How to spread awareness of the COSHH hazards in your workplace

Being compliant with the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations) is not the only reason your workplace should understand the symbols for. Whilst compliance is important, making sure your workers know the different symbols and what they represent has been shown to decrease the likelihood of incidents and increase the quality of organisational safety culture. It helps make workers aware of potential incidents and the dangers of handling certain substances. Encouraging awareness of the COSHH symbols will help you to reduce the number and potential severity of the incidents in your workplace. Keep reading to find out how you can help spread awareness of COSHH in your workplace.

  • Make sure the COSHH symbols are clear and visible

Human beings are often said to be products of their environment, and you can harness this phenomenon when it comes to increasing your worker’s compliance with COSHH. Include posters and signage throughout the workplace that illustrates where a dangerous hazard maybe and a full breakdown of the different symbols and their relevant indications.

  • Include information on the COSHH symbols in welcome packs

If you are working in a physical environment it might be worth instilling the importance of COSHH early on. This can be done by including a breakdown of the symbols in any materials you give a new worker. This is particularly useful in construction and factory-based work however it might alienate other workers in less safety-critical industries. This helps to educate staff from the start about how your company deals with the COSHH regulations.

  • Educate staff on the importance of COSHH

Education is a key tool when it comes to encouraging more uptake of health and safety-related activities. Try to create a learning environment where employees feel comfortable asking about the importance of COSHH. This can be done through regular meetings and positive reinforcement. Health and safety specific training may also be another string to your bow when it comes to educating staff. Try to keep the level of the training appropriate to the role of the person undertaking it.

  • Encourage workers who take steps to control hazards

Positive reinforcement can help when it comes to getting more people on board with following the COSHH regulations. If a worker acknowledged the presence of the hazard and alters their workflow to compensate for it, this is behaviour that should be encouraged. Developing these safety leaders within the workplace will help increase the amount of staff that self-police the following of the COSHH regulations.

Why is COSHH important to implement

Whilst many fail to see the importance of following the COSHH regulations stringently, failure to do so could lead to workers being needlessly exposed to hazards which may cause death or serious injury. Additionally, not having a good understanding of the regulations could leave you open to legal action in the future. COSHH helps keep workers safe by encouraging the developing of safe systems to work in by process and procedure. Getting these ideas across to employees should reinforce the importance of the COSHH regulations.

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Meredith Weisser

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