A Guide to COSHH – A Guest post from RoSPA
If you’ve ever had any dealings with any aspect of Health and Safety, the chances are you’ve come across the acronym COSHH or one of the COSHH symbols. However, you may still be uncertain about what COSHH actually stands or what the symbols mean. Don’t worry though, help is at hand with our informative short guide to COSHH.
What does COSSH stand for?
COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’ and under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers need to either prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health.
What are ‘substances hazardous to health?’
Broadly speaking, substances hazardous to health include any substances that could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people. These hazardous substances can come in many different forms, including:
- Asphyxiating gases
- Biological agents
What do the COSHH symbols stand for?
The COSHH symbols are a set of international symbols that allow you to understand the different hazards within your organisation. They have been in use since 1967, with each symbol representing a different type of hazard. In 2009 the symbols were updated to reflect the international nature of hazardous substances. See the chart below for a guide to the new international hazard symbols:
COSHH training is designed to safeguard your employees, teaching them to to identify, measure and control the exposure to harmful substances. A COSHH training course should provide you with:
- An understanding of how and which substances can harm health
- Knowledge and definitions of exposure limits
- Skills to understand exposure and to conduct risk assessments
- A greater understanding of practical control measures and safe systems of work
Where can I find out more?
The HSE has a free downloadable guide called ‘Working with substances hazardous to health’ – which is a brief overview of COSHH.
The RoSPA Workplace Safety Blog also contains further information on COSHH, as well as other useful posts on all matters relating to occupational health and safety.
See our offer on this COSHH information pack
School Signs From Stocksigns
Stocksigns has been manufacturing school signs for the education industry for more than 50 years. As a result we have built up a wealth of knowledge on how schools can make the best use of their signs. We have brought together the best blog posts aimed at schools in this article to remind schools and colleges how to use and choose the right signs for them.
We have also got one of the largest dedicated schools signs catalogues on the market. Click on the catalogue cover below to view our huge range.
3 Ways to Make Recycling Simple.
This next article in our series of posts to support ‘Go Green Week’ takes a look at recycling and advocates the use of recycling signs.
We are all getting used to the mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” but ‘recycling’, the third in the going greener hiearchy, is often the activity that can be done very half heartedly. We are not talking about the large scale collection of scrap metal from manufacturing processes (where generally there is financial benefit hiding behind the ‘green banner’) but the small scale semi-domestic recycling which builds-up within businesses e.g. paper, water, food containers etc. In a company environment people are generally keen to recycle but no one really wants to take responsibility. Particularly in smaller companies the office/kitchen recycling is often left until the mountain of jars and milk bottles becomes unbearable and someone gives in and takes it to the recycling skips, just before the point that ‘Rentokil’ are called in.
The trick is make the whole process simple. There are three essential steps to hassle free recycling in the office.
- Create a Rota
- Make it simple, provide sorting at source
- Provide clear instructions
You are unlikely to get a rush of volunteers to help but a simple rota for emptying the recycling will mean it gets done and everyone will feel they have done their bit. Endless memos nagging staff to comply to your waste management program are likely to breed more resentment than co-operation, so instead opt for simple sorting systems at source and clear recycling signage, which will give instructions and gently remind people of their responsibilities. Stocksigns has a huge range of energy conservation and recycling signs to help your company on its way to go greener. We would love to hear any tips you have used in your company to promote a greener business email@example.com
As part of the Stocksigns’ support of “Go Green Week” we are looking at various ways you can use signage to boost your company’s “Green Credentials”. In this post we are revisiting the additional environmental benefits of using photoluminescent signs.
Many companies are committed to recycling and purchasing non-toxic supplies, but they still work in buildings whose materials, electrical systems and waste systems were in place long before being “eco” became the business buzz word of the moment and before the economic benefits of being green were truly understood. Different companies will have different factors to consider when improving their green credentials. For example, a solicitors firm will have different concerns than a construction site. But one way Continue reading
With the wintry weather set to continue for a few weeks yet, it’s time to take extra safety precautions. The councils do their best to grit and salt our roads, to protect road users as best they can. But what happens at the travellers’ destinations? Many road users are on their way to work and schools, where they encounter private roads, driveways and car parks, all outside the councils jurisdiction. It is here in these close to home places where most accidents occur and quite often these are the same places that do not get the safety treatment they deserve.
Don’t let your premises, car park or pathways add to this winter’s accident statistics. Clear car parks and pathways of ice and snow, and regularly grit with salt to stop them re-freezing. When clearing snow ensure you have the right tools. A Snow pusher is lightweight and has a bi-directional blade making clearing of large areas quick and efficient. Products such as Ice Melt will clear icy patches quickly, with no damage to carpets, floors or plants.
Once staff and visitors are inside your premises the hazard doesn’t stop, floors in receptions, entry points and non carpeted corridors become slippery even with relatively low footfall levels. Make sure these trouble spots are regularly mopped, adequate door matting is available and suitable slip hazard signage used.
Winter Hazard Zones Check List
- Grit all car parks.
