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What is a COSHH risk assessment?

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A Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations risk assessment is a mandatory requirement of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. It ascertains and attempts to reduce an employee or community member's risk of exposure to hazardous materials from a company in the United Kingdom, explains LRB Health and Safety Solutions.

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One approach to the assessment includes identifying what hazardous materials exist at a job location, determining the hazards associated with such workplace materials and then reducing the amount of hazardous materials at the location, notes LRB Health and Safety Solutions. So long as it is feasible, an employer should replace any hazardous materials with safer alternatives, determine the risk from the remaining materials, and execute and enforce appropriate control measures.

Another approach to the risk assessment follows four basic steps: identifying potential sources of exposure to harmful substances, recognizing the likely risks associated with the substances, distinguishing what tasks lead to exposure and discerning if there are any areas of concern, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Potential areas of exposure include places that emit dust, vapor, mist, gas or fumes, as well as those that result in skin exposure to pastes, dusts and liquids. To determine the ways that substances could be harmful, it is helpful to gather safety data sheets, read trade magazines and review the HSE website for a particular trade.

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