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COSHH Training

Nearly all workers, no matter what industry they are in, will face some form of COSHH risks. Short for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, the term comprises those substances which can cause short term or long term damage to a person's health. These substances can be in the form of dust, liquids, vapours, mists, gases etc, and as such can enter the body in different ways; the primary ones being ingestion, inhaling or absorption through the skin.

The dangers from hazardous substances are so serious and prevalent that along with dedicated COSHH courses the topic is also included on the syllabus of many different health and safety courses, including accredited ones such as the NEBOSH General Certificate for example which covers this and a variety of common health and safety hazards.

As well as the various states, the potential harm caused by substances can vary tremendously. Some may just cause a minor irritation or rash to the skin which will disappear after a few days, whereas others may be potentially life-threatening. The quantity will often play a big part in the potential danger level, and legislation has been brought in which sets workplace exposure limits (WELs) which state the maximum exposure levels. There are also hazardous substances which may not cause any problems if entering the body in small quantities on rare occasions. However, if these small quantities happen on a regular basis over time, the person could well find themselves suffering from ill-health later in life as a result of this prolonged exposure.

It is extremely important that workers understand the risks associated with the substances they may come into contact with whilst performing their work, as well as those that they should not normally encounter but are in close proximity (e.g. stored on the premises). Whilst it is easy to think COSHH only affects hazardous workplace environments where highly-toxic chemicals are used, the reality is that virtually every place of work has hazardous substances on the premises, even if they are fairly low-risk in terms of the potential damage to a person's health. For example, an office will contain substances such as cleaning products, printer toner, dusty storerooms etc. This means that pretty much every worker should attend a COSHH training course so that they are aware of the risks, and are trained in the correct storage, handling or avoidance of the substances. It is also important for managers and supervisors to receive COSHH training which helps them to understand the particular health and safety regulations and requirements that they have towards those working for them when it comes to harmful and hazardous substances.

Due to the wide variety of different substances, it is often impractical to run a general COSHH course. The best form of COSHH training is a bespoke course which is delivered to a group of employees from the same organisation and is tailored to deal with the specific substances and COSHH risks that they are likely to encounter at work.

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