As an occupational hygienist I did realise that, as a business person with a lot of hats to wear it’s entirely feasible that you didn’t.
If I was a new HSE Inspector tasked with fining people for material breaches of health and safety regulation then Regulation 11 of COSHH is exactly where I would start and I would hit my target for the two month cycle in less than two weeks!
My point is this, health surveillance is something which many people, even safety professionals, can find somewhat confusing resulting in it being put on the shelf to sort out at a future date. This is why HSE is pushing it as something which needs attention and also why Fee For Intervention is targeting it.
Our advice is not to delay and to get some simple measures in place, for example; staff exposed to solvents on a daily basis should have some checks to make sure their health is being protected. To begin with why not make use of the simple forms which we can provide to carry out dermatitis and respiratory health questionnaires.
When your staff have completed the forms review the and if they have concerns sit down and talk them through (bearing in mind that health problems can be caused just as easily by what they do outside of work, away from your protective equipment and controls, as they can by what they use within your business).
If you raise some issues you can follow up on this with a simple desktop review or ask one of our occupational hygienists or workplace health consultants to do this for you. We’ll run through all aspects of the problem and help you determine what might have caused the problem, if it is related to their job and how you can go about controlling the risk and improving their health.
For many businesses simple questionnaires are all that’s needed but when you have higher risk substances and repeated exposures costs need not be high. Even biological monitoring for the isocyanates used in 2 pack paints and adhesives can be easily completed using urine test kits at a cost of around £50-60 per person.
the bottom line is that you do need to do health surveillance, its written into the COSHH Regulations and has been for years. Remember, this doesn’t have to be complicated, if you’re already a member of our Safety~net support service just call us and we’ll advise you without charge. If you’re not yet a member just click here to find out how little it costs to join, click the link and you’ll be under our wing and talking to an expert safety consultant or occupational hygienist in minutes, use the contact links above to reach us or call us on 01453 800100
Reference to the COSHH Regulations:
Regulation 11(9) details the duties on the employer once an employee is found to have an identifiable disease or adverse health effect. The employer should ensure that:
- the employee is notified and advised about further health surveillance;
- the risk assessment is reviewed;
- the measures taken under Regulation 7 are reviewed;
- consideration is given to assigning the employee other work; and
- the health of any other employees who may have been similarly exposed should be reviewed e.g. another medical examination is required.