As the provider of Janitorial Products we have put together some information and a short Power Point presentation, to help our customers better understand their duties and responsibilities in relation to the safe use of cleaning products and to help them comply with COSHH.
In order for us to do this, we will need to look at the regulations covering the use of hazardous substances, namely COSHH and CHIP Regulations.
The way in which manager’s deal with the risks associated with these substances varies from company to company. This Blog is designed to help you understand the statutory obligation placed on your own company to provide a thorough and comprehensive COSHH Risk Assessment.
The management of risks within all industries is covered within the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Within this piece of legislation, specific guidelines apply to the safe use of hazardous substances. These are:
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.
Using chemicals or hazardous substances at work can put people’s health at risk, so the law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. They have to protect both employees and others who may be exposed by complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
COSHH is a useful tool of good management which sets basic measures that employers and sometimes employees, must take. These help individuals to assess risks, implement any measures to control exposure and establish good working practices.
Chemicals (Hazards Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002 (CHIP) compliment the COSHH regulations and place a duty on the supplier of chemical-based products to ensure their customers are provided with the information they need to protect themselves, others and the environment.
This is achieved by means of Safety Data Sheets and packaging labels for all products. In fact, Jangro, unlike most suppliers, also provides customers with this information in the form of a comprehensive CD-ROM.
What is Covered?
Under COSHH there is a range of substances regarded as hazardous to health: Substances used directly in work activities classified as dangerous to health under the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations. These can be identified by their warning label such as toxic, corrosive, irritant and harmful. The supplier must provide a safety data sheet for them.
Substances generated during work activities, like fumes, for which the law has prescribed workplace exposure limits.
Naturally occurring substances e.g. grain dust, if its average concentration in the air exceeds the levels specified in COSHH.
Biological agents such as bacteria and other micro-organisms, if they are directly connected with the work e.g. healthcare establishments.
In the case of cleaning products, it is generally considered good practice to cover all products containing any chemical. This is particularly important in areas where there are vulnerable people present who are much more likely to disregard or misunderstand any warning information on labels.
It should be pointed out that although some products contain substances that are considered hazardous, if they are used correctly and safely, the hazards associated with them are significantly reduced, if not removed completely.
Hazard Warning Symbols
Here are some of the hazardous warning symbols that you will meet. They all comprise of an orange box in which is found a black symbol. There are different symbols for different types of danger
The first is a black cross. There are in fact two symbols with a black cross. These indicate Irritant and harmful. Such products may cause itching or irritation. In extreme cases they can cause rashes or blotches on the skin. Fumes can also cause irritation to the respiratory tract.
Flammable products are most commonly associated with pressurised containers such as aerosols. More often than not the product itself may not be flammable more so the propellant gases contained within them.
Toxic – These are products which can cause death or chronic damage to health if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. None of our products, however, are considered to be toxic although if ingested they can cause internal damage. This is due mainly to misuse of the chemicals and does not mean the products have to be registered as poisons.
Oxidising agents will react with acids and should not be stored close to them. Also, sanitising powders can contain oxidising agents which, if mixed with bleach, can lead to the emission of chlorine gas which can be deadly.
N.B. There are new international hazard symbols and warning and precautionary phrases that are to be used on labels which will eventually replace the danger signs, risk and safety phrases above. There will be a transitional period as these are gradually phased in. The changes have to be completed by Dec 2010 for substances and by December 2015 for preparations. As nearly all manufacturers are currently using the old symbols I have concentrated on these, but below you will find the new symbols.
New CLP symbols
You’ll see that the harmful symbol is missing. This has been replaced by the exclamation mark pictogram:
This pictogram will refer to less serious health hazards such as skin irritancy / sensitisation.
This pictogram reflects serious longer term health hazards such as carcinogenicity and respiratory sensitisation.
This pictogram means “Contains gas under pressure”
In the second part of this Blog I will look closely at the Safety Data Sheet and in detail at Risk Assessments and your legal responsibilities under COSHH. Read the part 2 & 3 of this blog by following the links below
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