COSHH Control Measures

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Optimising Workplace Safety Through Effective Control Measures

Implementing the right mix of control measures is essential for reducing exposure to hazards. This involves a synergy between equipment and operational methodologies. Without proper usage, even the most practical measures may fail. Therefore, it's imperative to combine the right equipment with the appropriate procedures, ensuring that workers are well-instructed, trained, and supervised.

Establishing Effective Control Measures

Continual effectiveness is key — control measures must be efficient throughout the entire workday. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outlines a hierarchy of control measures prioritised as follows:

  • Elimination: Substitute harmful products or substances with safer alternatives.
  • Substitution: Opt for safer forms of the product, e.g., paste over powder.
  • Process Modification: Adapt processes to reduce substance emission.
  • Enclosure: Contain the process to prevent product escape.
  • Localised Extraction: Remove substance emissions at the source.
  • Minimisation of Exposure: Limit the number of exposed workers.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Provide essential PPE like gloves, coveralls, and respirators, ensuring proper fit.

Understanding Control Equipment

Control equipment varies widely, from ventilation systems that extract dust, mist, and fumes, to specialised enclosures like glove boxes and fume cupboards. The use of water to minimise dust and disinfection systems for cooling water are also crucial. It's vital that suppliers provide a comprehensive user manual for each piece of equipment, detailing maintenance schedules and parts replacement. In absence of such manuals, professional assistance should be sought to develop one.

Maintenance of Control Measures

Maintaining control measures is crucial for ongoing safety. Employers are responsible for ensuring that both the equipment and procedural aspects of control measures remain functional. Appointing a dedicated individual to oversee the maintenance and functionality of control measures is advised. This is especially important for local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and personal protective equipment (PPE), where regular checks and maintenance are vital for their effectiveness.