When completing your chemical risk assessment, you must assess the level of risk of exposure workers and other individuals present in your workplace by assessing the hazards posed by these chemicals. In other words, you must determine how high a dosage of a hazardous chemical any worker is likely to be exposed to.
Conducting such an assessment of exposure levels in your workplace involves examining each chemical you have, in order to assess how long or how high the potential for exposure is. You must also ensure you are in compliance with COSHH regulations, through COSHH assessment software or manual methods. COSHH is crucial to understanding exposure risks , and it is possible you may have many questions on this front first. What is COSHH? How many steps are there to COSHH compliance? How do I ensure continued compliance? Educate yourself and your employees on these rules first, and you will be better equipped to manage chemical exposure.
Levels of exposure to hazards posed by chemicals will be to a large degree determined by how workers may be exposed, whether by absorption, ingestion, inhalation or injection. However, once you have determined what the manner of exposure may be, answering the following questions may also help you assess the level of exposure to any hazardous chemicals in your workplace.
How often is the chemical used?
If the chemical is not used often the potential for exposure will be low, but if the use of the chemical is continuous the potential will be higher.
How is the chemical used?
Different methods of use will have different effects. For example, if the method used is to pour the chemical, the potential for exposure by breathing in the chemical will be low, but if the chemical is sprayed the potential for exposure by breathing in the chemical will be higher.
How much of the chemical is used?
If small quantities of the chemical are used, then the potential for exposure will be low but it large quantities are used the potential for exposure will be higher. Chemical inventory management software can help ensure accuracy in this domain.
Who uses the chemical?
If use of the chemical is limited to a small number of authorized personnel, then the potential for exposure will be low., but if anyone in the workplace is permitted to use the chemical then the potential for exposure will be higher.
How long is each user exposed for?
If the chemical is used for brief periods only, then the potential for exposure will be low, but if, for example, the chemical is used by workers as part of the work process for an entire shift then the potential for exposure will be higher.
Are non-users exposed?
If there are others apart from workers at risk of exposure to the chemical such as visitors who pass by or workers engaged in other tasks nearby and, in particular, if there are workers such as maintenance workers or cleaners who may exposed to the chemical, you must take these facts into account when assessing how low or high the potential for exposure is as they will affect the level of risk to exposure.