Hazardous Substances – Are You Putting Your Staff At Risk?

Hazardous Substances – Are You Putting Your Staff At Risk?

When it comes to hazardous substances and risk assessment awareness is key.

Many materials or substances used or created at work could damage health. 

These substances could be dusts, gases, fumes, liquids, gels or powders that come into contact with your eyes or skin

Harmful substances can be present in anything from paints and cleaners to flour dust, solder fume, blood or waste.

What Are The Hazards?

Some substances can cause asthma or other diseases, including cancer. Many can damage the skin, and some can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs.

The effect can be immediate, such as dizziness or stinging eyes, or can take many years to develop, such as lung disease.  Many of the long-term or chronic effects are not reversible.

What Do I Have To Do As An Employer?

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) requires you to adequately control exposure to materials that cause ill health by:

  • identifying which harmful substances may be present in the workplace
  • deciding how workers might be exposed to them and be harmed
  • looking at what measures you have in place to prevent this harm and deciding whether you are doing enough
  • providing information, instruction and training
  • in appropriate cases, providing health surveillance

The above actions can be systematically worked through by completing a COSHH risk assessment.

"control of hazardous substances online course"

If you would like any help with ensuring you comply with the COSHH Regulations, just contact us for guidance or take a Free Trial via our COSHH eLearning course by clicking here. (Just look for the symbol above for access.)

Sarah Mellor, Evolution International Ltd

Simple Steps to Writing a Health & Safety Policy

Simple Steps to Writing a Health & Safety Policy

Have you ever started to write a Health & Safety Policy for your company only to find yourself quickly out of your depth?

Thank to our extensive experience, we’ve put together some tips you can use to guide you.

We will explain why you need a Health & Safety Policy and what it should include. 

It does not need to be complicated or full of jargon.  Just follow the simple steps below:

Why Do You Need a Health & Safety Policy?

If you have five or more employees you must, by law, have a written health and safety policy.

What Is A Health & Safety Policy?

A health and safety policy is a written statement, which is specific to your business and should be in three parts:

  1. A general policy (statement of intent) explaining what you have in place for protecting the health and safety of your employees at work.
  • A section stating key individuals within your Company (or job titles), who have health and safety responsibilities and their responsibilities defined.  In small businesses, it is often one person who will take responsibility for co-ordinating health and safety.
  • Specific arrangements that you have within your Company ie:  Fire, First Aid, Training, Accident Investigation etc should be documented.

What Is A General Policy On Health & Safety?

This is a statement of your general aims with regard to your employee’s health and safety.  (Most people refer to the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974).

What Is The Organisation For Carrying OutTthe Policy?

Overall responsibility for health and safety rests firmly with the highest management.  However, ALL individuals within the workforce have to accept a certain duty for health and safety towards themselves and others who might be affected by their acts or omissions.

What Are The Arrangements For Health & Safety?

The arrangements section of your policy should outline how you will meet the commitment you have made in your statement of intent.  It should describe the systems you have in place for complying with various regulations, which apply to your business.

Communicate With Your Employees

And finally after you’ve done all of the hard work you must communicate you policy to all employees.

Hopefully, with the above simple steps, you can now revise your existing policy or write one from scratch. 

For A Free 15 Minute Audit To See How We Can Help You Evolve Your Team Call Us Today 03330 090 050

Sarah Mellor, Evolution International Ltd

5 Common Risk Assessment Mistakes – Do You Make Them?

5 Common Risk Assessment Mistakes – Do You Make Them?

The concept of risk assessment management has been around for many years.  It is alarming how many risk assessments we are asked to review which have fundamental sections missing, making the risk assessment ineffective.  Below are some common mistakes that we have come across:

1. Only Done Only For Legal Reasons

Yes they are a legal requirement for anyone who employs 5 or more employees, however they must add value and be of a benefit to your company by reducing risks and keeping your workforce safe.

2. Done From The Office

Many risk assessments are done from the office without physically assessing the area or activity.  This is when it’s highly likely that critical risks can be overlooked and therefore inadequate controls are implemented.

3. Focussing Only On Control Measures In Place

Of course you need to state what existing controls are in place, but more importantly you need to identify those controls that should be in place which aren’t.

4. No Priority Ranking

Because you need an overview of all of your risks and be able to prioritise the actions, you need to have a ranking system so high risk actions can be addressed first.

5. Not Specific To Your Company

More and more often we are seeing examples of risk assessments which have been purchased ‘off the shelf’ so companies can ‘tick the box’ stating they have risk assessments. 

However you need to remember the reason for undertaking risk assessments in the first place; to carefully examine what can go wrong in your company and what action needs to be implemented to avoid injury or ill health.  Therefore it is critical that risk assessments are suitable and sufficient ie: relevant to your company activities and specific.

For A Free 15 Minute Audit To See How We Can Help You Evolve Your Team Call Us Today 03330 090 050

Sarah Mellor, Evolution International Ltd

Are You Prepared For A Health & Safety Inspector Visit?

Are You Prepared For A Health & Safety Inspector Visit?

Many people dread the thought of a health and safety inspector visiting their workplace, however if you have been managing your health and safety risks, there is no need to be concerned.

A health and inspectors’ primary aim is to ensure your workplace meets the required standards to keep you, your employees and the general public safe. 

What Will The Visit Entail?

Health and safety law is enforced by HSE inspectors or by inspectors from your local authority.  Inspectors have the right to enter any workplace without giving notice and bring the police with them if they expect an obstruction.  On a normal inspection visit an inspector would expect to look at the workplace, the work activities, your management of health and safety, and to check that you are complying with health and safety law.   

What Action Can The Enforcing Authority Take?

On finding a breach of health and safety law, the inspector will decide what action to take.  The action will depend on the nature of the breach.  These enforcement measures can consist of the following:

  • Notification of contravention – A notification of contravention (NoC) is a document or letter that tells you about health and safety laws you’ve broken.  It also explains how you’v broken them.  A NoC will tell you what you need to do to stop breaking the law.  The inspector will only give you a NoC if they think you are in ‘material breach’ of the law.  This means the inspector thinks you have broken the law seriously enough for them to write to you about it.
  • Improvement notice – Where the breach of the law is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice to tell you to do something to comply with the law.  The notice will say what needs to be done, why, and by when. The inspector can take further legal action if the notice is not complied with within the specified time period.
  • Prohibition notice – Where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting the activity immediately or after a specified time period, and not allowing it to be resumed until remedial action has been taken.  The notice will explain why the action is necessary.
  • Prosecution – In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution.  They can prosecute you for breaking health and safety laws or for failing to comply with an improvement notice or a prohibition notice. The courts can fine you or in some cases send you to prison.

Additional Costs

If an inspector identifies one or more material breaches of the law during a visit to your workplace, you will be required to pay a fee based on the amount of time that the inspector has spent identifying the breach (currently set at £154 per hour per inspector!)

Health & Safety Compliance Made Simple 

Unlike most health and safety consultants we don’t hide behind paperwork and offer generic services, but offer a ‘hands on’ and ‘can do’ health and safety approach by providing jargon free advice which is specific to your company.

This has proved invaluable in growing our reputation as a health and safety provider.

For A Free 15 Minute Audit To See How We Can Help You Evolve Your Team Call Us Today 03330 090 050

Your partner in Health & Safety Compliance 

Sarah Mellor, Evolution International Ltd