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Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

Every year, many people are injured or suffer ill health due to hazards in the workplace. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2021/22 1.8 million people were suffering from a work-related illness and 565,000 workers sustained an injury at work.

Effective health and safety practices and an appropriate workplace culture help to protect people from work-related hazards. It is essential that both the employer and employees understand their roles and responsibilities with regard to health and safety at work.

Health and Safety Responsibilities for employers

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974, employers are legally responsible for ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of employees and anyone who might be affected by their work activities. Employers must do anything that is reasonably practicable to achieve this.

To maintain health and safety in the workplace, employers must fulfil the following responsibilities:

Have a health and safety policy

By law, all businesses must have a health and safety policy. It must describe how health and safety will be managed in the workplace – it should clearly state who does what, when and how. Employers should share the health and safety policy with everyone in the workplace, so that everyone is aware of how health and safety is managed. Organisations with five or more employees must have the policy written down. 

Appoint a competent person

Employers must appoint a competent person to help them fulfil their health and safety legal duties. The competent person must have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to recognise health and safety hazards in the workplace and help to put sensible controls in place. However, the employer still remains responsible for the health and safety in the workplace even if they appoint someone else to carry out these duties. 

Assess risks

The law requires employers to carry out a risk assessment to protect employees against exposure to foreseeable risks. The risk assessment must identify the hazards that might cause harm to individuals and establish reasonable measures to eliminate and control the risks in the workplace. Organisations with five or more employees must write down the risk assessment. 

Set up emergency procedures

The employer must establish and clearly communicate an emergency procedure to all workers, and set out everyone’s roles and responsibilities. So that, staff know exactly what they need to do in the event of an emergency, who to contact, and where fire exits, fire alarm call points and fire assembly points are located. 

Make arrangements for first aid, accidents and ill health

Employers must put arrangements in place for first aid, accidents and ill health. They must ensure that employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. As a minimum, every workplace must have a suitably stocked first-aid box, have an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements, and provide information for all employees about first-aid arrangements. 

Provide training and information

Employers must provide clear instructions, information, and adequate training for employees to ensure they can carry out their work safely and without risks to health. This training can be done in-house, face-to-face at a training centre or taken online using a provider like i2Comply . Also, employers must ensure that all employees understand the information and training. Some employers will need to consider language, literacy barriers or accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Consult employees

Every employer has a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters to protect everyone from harm in the workplace. This involves allowing staff to raise concerns about health and safety in the workplace. The employer should listen to employees’ concerns and take them into account when making health and safety decisions. 

Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To enable their employees to carry out their work safely, employers must provide workers with any equipment and protection necessary. These items which may include protective clothing, shoes or boots, eye and ear protection, gloves and masks, can be purchased from online stores like SafetyBuyer. Also, the employer must ensure that PPE is properly maintained and that workers know exactly how and when they need to use it. 

Report accidents 

Employers must keep records and report death, serious injuries caused by workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses) under RIDDOR. 

Display the health and safety law poster 

A health and safety law poster must be displayed by the employer, where employees can easily read it. Alternatively, employers can hand out an equivalent leaflet to workers. It must outline British health and safety laws and include a straightforward list that tells employees their own and their employer’s duties in regard to health and safety at work. 

Provide appropriate workplace facilities 

Employers must provide appropriate workplace facilities for everyone in the workplace to ensure employees’ welfare, health and safety. Employers must provide toilets, washing facilities and a rest area. They must ensure there is good ventilation, a reasonable temperature in the facilities, suitable lighting, suitable workstations and a clean workplace. To keep workers safe, employer must properly maintain premises and work equipment, and keep traffic routes clear of obstructions. 

Have insurance 

Most employers are required by the law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising from work. If an employee is injured, or becomes ill as a result of work, they can claim compensation from their employer if they believe the employer is responsible. Employers’ liability insurance will help them to pay any compensation for their employees’ injuries or illness. 

