What is COSHH?

Health & Safety

20th May 2019 | Info

There are many hazardous substances that we work within the tree industry. As such, it is important that we know and understand the potential risks and health issues that can be caused by the substances that we use or may come into contact with within our field.

What is a hazardous substance?

A hazardous substance is one that could cause harm or irritation to ourselves, others or the environment. They include fuels, oils, chemicals, pesticides and preservatives.

How can businesses control hazardous substances?

A master list of all hazardous substances used by a business should be maintained and held on file. This list should be reviewed and updated annually, or as other/new substances are added to your inventory.

Substances that are considered for use should be assessed and, where possible, less harmful substances should be used. Assessments and details of safety precautions should be kept on file and where the substances are stored and used.

For each hazardous substance used by a business, there should be a detailed COSHH Risk Assessment and the relevant Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

COSHH Assessment

A COSHH assessment is a document that includes information about the hazardous substance, safety precautions to be taken when using this substance, and other information such as: supplier information, descriptions of appearance and odour of the substance, symptoms of exposure to the substance, the health hazards caused by the substance, PPE required when handling the substance, and more.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

A Material Safety Data Sheet is a system for recording chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. It contains information such as: spill requirements, disposal requirements, ecological considerations, transport information and toxicological information about a specific substance.

Pesticides and other hazardous substances

As well as the above, pesticides (including herbicides), insecticides and preservatives also have specific requirements. They must be stored securely, in their original containers, and their usage must be recorded. Pesticides should only be mixed by trained, qualified personnel.

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