Monitoring Exposure: The Role Regulation 10 Plays in Robust COSHH Management
“COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health.”
The COSHH cycle is made up of various elements which form the basis of compliance with legislation and continuous improvement, ensuring effective COSHH management and, in turn, safe and healthy workers.
Through following the requirements of COSHH, employers can ensure that control measures are implemented and risks are minimised. These requirements include Monitoring and Maintenance, Training, and Management and Assessment.
We’ll be working our way through each aspect of the COSHH cycle to outline its importance, starting with Regulation 10, which falls under the Monitoring and Maintenance process and is a fundamental aspect of ensuring that workers remain safe in the workplace.
The Importance of Regulation 10 in the workplace
The COSHH cycle comprises of a Formal Assessment, or Regulation 6, which enables employers to identify processes that may cause exposure to hazardous substances. Regulation 10 places the responsibility on the employer to review the results of the assessment and decide if any monitoring is needed, or whether existing control measures need to be addressed to reduce exposure to acceptable levels.
Employers have a moral obligation and legal duty to protect employees from the risks that they face in the workplace. Failure to adequately control exposure to substances which can cause injury or illness following a formal assessment can lead to:
- Prosecution under the COSHH regulations
- Civil claims from employees
- Reduced productivity for your business
Monitoring exposure is critical to keeping employees safe and complying with legislation.
Monitoring the exposure of hazardous substances: An employer’s responsibility
Monitoring exposure is a fundamental legislative requirement for employers to meet. If exposure to hazardous substances occurs in the workplace, be it from inhalation, ingestion or skin contact, employers will need to carry out a programme of monitoring. This will ensure that subsequent remedial control measures are working effectively and, therefore, demonstrate that control is adequate in the workplace.
While exposure cannot be eliminated completely in certain circumstances, it’s essential that employers do their utmost to minimise risks. Regulation 10 plays a key part in ensuring that employers comply with the Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs). COSHH regulations state that the WELs must not be exceeded, therefore monitoring the exposure to hazardous substances is a vital process as it’s the only way to identify if WELs are being adhered to.
If the levels are exceeded, additional control measures need to be implemented to ensure that workers are only exposed to levels that will not have adverse health effects. These control measures include:
- Using control equipment, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)
- Implementing a safer way of working, including supervision and training
- Promoting safe behaviour at work so that employees follow the control measures.
Regulation 10 is an aspect of the COSHH cycle that identifies high exposure levels in the workplace, so you can protect the health of your employees. Without application of this regulation, employees may be at risk of irreversible health conditions, particularly in fast-paced, ever-changing workplaces.
By following the COSHH cycle, you can ensure that all necessary control measures are implemented and operating effectively.
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