Work with others

Employers must work along with other employers, or contractors sharing the workplace, to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Also, employers must work with external services, such as emergency services, especially in high-risk environments. They should provide enough information about the potential risks in the workplace for those services to take appropriate and immediate action in emergencies. 

Health and safety responsibilities for employees

Although employers are legally responsible for health and safety in the workplace, it is a collective responsibility. All employees must do their part in keeping health and safety at work.

To maintain health and safety in the workplace, employees must carry out the following responsibilities:

Co-operate with employer

Employees must co-operate with their employer on health and safety matters. This means that they must follow the employer’s health and safety policy and procedures, and they must not interfere with, or misuse, anything provided for their health, safety or welfare. 

Take responsibility

Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of people who may be affected by their actions at work, or their failure to take reasonable action. All employees must be aware of their surroundings, never engage in practices, or use equipment, that seem unsafe and might cause illness or injury to themselves or others. Also, they should report potential workplace hazards to their employer in order to protect themselves and others in the workplace.   

Attend health and safety training

Employees must attend Health and safety training provided by employers. It is also important that workers implement the new knowledge into their work activities. One of the most convenient and cost-effective ways for companies to train their employees is to use online training. Online Health & Safety training courses, approved by lead bodies like RoSPA and IATP, are a perfect way for employees to gain the knowledge they require and the certification they need.    

Wear PPE

Employees must wear the PPE their employer provides them with when carrying out tasks that may be a safety risk. PPE does not need to be worn at all times – employers should ensure workers know when and how to use it.   

Ask for guidance 

If employees are in any doubt, they should always seek guidance on health and safety matters at work.    

Report any accidents 

All incidents must be reported. Employees must report any dangerous situations, accidents, near misses, hazards and safety failures that they witness. They should never ignore anything that does not seem right. Instead, they should inform their employer if they think the work, or inadequate precautions, are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.

The role of the Health and Safety Executive

 The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. HSE aims to prevent work-related death, injury or illness and help organisations to manage risks in the workplace.   

HSE’s role involves:

  • providing advice, information, guidance, templates and tools to employers and employees 
  • raising health and safety awareness in workplaces by influencing and engaging  
  • operating licensing activities in industries that may have major hazards associated with them 
  • carrying out targeted inspections and investigations to ensure business compliance with all Health and Safety laws 
  • developing policies, strategies and procedures for Health and Safety 
  • Enforcing law so that those who break the law accept responsibility

Looking for high quality online Health & Safety training?

I2Comply pride themselves on offering quality online training at an affordable price. Discounts are available for bulk purchases and there is no time limit for completion. All courses include professional audio narration and are interactive, engaging, and self-paced.

We offer the following RoSPA-assured, IATP-approved and CPD-certified online Health & Safety courses:

1. Online Abrasive Wheels Training

2. Online Asbestos Awareness Course

3. Online COSHH Training

4. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Awareness Course

5. Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) Training Course 

6. Ladder Safety Training Online Course

7. First Aid in the Workplace Course Online

8. Online Legionella Awareness Training

9. Online Manual Handling Training

10. Mental Health Awareness Online Course

11. Noise Awareness Training Course

12. Stress in the Workplace Course

13. Working at Heights Online Course

14. Working in Confined Spaces Course

We’are sharing some content which might be useful to our readership, but it’s not endorsed by SafetyBuyer.

The Importance of COSHH Assessments

The Importance of COSHH Assessments

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Act oversees occupational health and safety involving hazardous substances. While the name ‘COSHH’ is well known in many industries, it is often unclear who is legally responsible for implementing and complying with COSHH regulations on a day-to-day basis.

The delegated responsibility can be especially unclear when employees work off-site, or if an employee fails to follow control measures in place. As such, it is critical that all those involved in working with hazardous substances understand their duties and responsibilities in order to remain COSHH-compliant.

What are the three steps an employer can take to create a safe workplace?

