Contractors Knowledge Base
Substances classified as dangerous to health are common on construction sites. Substances such as paints, solvents and glues contain such chemicals. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) requires that all such substances should be assessed for the health risks involved and measures taken to prevent exposure or else adequately control it. Most of the information required to make the necessary judgements is already available in the COSHH Substances Information Form or the hazard data sheet provided by the supplier of the particular substance.
The COSHH Assessment Form allows the health hazards of substances used on site to be assessed in the particular circumstances of the conditions found. Once the hazards are assessed details of the control methods to be used are detailed.
The first objective is to find an alternative 'safe' substitute for the dangerous substance. Where no such substitute exists then measures to control the risk of exposure should be sought, i.e. if the hazard is inhalation of dangerous fumes from a solvent then the control measure might be the introduction of forced ventilation. If no satisfactory control measure is possible then the correct personal protective equipment might be the only alternative left. All the measures used should be detailed on the form.