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Best practice for Authoring COSHH Assessments

Who will author my COSHH Assessments?

One of the cornerstones of a good COSHH management program, is deciding who in the organisation will be responsible for authoring the assessments. Below we have detailed 4 different options for deciding this and outlined the pros & cons of each.

1.Completed by EHS with no input from staff

The EHS department take sole responsibility for writing COSHH assessments. They either document them themselves or an external resource is sourced to complete them. There is no input from staff in individual departments who are using the chemicals.

ProsCons
  • Recourse efficient.
  • Staff are not disturbed from their core tasks
  • Consistency in assessments across the organisation.
  • No collaboration with staff means tasks may not be properly described or assessed.
  • No ownership of safety taken by staff
  • Documentation exercise only
  • Least recommended option

2. Completed by Staff with no input from EHS

Individual staff are trained fully in COSHH so that they can author COSHH assessments independently for their own department. EHS department is not involved in the process.

ProsCons
  • Assessments will be relevant to staff.
  • Staff have taken ownership of chemical safety in their own area.
  • Very resource heavy. Depending on the size/structure of the organisation, a lot of staff may have to be fully COSHH trained.
  • Possibly inconsistencies in quality and procedures across the organisation as departments work independently
  • Possibility of the duplication of work across departments where products are used similarly

 

3. Completed by EHS in partnership with Staff

The EHS department take responsibility for authoring and managing COSHH assessments. All COSHH assessments are written in partnership with the relevant department staff involved in the day to day use of the chemicals. Ideally, this work would be completed in the actual relevant department itself.

ProsCons
  • Assessments will be relevant to staff.
  • Staff have taken ownership of chemical safety in their own area.
  • Recourse efficient as only EHS staff need to be COSHH trained
  • Consistency in Assessments across the organisation.
  • Process is solely dependent on EHS department to continue updating the COSHH assessments.

4. Completed by Staff – Signed off by EHS

Individual staff complete COSHH assessments for their own area. However, no assessments are published until checked and signed off by the EHS department. Some COSHH training will be required for staff, but they will not need to be fully COSHH trained as they are not signing off on the assessments. 

ProsCons
  • Assessments will be relevant to staff.
  • Staff have taken ownership of chemical safety in their own area.
  • Recourse efficient as only light staff training required. This training can probably be completed in-house.
  • .Consistency in Assessments across the organisation as they are all checked/signed off on centrally.
  • Some more hands on staff involvement required when compared to previous option.

Optimize COSHH Management with Chemdoc

Chemdoc is like having a full time chemical safety department in your organisation, dedicated to the collection, management and distribution of updated chemical safety information for your staff. 

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