- Ensure all external paths are cleared and regularly gritted.
- Areas with high footfall such as entrances and smoking shelters, need extra attention.
- Hall ways, entrance lobbies and receptions will become wet and slippery, ensure areas are mopped regularly and adequate warning signs used.
- Check stocks of salt and grit.
- Install speed limit signage in large car parks and driveways.
We are delighted to to announce that our new 2013 safety signs and general signage catalogue is out now. We offer you the most comprehensive range of safety signs in the UK, complying with the latest applicable legislation.
Great value and quality with rapid supply and if you don’t see what you need we can design a sign to your own requirements.
Our catalogue is packed with advice and information to help you meet your legal and safety obligations. With over 50 years of experience in the safety arena you can be sure you are talking to knowledgeable professionals who are always ready to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety Signs Pinterest Page for Signage Resources
Stocksigns has created a Pinterest page to help bring together some of the links to the industries best safety signs and general signage resources.
As we both publish our own signage information, and find the latest innovations and technologies within the industry, we will aggregate them together in our new page. Be sure to visit regularly or add it to your favourites to keep all your signage resources in one place. Also please send any signage information and resources that you would lik to be added to the page. You can contact me directly on email@example.com
Over the centuries Braille has had an enormous effect on the lives of millions of people across 120 countries worldwide. It is not a language but a code by which all languages may be written and read. The ability to read and write in Braille opens the door to literacy, intellectual freedom, equal opportunity, and personal security. It is an extremely important gateway to opportunity for the UK’s blind or partially sighted people, enabling them to be more independent.
Tactual from Stocksigns
The Stocksigns Braille signs range – Tactual – fully comply with Technical Bulletin 24 of the joint Mobility Unit. The JMU is a service provided by the RNIB and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Tactual signs may be manufactured to suit individual needs including a range of text options, panel colours and layouts. We can advise you on your own legal obligations and ensure that your workplace is complying with the appropriate regulations. Braille can be incorporated into your corporate signage to extend the audience range and the reach of your signs. It can be included in information and tourist interpretation boards to extend their accessibility and contact points, such as emergency assistance points, with Braille offer help to vulnerable members of the public.
Stocksigns only supply Braille signs that we manufacture ourselves. As a result not only can we be sure that they are of the highest quality but also that we have the technology and expertise to manufacture any custom made sign with Braille to our own specification. We manufacture both Braille Safety signs and Braille Information signs in standard designs, as well as being able to add Braille to custom-made signs.
While safety signs may not have been at the top of your Christmas list, this time of year is the perfect time to carry out a signage audit of your premises. The beginning of year is always associated with fresh starts, out with the old and in with the new. We often get renewed energy which gives us the impetus to start new projects or clear the decks in anticipation of what January will bring.
Taking Stock of your Safety Signs
Take time to walk round your premises, it may take a couple of trips round if you have a large or complicated building layout. Note all your existing fire and safety signs. Do you have all the necessary signs covered by legislation? Through the course of the year things happen to your building, were signs replaced after that wall got repainted? were your signs covered up when you had the last office move round? Many people find that their fire signage is often in the wrong place, check your emergency escape signage is being displayed properly. If you are not sure whether you are completely covered legally get a site survey done to give you peace of mind. While it isn’t yet a requirement to change all your existing safety signs to the new ISO7010 versions make sure any missing or damaged signs are replaced with the new updated symbols.
Safety signs over time can become dirty or damaged several environmental factors can effect your signs. Signs in areas of high traffic can become dirty quickly. Make sure all signs are clean and clear and be easily read, cleaning where needed. If they are illegible and beyond cleaning replace where necessary.
Have you got too many safety signs? are the messages you are giving out confusing? If it is a high hazard area consider replacing a number of your signs with single multi message signs. Having your safety information in one place will not only look smarter but will help reduce sign blindness- where people are so used to seeing the same signs day in day out they in fact cease to register seeing the signs at all.
For more information about safety signs or any other signage query please contact our sales team firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to order your new 2013 catalogue.
This article was first published in December 2011.
ISO 7010 – Safety Signs Are Changing
Over the next few months we will see a further step in the adoption of a new standard for safety signs as BS ISO 7010 is soon to become BS EN ISO 7010. The change will see safety signs in the workplace move away from being an “International standard” (essentially a recommendation on best practice), to a European norm (meaning the contents of the standard must be written into UK and EU law).
ISO 7010 has been developed to provide consistency in design across the EU. The new designs have now been phased in and all our signs follow The Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations 1966 and conform to BS ISO 7010 where applicable.
How does ISO 7010 effect my safety signs?
You may have noticed some design changes to the symbols whereas others will look virtually unchanged. Whilst the new symbols will be replacing the old designs, some Health and Safety guidance recommends that the two different types of signage, BS 5499 and EN ISO 7010 should not be mixed in the workplace, so you may want to change your current signage to comply, although for the present both designs will still meet your safety obligations. When looking to purchase new signage, ensure they meet with the new EN ISO 7010 standards.