What is a COSHH Form?
COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) assessments are legally required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations as most businesses create or use hazardous substances in some way.
Health and safety documents are required in virtually all types of businesses to comply with health and safety regulations. They offer straightforward advice provided in factsheets that are called control guidance sheets. These come in two types:
- Industry-specific direct advice sheets
- Generic control guidance sheets
COSHH assessment forms list and detail all hazardous materials and substances and controls any exposure to them. They specify all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), hazard levels and health risks, and applicable emergency measures and first aid. They list fire details, provide spillage information, and address environmental issues. Companies in the UK can use the Health and Safety Executive's COSHH e-tool to facilitate the use of these documents.
COSHH forms will evaluate risks associated with hazardous substances like:
- Chemicals (and products that contain chemicals
- Fumes generated by processes and applications
- Dust, vapors, fumes, and mists produced during industrial processes
- Risks associated with nanotechnology and nanomaterials
- Gases and asphyxiating gases agents
- Biological agents like germs
- Bacterial agents like microbes can cause diseases, such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease
In this article, the following points are explained:
1. How to choose and complete a COSHH form
2. COSHH risk assessment examples
3. How to conduct COSHH assessments digital
How to choose and complete a COSHH form
Choosing the correct COSHH assessment form will depend on what industry your business falls into and which harmful substances occur in your workplace. You will need to check the direct advice sheets listed by industry to see which ones apply to the processes and tasks in your enterprise, and the COSHH e-tool can help do so.
The various industries listed are as follows:
- Agriculture and farming
- Brick and tile
- Flour, which includes milling and baking
- Metalworking and the chemicals used in it
- Manufacturing silica
- Motor and all vehicle repair
- Service and retail
In order to complete a COSHH assessment form correctly, you will need to perform the following steps:
- Collect comprehensive information on all the substances you use in your work practices. This will include getting all the necessary manufacturer's safety data sheets, or MSDSs, for all the substances that you are assessing.
- You must evaluate all the health risks and the levels of exposure that your employees are subject to.
- Take all steps to implement all the appropriate control measures necessary to eliminate or reduce exposure to hazardous substances as far as is practically possible.
- Record all your findings meticulously and implement the specified control measures.
- After that, monitor performance closely and review your assessment on an ongoing basis.
COSHH risk assessment examples
COSHH Assessment Forms vary significantly depending on your industry. To illustrate, we have listed two COSHH risk assessment examples, one for a garden center and one for a warehouse environment.
However, all COSHH forms have the following steps in common:
- Identifying the various hazards, what harm can be done, and who can potentially be affected.
- Assess what is being done already.
- Identify what improvements need to be implemented.
COSHH risk assessment example for a garden center
Possible hazards identified include:
- Breathing in germs from water features like fountains or ponds - possible lung infections in staff and customers:
Skin contact with water housing tropical fish - possible skin infection danger to staff and visitors:
- Water should be disinfected with bleach once a week.
- A deep clean every spring and autumn when the pond or water feature is emptied.
- Respirators should be used by all employees doing this cleaning.
- Chlorine levels should be above 5 ppm.
- Do regular dip slides to check dosing and levels.
- Maintain records of readings.
Skin contact with floor cleaning products - possible skin damage or dermatitis to employees:
- Perform regular skin checks.
- Ensure the pump is switched off before tank lids are opened.
- Ensure safe cleaning products and suitable quality protective gloves and long-handled mops are used.
- Ensure respirators are available if needed and staff is trained to use them.
- Monitor staff health and days off sick in case there's a broader problem.
- Do ongoing dip slides assessments of chlorine and water quality levels.
- Ensure good record keeping.
- Do ongoing staff training, including emergency plan procedures.
- Ensure reasonable procedures are in place regarding unsupervised children and prevent any falls, slips, or trips from occurring.
- Ensure comprehensive security systems are in place.
COSHH risk assessment example for a warehouse
Possible hazards identified include:
- Hazards posed by battery acid for electrical picker truck workers, maintenance staff, and the night watchman:
- Skin contact
- Breathing in fumes and mist
- Burns from acid
- Possible lung irritation from the mist
Preventative measures to be implemented:
- Rubber aprons, gauntlets, and eye protection for acid handling
- Spill containment and the necessary clean-up equipment
- Respiratory vapor protection (RPE) to be worn.
- Training of all employees on the use of respirators and dangers of skin contact.
- Use of long-handled rollers, protective gloves, and coveralls.
- Safe disposal of all rollers and gloves after use.
- All doors and windows are to be open during the application process to ensure adequate ventilation.
How to conduct COSHH assessments digital
Conducting COSHH assessments is an important and extensive task that can be a burden on inspectors due to the paperwork involved. Switching to mobile inspection software like Lumiform is a relief for your business. You can streamline COSHH assessment processes, saving time and resources. You'll also have access to a reliable database to help you avoid injuries or adverse health effects from harmful chemicals
Lumiform is a powerful app and desktop software for inspections, audits, and assessments. With it, say goodbye to paperwork and devour your documentation by creating and sending all reports digitally. All your data is always securely stored in the cloud. A digital tool for COSHH assessments gives you the following options:
- The flexible form builder helps you turn any individual paper list into digital checklists within minutes.
- Using the intuitive mobile app, you can take any assessment in the field with your teammates in a foolproof, time-saving way.
- Staff and security teams also capture, assess and report hazards instantly via the app.
- Schedule periodic COSHH assessments, and receive notifications of upcoming asessments or when they are overdue.
- All COSHH results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to other responsible persons .
- The COSHH assessments reports are securely stored in the cloud, creating a record of all hazards and risks that can be reliably accessed from anywhere at any time, without the need for storage space.