What Does COSHH Mean in Cleaning
Updated: May 4
A good few months ago I mentioned a case where an office cleaner died from Chlorine gas exposure.
The gas was produced through a chemical reaction when the poor guy, not knowing the dangers, mixed two different cleaning chemicals.
It's clear, and unfortunate, that the cleaner didn't have the training or information to be safely using the chemicals he used to do his job daily.
He should have known that mixing the two chemicals together would be dangerous.
It says so right on their respective safety data sheets.
Because of this sad story, I've been looking into the guidelines that directs cleaners, and those employing them, how to properly handle and use chemicals.
And there are guidelines out there, given by the HSE.
But shockingly, it seems they're not compulsory:
Of course, they also subtlety imply that if you don't follow these guidelines you will be breaking the law.
So, I'm going to go over those guidelines and best practices.
So that you can better ensure your own safety, or that of your employees and your business, while cleaning.
First, it's vital to understand that preventing exposure is the best possible way to avoid injury.
Most chemicals are an irritant to human health.
But, not every job or substance can be controlled in the same way.
That's why it's critical that risk assessments are taken, of the area you are cleaning and of the chemicals themselves and how they will react with the environment, or each other.
Use good working technique to further avoid or at least, minimize, contact with hazardous substances.
It's also very important to store chemicals as directed by their safety data sheet and the risk assessment taken.
This will further reduce risk by minimizing accidents or spillages.
Personal protective equipment is also vital, especially when using chemicals, but even having your hands dripping with water for too long can irritate the skin eventually leading to dermatitis.
PPE is the last control measure an employer can take.
If PPE is required for the job, it means that the risk of damage to your health is real.
So please, be careful, conduct proper risk assessments and please, please use your protective equipment.
Are you worried that you do not have the correct training to be using cleaning chemicals on a daily basis?
Join me for the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™ where I will teach you all you need to know to ensure your safety when cleaning.