There are three key steps employers can use to ensure they remain COSHH-compliant. The first is to avoid health dangers. This is a wide obligation, and there are several methods to carry it out. These include developing control measures and setting occupational exposure limits, all of which are covered under COSHH rules. The most suitable approach will depend on which substances a business uses and the specific risks these pose to workers.

The second step is to check that all machinery and equipment is safe to operate. When storing hazardous substances, for example, the storage facility must meet the relevant legal standards, and workers must follow the manufacturer's safety recommendations.

Finally, make certain that safe working procedures are introduced and enforced. This begins with the dissemination of appropriate and adequate knowledge on health rules and best practices for carrying out dangerous activities safely. This includes ensuring that personal protective equipment is used whenever it is required, and providing additional training where necessary.

Performing a COSHH risk assessment

A COSHH risk assessment seeks to highlight and determine the dangers and risks associated with the use and storage of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

It is vital to remember that health risks are not only posed by harmful substances. Some dangerous materials, such as wood dust from sanding or silica dust from tile cutting, are common byproducts that are also governed by COSHH. See the substances covered by COSHH here.

Furthermore, spilled chemicals pose risks of slipping and falling. Such hazards should be dealt with immediately, thanks to appropriate COSHH spill control kits.

Determine the dangers

The first step in a COSHH risk assessment is to familiarise yourself with any hazardous substances present in your workplace. Begin by reading the product labels and safety data sheets (SDS) of any substance to determine whether they are hazardous. SDSs are provided by the manufacturer, and help you understand how the substance should be stored and handled. Visit our safety data sheets page for more information. If you are unsure about the safety sheets provided, contact the manufacturer or supplier before continuing with your assessment.

Determine who is at risk and how

A risk assessment should answer the question, “How could the employees be exposed to a health hazard?” Consider the way in which a substance could affect someone nearby - whether inhaled, absorbed via the skin, or ingested - and the effects of exposure via each of these ways. Many chemicals will be labelled to help you identify specific risks - they may be marked as irritants, for example.

Consider how frequently and for how long individuals will need to work with the substance.

Within your assessment, you must consider the risk posed to maintenance personnel, contractors, and other visitors or members of the general public who could be exposed.

Assess the dangers and choose precautions

After performing a risk assessment to determine which hazardous compounds are present and how employees might be injured, you must consider ways that you can avoid or minimise exposure.

After identifying that a substance poses a health risk, an important consideration is whether it is necessary to use that substance, or if there exists a safer alternative. Another consideration is whether or not work activity could be changed to remove or reduce the use of the substance. If it is not possible to change the activity or use different substances, the employer must put in place adequate control measures to reduce the risk of harmful exposure.

It is also important that a COSHH risk assessment covers other potential sources of harm, such as:

  • Noise levels or vibrations from machinery
  • Ergonomic issues
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Poor lighting
  • Slippery floors or surfaces
  • Unsuitable working posture

Every workplace has its own unique hazards, so it is important to make sure each one is identified and addressed appropriately.

Who is legally liable for workplace COSHH?

Maintaining compliance with COSHH at the workplace is the legal responsibility of the employer. The employer must guarantee that all work activities and equipment involving hazardous substances comply with COSHH laws.

The employer must implement active safety practices to increase employee safety and mitigate the risk of occupational injury and illness. When dealing with a hazardous substance, the employer has a duty of care towards their employees, and must use COSHH-compliant products that ensure the safe storage and use of hazardous substances in order to protect the employees.

An important aspect of instilling high levels of safety is COSHH-compliant storage. It must meet the specifications outlined by the hazardous substance’s manufacturer and the standards set by COSHH law. Finding appropriate COSHH storage will follow a thorough COSHH risk assessment of the workplace's storage capacities, and an evaluation of how the substances can be kept as safely as possible.

There are several best practices for storing dangerous compounds safely. Visit our COSHH cabinets page for the best solutions for the safe storage of hazardous chemicals.

Fire Regulations - January 2023 Update: What You Need to Know

Following the Hackett review and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the government has continued to enact additional fire safety legislation. As a result, the regulations governing day-to-day fire safety rules have been amended.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 (FSA 2021), which went into effect in England in May 2022, is now fully operational in both Wales and England.

