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Risk assessments for spills

COSHH state that employers have to asses risks and prevent or control them. But it’s important for every site that uses dangerous materials to perform a risk assessment on the substance, no matter how infrequently or how little the substance is used.

Companies that have five or more staff have to record the risk assessment by law but companies with fewer staff than this should also make a note of what steps they have taken to control the risks to their employees. This might be difficult if you haven’t done anything like this before, but you can get loads of information from the HSE website to help you out.

If you can’t find any good practice information regarding the dangerous substances you have on site, you can always ask the supplier of the substance or trade association. It’s always worth searching online to see if there is any information about the substance here.

When you have done the risk assessment, it’s worth creating a list of ‘standard operating procedures’ that detail how employees should undertake tasks when using or moving the substance. This might mean training your employees or supervision while using the substance, but if you have adequate control measures in place, any spill control method will be quickly implemented.

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