I have seen a number of instances recently where chemicals were not stored in accordance with safety requirements. This can significantly increase the risk of a harmful incident, such as an explosion, fire or accidental release of toxic gas, and is easy to avoid.
A good COSHH assessment can protect the environment and your neighbours as well as your employees, but only when it is implemented and checked for ongoing compliance.
So, while it’s a bit slow over the Christmas period, or even if it isn’t, why not make some time to do some quick checks:
- Are COSHH assessments in place for all of the chemicals you have stored on your premises?
- Have they been reviewed for ongoing applicability? Do they need updating due to changes at the site?
- Are the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) that the COSHH assessments are based on up to date?
- Do the COSHH assessments reflect the contents of the MSDS’s? One of the issues I identified with a client came about because the correct storage requirements had not been transferred from the MSDS to the COSHH assessment.
- Are the storage requirements in the COSHH assessments being met? We have seen chemicals stored next to each other, over the same bund, that when mixed generate chlorine gas, and even an explosive chemicals store that vented to the gents loos!
- Do relevant employees understand the chemical storage requirements on your site, and why they are important?
- Do you have checks in place to ensure that COSHH assessments are being adhered to? This is something that you could add to your internal audit programme or daily/weekly/monthly checklists.
If you need support for your environmental management system or internal auditing, please call me on 07904 389889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.