessments

3 mins

Posted on 28 Jan 2014

Where an employer employs five or more employees, it has an obligation to record the significant findings of its COSHH risk assessment.

Regulation 6 of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (“the Regulations”) requires an employer not to carry out work which is liable to expose any employees to any substance hazardous to health unless:

  • a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to employees’ health created by that work has been carried out;
  • the steps needed to comply with the Regulations have been identified; and 
  • those steps have been put into operation.

Content of the COSHH risk assessment

The risk assessment must include consideration of:

  • the hazardous properties of the substance;
  • information on health effects provided by the supplier, including information contained in any relevant safety data sheet;
  • the level, type and duration of exposure;
  • the circumstances of the work, including the amount of the substance involved;
  • activities where there is the potential for a high level of exposure, such as maintenance;
  • any relevant workplace exposure limit or similar occupational exposure limit;
  • the effect of preventive and control measures which have been or will be taken in accordance with regulation 7 of the Regulations;
  • the results of relevant health surveillance;
  • the results of monitoring of exposure in accordance with regulation 10 of the Regulations;
  • in circumstances where the work will involve exposure to more than one substance hazardous to health, the risk presented by exposure to such substances in combination;
  • the approved classification of any biological agent; and
  • such additional information as the employer may need in order to complete the risk assessment.

The risk assessment should take into account those substances which are:

  • brought into the workplace and handled, stored and used for processing;
  • produced or emitted, e.g. as fumes, vapour dust etc, by a process or an activity, or as a result of an accident or incident;
  • used for, or arising from, maintenance, cleaning and repair work;
  • produced at the end of any process, eg wastes, residues, scrap etc; and
  • produced from activities carried out by another employer’s employees in the vicinity.

Review of the COSHH Risk Assessment

The risk assessment should be reviewed regularly if:

  • there is reason to suspect that the risk assessment is no longer valid;
  • there has been a significant change in the work to which the risk assessment relates; or
  • the results of any monitoring show it to be necessary.

We can help you with carrying out your COSHH risk assessment. Please contact Sally Beck for further information.

Further information on COSHH risk assessments is available on the HSE website.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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