The Fire Safety Regulations apply only to multi-occupied residential buildings in England and impose new rules for:

  • Non-high-rise buildings - for example, fire safety instructions must be provided to residents
  • Buildings over 11 metres - for example, annual checks of fire doors must be performed
  • Buildings over 18 metres - for example, floor plans must now be provided to Fire and Rescue Services

What does the Fire Safety Act 2021 say?

The FSA 2021 expands the scope of the Fire Safety Order to include the safe maintenance of the building’s structure, exterior walls (including cladding, windows, doors, and balconies), and individual flat entry doors between private premises and the communal elements of multi-occupied residential structures.

The new Act says that fire risk assessments must be undertaken and updated as needed to ensure that control mechanisms are in place to guarantee that the building can be safely occupied.

The FSA 2021 and its accompanying regulations will provide a clearer route for legal action and punishment against any Responsible Person who fails to meet their duties. Penalties for violations of fire safety regulations include unlimited fines and/or imprisonment. Average fines for fire safety violations have skyrocketed in the aftermath of Grenfell, so it is vital that the Responsible Person understands their responsibilities and can ensure the highest fire safety standards are met.

Know the Responsible Person's (RP) duties

The notion of a "Responsible Person" (RP) is not new; the RP of a business already has certain responsibilities under the current Fire Safety Order. The RP is the person who is accountable for the safety on-site under the new regulations.

The RP is typically the premises owner, but in residential complexes, it can also be any other person in charge of the communal areas or the outside of the property.

New duties for the Responsible Person

Any changes in duties for the RP will depend on the type of building in which they operate. As such, the new responsibilities depend on if the RP is in:

Multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises.
  • Provide relevant fire safety instructions to residents, including instructions on how to report a fire, and what a resident must do once a fire has occurred, based on the evacuation strategy for the building
  • Provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety
Buildings above 11m
    Provide fire door information and fire safety instructions
  • Conduct annual checks of entrance doors to flats and quarterly checks to all fire doors in common areas
Buildings of at least 18m or seven or more storeys
  • Provide fire safety training, fire door information, and fire door inspections
  • Install and maintain a secure information box in the facility, which must include the Responsible Person's name and contact information, and hard copies of the relevant floor plans
  • Maintain current digital floor plans for the local Fire and Rescue Service and keep a copy in the Information Box
  • Send information on the design and materials used in the external wall to the local fire department, along with specifics about any dangers and mitigating measures performed

To guarantee compliance with the Fire Safety Regulations, systems must be in place by January 23, 2023. Ensure that your premises are fully compliant with the latest regulations by reading through the Fire Regulations January 2023 Update.

Supplying Unilin’s ambitious build with safety flex barriers

Supplying Unilin’s ambitious build with safety flexbarriers

At the tail-end of 2022, SafetyBuyer had the pleasure of helping Unilin, a Liverpool-based flooring business, to move into a new warehouse. Unilin produces sustainable and high-quality wood-based flooring solutions for the construction and interior sector. The company’s global reach extends to over 100 locations, driven by some 8,200 employees to produce floor covering, panel and insulation material. 


For an organisation of this size, growth is constant, and this requires the highest level of planning and strategy. Further, when growth means developing and constructing new operational buildings, safety must be held at utmost priority. 


As such, when continued expansion demanded the development of a purpose-build warehouse, Unilin reached out to Safety Buyer to provide construction safety equipment of the highest standard. With our experience in delivering products to ensure safe and seamless construction for projects at any scale, we were delighted to help.

The planning stage

From the moment of the initial enquiry, SafetyBuyer assisted by providing information about its services and expertise. Unilin used our contact form to detail its plan for a new-build warehouse in Liverpool. It was clear that this project would require thorough planning and careful adherence to regulations to ensure that safety would be maintained at the highest possible level throughout. 


