The Control of Substances and Hazardous to Health Regulation 2002 (C.O.S.H.H) are meant to help employers control the exposure to chemicals. They are meant to generally protect the workers from the effects of such chemicals by ensuring that proper ventilation safety mechanisms are put in place to minimize the dangers of such exposures. C.O.S.H.H essentials are easy to follow procedures used to control ventilation. They provide good practice and advice on the general ventilation to enhance safety. The guidelines can be applied to small, large and medium use of liquid and solids. The guidelines describe the important points that employers must follow to reduce dangerous exposure to a manageable level.
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The reason why C.O.S.H.H guidelines, must be followed is that there are plenty of chemicals in work places which are not just dangerous but are corrosive and flammable. Such chemicals must be controlled and their release to the atmosphere regulated depending on the scale of work. As an employer, it is prudent that you consult your local authority so that the release of such substances in the atmosphere is regulated to reduce and prevent pollution. There are always special agencies that will advise you on the legislation concerning cleaning and discharging emissions.
However the general C.O.S.H.H. and ventilation safety guidelines revolve around the following:
Access- working areas should only be accessed by individuals who work in that area.
Design and equipment- as an employer, it is necessary that you provide a good standard of ventilation. It could be natural ventilation that normally provided by the windows, doors or openings as well as other controlled ventilation such as supply and removal of air using a powered fan.
If it is an office, the openings that supply general ventilation must be sufficient to control the dust and the vapor coming from any activity that may be taking place in the office.
If it is a factory, additional ventilation must be provided to help remove the contaminated air or replace it with clean air. This can be done using a mounted fan that extract and supply air in the factory. It includes venting air through airbricks, louvers, and ducts. It involves use of simple and complex air supply and removal systems. It is mandatory to ensure that the air supplied comes from areas that are not contaminated.
In addition one must ensure that the air supplied is enough and is sufficient to dilute and remove dust and the vapor produced. It is recommended you ensure that there are 5 and 15 air changes per hour. Also, it is necessary to ensure that air is discharged away from the windows, doors, and any other inlets you may be having on your building.
If there is dust in the room, one needs to re-circulate filtered air into the workroom. However, if the workroom has vapor, don’t re-circulate air in the room. Thus, it is mandatory that you ensure the air being re-circulated in the work room is coming from a fresh source. One must ensure that sufficient air flows past the work activity to the extraction point.
As an employer, it is imperative that you maintain the system as recommended by the supplier or the expert who installed it. This ensures that the equipment is in an effective and an efficient order.
Examination and Testing
Ensure that you get the correct information from the manufacturer on the design, and the performance of the ventilation equipment. If it is not possible to get the specs from the manufacturer, getting an opinion from a competent ventilation engineer could be ideal. The information obtained from the ventilation expert should be kept to allow for comparison with future test results.
It is advisable that you visually check the ventilation equipment at least once per week to ensure that is working.
You need to get the ventilation tested and examined against its performance and ensure that you keep all the records of the tests for not less than 5 years.
Cleaning and House Keeping
The working area and the equipment must be cleaned on a daily basis. The entire workroom can be cleaned once per week. If there are any spills they should be dealt with immediately. Avoid cleaning with dry brushes and compressed air. Using a vacuum cleaner and a wet clean is recommended.