Is COSHH Part of Health and Safety?
Updated: May 4
I find it shocking that people are still asking this question.
And, yes. Somebody asked me about it again over the weekend.
It's now 2020 and people are still not certain?
I mean health and safety laws (which, yes includes COSHH) were put into place many years ago to protect employees from injuries and accidents at work.
Let's go over Health and Safety law first.
There are two governmental bodies that deal with health and safety at work and they are - the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
They're there to make sure employees and those affected by work processes are properly protected.
To do this the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was created to provide a legal framework to ensure high standards of health and safety in the work place.
The Health and Safety Commission
The HSC are responsible for the general policy on health and safety in the workplace and advising on proper standards and regulations. Those regulations are based on UK and EC directives, and become law when they're approved by Parliament.
They also provide us with the information we need to properly educate employers of their duties to their employees, and also employees of their responsibilities to their employer and the business.
The employees role in ensuring health and safety at work is just as important as an employers.
The Health and Safety Executive
The HSE on the other hand is responsible for the enforcement of those regulations, and advising businesses on occupational health matters. They also create awareness leaflets on health and safety related matters in the workplace.
On top of the leaflets they also create 'Codes of Practice' which are intended to help everyone understand the dangers and conform to the Health and Safety law.
The HSE will be the ones who fine you and lock you away for intentionally breaching those laws and regulations. It happens quite often, unfortunately.
They have the power to inspect your workplace, whether it's a factory or a farm; they have the power to investigate cases of ill health due to exposure and accidents in the workplace.
They also possess the power to order your employers to make improvements to a work sites health and safety control measures if they're not up to regulation. And they will prosecute if the correct improvements are not made.
It scares me how often I hear of self-employed people thinking they can take a more relaxed approach to health and safety. Especially when those self-employed people are employers others to work for them.
Not only are they willingly endangering their own health, they're also willingly endangering the lives of their workers and that is unspeakable.
Willing disregard for even the tiniest of health and safety issues can lead to death, or in the least, a severe injury or disfigurement.
And not only is it dangerous. It becomes extremely expensive for you when something inevitably does go wrong.
It's only an accident if you or your workers don't know there is an issue at hand.
If the issue is known, and ignored, that's when the HSE will step in and completely dismantle your business, fine you and lock you away.
The Management of Heath and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations were introduced in 1992 and are meant to further ensure conformity with health and safety law.
Both Acts place a demand on businesses and individuals to properly, as far as is possible, ensure sufficient provision is made for the health and safety of their workers.
So, is COSHH part of Health and Safety?
Of course it is!
I've already gone over COSHH - you can find that here - but I will briefly outline the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health here.
COSHH is a set of regulations put into place to protect workers from dangerous chemicals. They encompass a wide range of toxic, corrosive, or harmful substances - the very substances that almost every business that has ever existed use on a daily basis.
The COSHH regulations apply to basically everyone, are a legal requirement and are vitally important for workplace health and safety.
Whether you are self-employed, an employer or an employee. The responsibility is on you and me and everyone else to ensure the protection of our health and safety.
If you're worried that you don't know enough about COSHH and the Health and Safety of your employees or your workmates, you can take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™.