Identifying hazardous substances and steps you can take improve safety
Those exposed for long periods of time are generally more at risk than those exposed for short periods or to less hazardous substances.
Use the links below to find information and resources to help you identify the risk to employees and the precautions you can take.
Once you have identified any risk of exposure to your workers, you then need to consider how to protect them.
You should consider control measures, in the following order. These are known as a hierarchy of controls.
You should also ensure that
Even the best controls can fail at some point. It is important to plan and practice how to deal with accidents such as spills, and emergencies such as
You need to ensure that the control measures you put in place remain effective. This may mean that you need to carry out exposure monitoring involving taking air or biological samples.
If a risk of exposure remains you may need to carry out health checks. These could include skin checks for dermatitis or
health surveillance on exposed workers.
LEV is an engineering control system for reducing exposure to
Most systems will have the following.
If LEV is required, you should
Make sure that the introduction of LEV does not create other safety or health risks such as loud noise or reduced access.
You can find out more about LEV's on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site.
Visit the HSE site for more about LEV workplace fume and dust extraction
In the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) hierarchy of controls, use of RPE should not be the first or only precaution taken to protect your workforce. It is however a very good temporary precaution while you make arrangements for proper protection.
The equipment must
Long term use of RPE must only be considered when exposure cannot be adequately reduced by other means.
It is important that you chose the right RPE for the job, it must reduce exposure as low as reasonably practicable (below any applicable workplace exposure limits or other control limits).
RPE must fit the face of the wearer properly to be effective. Face-fit testing must be carried out to ensure the chosen face piece adequately fits and protects the wearer. This includes testing of full-face masks, half-face masks and disposable masks.
You can find out more about RPE, including the RPE selector tool, in our health risks - breathing guide.
Go to our breathing guide for more about RPE
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team