Control of Substances Hazardous to Health


COSHH regulations provide a structure to guard people in the workplace against health risks from hazardous materials, Substances which are used openly in the workplace such as chemicals or that arises due to process work such as: dusts, fumes and waste vapours.

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COSHH regulations are created by the Health and Safety Executive to guide employers and business owners regarding the correct control measure shall implement in their workplace to protect the manpower against the hazards affecting employees due to exposure to substances   containing chemicals, or produced fumes, dust emissions, chemical vapours, mists and gases, and biological agents.

According to the following case study it was identified that a fifty one year old fitter worked at a bakery for twenty years, he was not a smoker or had any history of asthma before he started work.

He complained of breathlessness, this was getting worse during the past fifteen years at work, his eyes frequently developed red and watery, he was suffering sneezing attacks also symptoms were not affected by the season of the year but it was noticed that they improved when he was away from work, Physician had previously diagnosed the fitter with asthma but had not connected this with his work, was the occupation union in charge who doubted  that he suffer from occupational asthma then after series of examinations presented that his lung function was significantly better at vacations. Further examinations indicated a flour dust allergy.

Due to these investigations management decided for him to work in not as much of dusty areas of the plant after that management of the bakery improved the flour dust extraction and supplied him with appropriate respiratory protective equipment, he was ideal at work using a respiratory protective equipment to reduce his exposure, and medication to improve his symptoms. However, his general respiratory health was not fit because of chronic asthma, for which he obtains disablement benefit. Investigations revealed that this was not the only victim. Two other cases of flour dust allergy were detected.

These workers have better health, because their developing asthmas were picked up more quickly. However, they still need medication to control their symptoms but they are likely to suffer from breathing problems for the rest of their lives.

The company was fined for breaching The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and for not following  Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations for not making adequate risk assessments, not preventing or controlling exposure of employees to chemicals, and for not providing any ‘health surveillance\' of employees at-risk. 

I was noticed from the case study that the main cause for the lung problems the workers suffered is the dust or flour dust emissions due to processing inside the bakery without monitoring the dust emissions caused during production for long periods of time. Absence of COSHH risk assessment was also noticed and no management commitment towards health and safety welfare of their workforce.

I would recommend that the company shall implement a health surveillance system, continuous monitoring by dating analysis of Air and taking samples from Air to identify the exposure limits among workers , control the flour dust in the atmospheres were the workers are working and reduce the exposure limits according to the dust levels in the bakers or factory secondly I would recommend dust control system to be applied in the workplace to reduce the dust emissions as well as it is important for continuous cleaning and applying mechanical techniques such as exhaustion systems to reduce the dust contained inside the factory 
Additionally COSHH risk assessment shall be conducted by a qualified person to identify what substances are being used beside flour dust that may also expose workers to the lung and health problems 

COSHH regulation analysis 

COSHH is the law that requires companies to control substances that are hazardous to health and includes nanomaterials by finding out what the wellbeing hazards  and deciding how to avoid harm to health 

COSHH regulations stipulate that employers control substances that are hazardous to health. The Health and Safety Executive advice that hazards are identified and the risks to health stemming from the hazards are assessed. One of the main points of the COSHH risk assessment is to recognize the actions that are to be used to avoid a hazard or reduce the level of risk associated with a hazard. Employers must ensure that exposure to hazardous substances is prevented if this is not reasonably practicable or sufficiently controlled.

A COSHH assessment focuses on the hazards and risks from hazardous substances in the working environment also it shall be in mind that wellbeing hazards are not restricted to substances labelled as \'hazardous\' but also harmful substances can be produced by the process you use such wood dust from sanding, or silica dust from tile cutting or flour dust as noticed on the case study

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