Completing COSHH Assessments.
Chemical protection is a work hazard affecting hundreds of thousands of workers from hairdressers and cleaning contractors to food and construction companies. Still to date there are many accidents reported, because employers and employees are not fully aware of the possible risks of misusing or the lack of use of appropriate precautions and PPE.
When working with chemicals, there are many situations when risks are not considered (completing COSHH assessments) and accidents at the workplace could occur.
(Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice on completing COSHH assessments or any other health and safety query)
Sometimes a potent chemical could penetrate the skin causing permanent damage even through small insignificant paper cuts. occasionally, it could lead to highly damaging substances entering the body and creating a tumour, cancer or even amputation.
The correct procedure when working with chemicals sometimes have to include the use of aprons, protective shoes, goggles and hats, as well as gloves which are usually a basic essential piece of PPE. Proper selection of PPE should take into consideration the wearer, the workplace conditions and the type of work to be done.
Hand and arm injuries are still the most common safety cases at the workplace. Most of the accidents involving unappropriated use of gloves or other type of PPE occur in industries, where the so-called weak acids are used such in hairdressing or cleaning. A degree of naivety is involved in thinking that, just because a chemical doesn't create and immediate problem, it isn't dangerous. The annual spend on personnel protective gloves in UK is about thirty million pounds. They are widely used among different industries, with prices ranging between 25p ut to £60. Chemical agents are considered to be all liquids, solids, gases, vapours aerosols, fumes, dusts and fibres, and the correct PPE is essential when working with any of these.
Employers have to raise awareness among the employees when chemicals are involved in day-to-day work tasks, is absolutely necessary to use the right protection, ensure employees are completing COSHH assessments and not be confident and think that because the same tasks were performed for ages and ages there is no need for use of protection. Regular training sessions and continually looking for the best possible protection materials, when working with chemicals are obligations of the employer in order to reduce the exposure and risks.
When chemicals are involved in the work process, always have to remember to ensure any staff involved are completing a COSHH assessment to determine what PPE may be required.
How often should you replace PPE?
There are three ways on which protective gloves would fail permeation, which is the process by a chemical agent migrates through the glove at a molecular level, penetration occurs when chemicals pass through imperfections in the glove and degradation, which is a damaging change in the quality of the glove as a result of a long exposure to the chemical agent. So choosing the correct type of protecting glove and an early detection of deterioration are essential for the health and safety of the employee. When working with strong acids there is normally one choice of specific protection gloves, usually recommended by the chemicals' maker and this also depends on the exposure of the employee. When weak acids are involved in the work process, there tend to be several suitable choices for protection, however they don't have to be less careful about these chemicals, because many practical cases show that more accidents happened when using weak acids, because completing COSHH assessments is deemed not appropriate.
It is a employer's legal duty to provide the employees with the most appropriate PPE for the tasks in hand, according to the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (1999).
Guidance and health and safety advice could always be provided by health and safety consultants or managers, (Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice) and correct training should be given to employees of how to use, detect deterioration and dispose of the PPE once work has finished.
As usual when talking about health and safety in the workplace, people should comply with the regulations, but also use their common sense.
If in doubt ASK (Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice on Completing COSHH assessments)