A vital aspect of a warehouse build is the constant presence of moving machinery and personnel. This can result in a high risk of accidents unless a project is carefully planned and appropriate safety equipment is employed effectively. For such builds, impact protection barriers are the perfect choice to help regulate the flow of traffic within the site, protect vulnerable piping and other essential indoor equipment, and ensure that pedestrians are kept clear from vehicle routes. SafetyBuyer has impact protection barriers for both indoor and outdoor use, and the modular aspect of the Flex barriers allows for a tailored layout to suit their floorspace and ensure staff are protected throughout the site.


For a build of this size, the need for efficiency and meticulous attention to detail was critical to ensure the smooth continuation of operations throughout construction. As such, safety is held paramount, to ensure that the build can be completed on schedule without any increased risk of accidents or injuries.


The client identified the necessary product to aid their safe expansion. From there, our in-house technical experts provided help in ordering all the correct components for Unilin’s specific needs. 

The supplying of goods

In order to meet the required safety standards for construction projects and keep everyone on-site safe, project planners must perform a thorough risk assessment and consider which pieces of safety equipment may be the most appropriate. Failure to consider all the possible risks involved can result in an employee injury, which can delay construction and might lead to operational repercussions. 


As such, in-depth telephone conversations were held to fully identify Unilin’s requirements. We also analysed the design and dimensions of the site, using a survey plan supplied by the client. 


The technical team accounted for all the factors that might pose a risk to safety and the measures that must be taken to mitigate these. After careful consideration, we prepared a quote, alongside scale drawings for the proposed specifications and layout of the modular Flex barriers, for a final agreement and sign-off. 


We supplied the goods directly to the site for installation by the capable Unilin team. In order to ensure the product was installed correctly and the fitting met the necessary safety requirements, we also conducted a technical support call to assist the on-site team. This also ensured that the team could test the equipment and ensure it performed properly.


As a result of our help, there were no on-site accidents during construction.

Our range of impact protection barriers

Assisting Unilin’s project and aiding in maintaining the safety of the new-build warehouse construction project was a fantastic opportunity, of which the team at SafetyBuyer is happy to have been a part. 


SafetyBuyer has long supplied safety barriers to organisations that wanted to ensure the total safety of a construction site or other workplace. You can view our entire range of impact protection barriers here.


If you are carrying out an ambitious build or construction project and require safety equipment, speak to a member of the SafetyBuyer team who can advise you on what you need to ensure optimum on-site safety. Call us on 0800 043 0161 or fill out our contact form here.

COSHH in Care Homes

COSHH in Care Homes

The significance of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) in nursing homes should never be underestimated. Over 1.8 million individuals working in the UK suffer from a work-related disease, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), costing firms an estimated £18 billion every year.

COSHH regulations are a collection of laws that delegate safety responsibility to employers. The rules emphasise the need for risk assessments and management mechanisms in the workplace to limit exposure to hazardous chemicals and keep employees and customers safe from harm or injury. 

Here, the experts in COSHH at SafetyBuyer define COSHH and explain why it is so important in care homes. We shall also go over employer and employee responsibilities for COSHH compliance, as well as where hazardous compounds are most likely to be found in nursing homes.

Why is COSHH important?

It is a criminal offence for a care home employer or employee to breach COSHH regulations and can result in unlimited fines. Failure to meet COSHH standards can result in harm, financial fines, business closure, and, in severe situations, death. 

COSHH compliance is critical in care homes, and reasonable precautions must be made to reduce or eliminate the risk of exposure to hazardous substances by residents, visitors, and workers.

Often, avoiding the risk of exposure involves providing personal protective equipment (PPE), training, and conducting regular risk assessments to maintain COSHH compliance.

The risks posed by hazardous substances will vary depending on the chemicals found within. Mild side effects of common hazardous substance exposure include eye or skin discomfort, but more serious effects include respiratory illnesses and cancer. The risks posed vary greatly, which reinforces the importance of understanding the COSHH regulations and the responsibilities of meeting them. 

