Do Cleaners Need COSHH Training?
Updated: May 4
If there are hazardous substances present in your workplace, then you are putting peoples health at risk.
As the employer, it's your duty under COSHH to adequately control any risk, prevent or reduce exposure, and provide your workers with enough information and training to allow them to stay safe while working for you.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 are a set of legal directives that require employers to control those substances which present any kind of health risk in and around your workplace.
What hazardous substances am I likely to find?
Hazardous substances are present in almost every workplace in the world and can be part of one of four categories.
chemicals you purchase and use as part of a work process,
hazardous substances you produce as a by-product of a work process,
substances that occur naturally.
As the employer, then, you are obligated to ensure your employees receive any relevant information and instruction with regards to COSHH training and every hazardous substance they may come into contact with.
This training and instructing is the last step in the COSHH regulations and is vitally important.
Ensuring your employees are able to identify a hazard and instantly understand the risks associated with it and the hazardous substances they use will go a long way to keeping your workplace and your workers safe.
If your employees have no idea which substances present health risks and how to safely use them or the control measures you implement to keep them safe from harm, then you are running an exercise in futility.
For this reason, providing - at the very least - basic training in COSHH principles and awareness will ensure your employees are able to avoid situations that would put them in harm's way, keeping them safe and healthy.
What COSHH training do my employees need?
To reiterate, COSHH requires you to do everything within your power to ensure your employees have the information, instruction and training they need to stay safe at work.
Make sure they know why it's important that they have to work in a specific way, using the controls you put into place. Make sure they understand that you're implementing the control measures to protect them.
Motivate them to want to work in a way that ensures their own safety, and that of their colleagues.
What specific information do I need to give my employees?
The name of every substance they will come into contact with, or be exposed to,
the risks associated with the substance, any special measures they should take to ensure their own, and others, safety,
all the relevant information from a substances safety data sheets,
how to check their PPE for defects, and use it properly,
the workplace exposure limits assigned to any hazardous substances they will come into contact with, or be exposed to,
any of the results from your workplace monitoring program,
any relevant health surveillance results,
any emergency procedures, including their specific role.
When you provide this information, it's not enough to just hand out printed sheets documenting everything they need to know. You need to sit down with them and ensure they understand each and every part of it.
You should feel comfortable that your employees know what the dangers of the hazardous substances they face are, and how to avoid injury when using them.
When training your employees, you should include any relevant information pertaining to the substances they will use, including their safety data sheet and the results of your COSHH assessment.
The safety data sheet contains much of the hazard information your employees need to know and your COSHH assessment will let them know how you plan to control the risk they face while doing their work.
Continual COSHH training is important
Keep in mind that with every change you make in your workplace, new training is required.
This includes significant changes to the workplace itself or a specific work activity. If you change the chemical you use for an activity, or if there are other changes, you need to inform, instruct and train your employees to properly use the new hazardous substances, and any new controls you implement.
Keep COSHH training records
Ensuring you keep up-to-date training records for your employees allows you to quickly and easily see who is trained in what, and set goals for future training of specific skills.
They're a big help in matching competent staff to work which requires higher skill levels and identifying any training gaps you may have in your company.
Making sure your people are trained for COSHH in cleaning will ensure that everyone who works for you understands how to work safely and with as little exposure to hazardous substances as possible. Have them take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™.