Now you know the risk posed by the substances in your workplace and the nature of exposure, choose control measures to prevent or adequately control exposure.
When considering control measures, think about how you can reduce the likelihood of exposure and the harm and consequences if exposure occurs. Include control measures for emergency situations as well. It's recommended you consider control measures in order of priority and effectiveness.
- Eliminate the substance. If you don’t need it or don’t use it, safely remove it from the workplace.
- Substance substitution. This is using alternative substances that are less hazardous or using another process that doesn’t create a hazardous form.
- Engineering controls that enclose the process using full and partial enclosures.
- Extract emissions at source, for example, local exhaust ventilation (LEV). LEV needs periodic thorough examination and testing and records kept.
- Limit the number of people in harm’s way as much as possible. This can be authorised people only and permit to work procedures.
- Provide personal protective equipment.
- Training for employees. The people at risk get the right information at the right time to stay safe. Refresher training.
You will also need to consider what else is required to make sure your control measures are maintained, inspected and replaced when they are damaged or expired. In some cases, you will need to arrange for monitoring to be carried out to ensure your control measures are working well.
Health surveillance involves ongoing health checks designed to detect ill-health effects from specific identified hazards. It is required when:
- there is a disease associated with the substance in use (e.g. Asthma, Dermatitis, Cancers);
- it is possible to detect the disease or adverse change and reduce the risk of further harm;
- the conditions in the workplace make it likely that the disease will appear.
If you use or create substances that are respiratory or skin sensitisers or potential carcinogens, health surveillance will be required unless control measures are robust enough to prevent exposure. If you rely on personal protective equipment to control exposure, health surveillance will be required.
Your COSHH risk assessment should identify whether health surveillance is required. Find out more about the types of health surveillance required and the purpose of health surveillance.
If you need help with COSHH risk assessment you can contact the Health and Safety Advisory Service.
If you think you may need health surveillance for your hazardous substances email the Occupational Health Service email@example.com for advice.