Working in healthcare can pose a variety of hazards, with 72,000 injuries taking place in the health and social care sector each year. To help guard against accidents, there are a variety of regulations in place which you’ll need to follow, including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations.
Understanding the ins and outs of regulations such as COSHH can be tricky, so to help you get to grips with what you need to do, we’ve compiled this quick guide to COSHH regulations. Read on below to learn more about what the regulations mean, why COSHH training is important, and what you need to do to comply.
COSHH regulations are legal requirements for employers to protect staff from substances which could put their health at risk. For example, in a care home or hospital, this could mean protecting them from chemicals, drugs or bodily fluids.
These regulations are governed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and are taken very seriously. Failure to comply with regulations could result in fines, or even imprisonment. In one case, for example, a company was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs, after they exposed employees to hazardous chemicals which caused serious skin problems.
Whichever branch of healthcare you work in, adhering to COSHH regulations is a must, and it’s important to ensure that everyone on your team is clued up on how COSHH affects their individual roles.
Complying with COSHH regulations involves taking a number of steps, including:
To comply with the law, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on anything which could be a potential hazard. As part of this, you will need to monitor the products you buy and any potential hazards which could arise from their use.
Staff who use chemicals with hazard warning labels as part of their roles will need to get training on what the labels mean (for instance, the difference between corrosive and toxic substances), as well as gaining an understanding of potential risks and necessary precautions to take.
Here at Care Shop, we publish COSHH sheets for all products which have the potential to cause hazards, so you can understand how each product fits into your COSHH compliance plans.
As outlined above, one aspect of complying with COSHH regulations is the implementation of training for your staff. COSHH training is important for any member of staff who may face hazards in their role, for two main reasons.
Firstly, by providing training on how to use protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses properly, you can rest assured that staff will feel confident in how to use them correctly, helping to keep the risk of accidents to a minimum.
Secondly, by training your wider workforce on the importance of monitoring hazards, you will be able to work as a team to identify hazards and handle them. New hazards can appear at any time, so by training up your team to a high standard, you’ll know that they’ll always be prepared to deal with any risks.
Under the COSHH regulations, it is vital to provide your staff with protective equipment if they are likely to face hazardous substances. Here at Care Shop, we stock a variety of healthcare PPE supplies such as aprons, medical masks and safety goggles, along with a wide range of disposable gloves to suit all purposes. Next day delivery is free on orders over £75, so why not get prepared and stock up on everything you need?