What are the employer’s responsibilities under COSHH?

COSHH regulations outline a number of obligations, including:

  • Implementing control measures
  • Controlling or preventing exposure to hazardous substances
  • Creating and sharing adequate instructions, training, information, and protective equipment available to all those on site where necessary
  • Developing procedures and strategies to react to hazardous substances spills
  • Carrying out COSHH risk assessments

It is the responsibility of the care home employer - or delegated health and safety staff - to implement and maintain COSHH practices that meet the expected standards of safety.

Where are hazardous substances found in a care home?

Hazardous substances can be found in everyday household items. In care homes, there is an ever higher chance of exposure, due to the commonplace hazardous substances found in:

  • Medicines (hazardous ingredients found in pharmaceutical products)
  • Biological hazards (pathogens in faeces and urine)
  • Cleaning products (for example bleach, chlorine, and irritants)
  • Maintenance work products (dust particles from wood dust, paints, solvents)

In a nursing home, who should do a risk assessment?

It is the employer's or care home manager's legal obligation to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out. The employer may do the risk assessment themselves, outsource the duty to a suitable management or skilled staff, or engage an expert from outside the care home.

Hazardous substance symbols on product labels

There are a total of nine COSHH hazard symbols. Although some of these symbols are relatively self-explanatory, some require a clear explanation. You can find a full explanation of the hazardous symbols here.

Find COSHH-compliant products

If a care home stores hazardous substances, there is a legal duty to store them safely. Purchasing COSHH-compliant cabinets ensures that a care home is meeting the legal standards set to maintain workplace safety.

The Best COSHH Storage Cabinets for Compliance

The Best COSHH Storage Cabinets for Compliance

All companies must try to prevent workplace accidents, but workplaces that use hazardous chemicals also have to follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health's (COSHH) requirements. This legislation means that if activities require the use of hazardous substances, appropriate storage and spill control measures must be offered. 

Your organisation should adopt solutions at the greatest level of compliance to guarantee that staff remain safe during everyday operations, whether that means implementing absorption solutions, secure storage choices, or spill control equipment.

Achieving the most secure chemical storage depends on assessing the kind of chemicals kept on-site, their quantity, and the industrial activities that use them. Therefore, it is essential that the individuals in charge of enforcing health and safety measures in the workplace know the specific risks posed by the chemicals being used and understand how to handle them properly before they decide on the type of chemical storage to use.

Read the guide below on the COSHH products your business should have, to make sure your staff are protected from the risks posed by hazardous substance spills.

What are the COSHH regulations?

When a cabinet or cupboard complies with COSHH requirements, you can be sure it will meet a high safety standard and significantly reduce the risk of harm posed by the hazardous substance stored within. COSHH specifies that a storage cabinet must be made from a rigid material that cannot be compromised by the hazardous substance it is intended to store.

Storage cabinets that comply with COSHH regulations must be suitable for hazardous and flammable goods and offer enduring safety and peace of mind. They are also durable, helping your company stay in compliance with state and local health and safety requirements for many years.

What safety benefits do COSHH cabinets provide?

Our COSHH storage cabinets are built to last and adhere to all current regulatory requirements. This includes meeting the standards outlined in the DSEAR Approved Code of Practice. Furthermore, our COSHH cabinets comply with HSG51 Storage of Flammable Liquids regulations, which ensures that any flammable materials are kept secure and that the risk of fire is significantly reduced. Our high level of craftsmanship and the materials we use offer 30 minutes of fire resistance.

In order to meet these standards, the manufacturing of COSHH cabinets must be of the highest quality. The range of COSHH cabinets at SafetyBuyer is produced at an industry-leading standard; all seams and joints are completely welded, and not flat-pack produced and riveted like inferior products. This ensures no holes or gaps exist in any of the joints at the corners.

Furthermore, doors are strengthened to resist bending and to endure the bumps and bangs of everyday use. The doors and lids fit snugly against the frame and, when closed, tightly seal the appliance.

