According to the Health & Safety Executive, the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) law requires employers to protect their employees against work injuries by controlling hazardous substances.
Ways in which hazardous substances cause injuries at work and jeopardise safety
Control measures are designed to prevent or at least reduce the potential exposure of employees to such materials. They must be determined after careful consideration of how employees could possibly be harmed by such substances. There are basically five ways in which hazardous substances may cause injury at work, namely through contact with the skin; contact with eyes or through skin punctures; by breathing in dust, fumes, gases or mist, and by ingesting materials orally.
Controls preventing accidents at work
The type of controls to be put into place subsequently depends on the substances involved and the most likely way in which they may affect the health of employees. For materials likely to emit harmful fumes, for instance, employers may need to provide equipment like enclosed fume cabinets and/ or individual breathing equipment. For substances likely to cause personal injuries by contact with skin or via skin punctures, protective clothing, such as, gloves, aprons or overalls, and so on, should be available. In a similar fashion, contact with eyes should be prevented by provision of goggles, facial shields or similar equipment.
Preventing industrial injuries by harmful chemicals
Simply providing a selection of loose fitting garments is, however, not enough. The COSHH law states that protective personal equipment (PPE) must be tailored to fit individual employees perfectly, to ensure they are protected against potential injuries at work in the most effective manner. Furthermore, employees need to be trained in the proper use of this equipment, and employers are required to ensure the equipment is worn as and when required. Employers must also make sure that this equipment is maintained, regularly checked for potential defects, and stored properly.
If you suffered an injury by harmful substances through the lack of proper safety equipment/ protective clothing within the last three years, your employer may be liable to pay you industrial injury compensation. A confidential call to Accident Advice Helpline or filling in their Website’s compensation calculator, will establish your claim eligibility and allow you to take advantage of their legal experts 13 years of experience in handling compensation claims. Their strict no win, no fee* policy means you can pursue your claim without fear of adding more financial worries to your situation.
Date Published: January 2, 2014
Author: David Brown