Our large COSHH storage cabinets are made of 1.2mm and 0.9mm mild steel and offer great durability with completely welded joints throughout. Within the cabinet, the robust shelves function as a 25mm deep spill tray for minor spillages and are adjustable in 25mm increments.

A 50-litre built-in sump is included in the cabinet base to gather any spills securely. All doors include metal knobs, two-point locking, and reinforcement to make them tight-fitting. 

If your workspace already has COSHH cabinets but you need to expand your storage capacity, or you are looking for smaller cabinets to store different types of hazardous substances separately, you may consider stackable hazardous substance cabinets.

In our range, you can choose between white acid cabinets, which have a polyester coating for increased chemical protection, or grey or yellow cabinets, reinforced with an epoxy-polyester powder coating process for excellent durability.

As with larger cabinets, the shelves function as a 25mm deep spill tray for minor spillages and are adjustable in 25mm increments. The smaller cabinets also have a sump, but it has a slightly smaller 21-litre capacity.

Find the perfect COSHH cabinet for your needs

SafetyBuyer is a leader in COSHH cabinet solutions. We have long been experts in providing safe and durable cabinets to protect employees from hazardous substances throughout the UK. Furthermore, we can create COSHH cabinets to your precise specifications if you need unique sizes. Find the entire range of COSHH cabinets here. 

What COSHH Means for Your Business's Practices

What COSHH Means for Your Business's Practices

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is the law that governs occupational health and safety when handling hazardous substances. On work premises, however, it is not always clear who is legally responsible for putting COSHH into practice and adhering to it on a daily basis.

It is crucial that everyone involved in an organisation is aware of their duties and responsibilities in order to maintain COSHH compliance. The liability for enforcing COSHH can also be less clear when employees work off-site, or if an employee disregards control measures put in place to protect them from the harm posed by hazardous substances.

Who is held liable under the law for COSHH at work?

In the workplace, the employer is responsible for implementing and maintaining COSHH compliance. They must make sure that all workplace practices and tools adhere to the COSHH guidelines.

As a result, if these rules are broken, the employer might face legal repercussions.

It is also the employer's duty to make sure that all workers are aware of the COSHH rules and have the knowledge and ability to follow them. 

Employees are also accountable for embracing and adhering to COSHH, but if an individual causes a workplace accident because they were unaware of the dangers of a hazardous material, the employer may be held liable.

The three COSHH control measures you must know

To ensure that workplace practices are COSHH-compliant, the individual in charge of implementing and maintaining COSHH regulations in the workplace must consider three key aspects of compliance. Failure to do so increases the risk of workers suffering an injury, which may be followed by fines or other legal ramifications.

Control equipment

Hazardous materials need to be handled, stored and utilised in accordance with a number of control procedures, which change depending on the substance or activity. Utilising COSHH-compliant equipment ensures you are reaching the necessary standards.

The COSHH control procedures for a dangerous substance help determine how it must be handled and stored, in order to lower the possibility of spills or other incidents, protect people from injury, and avoid harmful exposure.

Working techniques

The COSHH control methods outline how staff members should handle hazardous materials in their regular activities. It is crucial that anybody handling dangerous substances is aware of the appropriate precautions to take.

The greatest levels of safety must be maintained in all procedures, monitoring and training. Employers are legally required to safeguard the health of their employees, but employees also have a duty to make use of their training and handle potentially harmful chemicals with the appropriate care.

Work behaviour

It is critical that everyone abides by the control measures and procedures once they are put in place. It is equally important to use these measurements correctly and to constantly assess them to make sure they are still appropriate for the activities and substances you are using.

A workplace must always meet the highest standards of control measures, which means employing COSHH-compliant control equipment, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when required, and establishing and adhering to protocols that alert supervisors in case of emergencies. Browse SafetyBuyer’s entire range of COSHH cabinets, spill kits and more.

COSHH Items Every Business Should Own

Companies must strive to prevent workplace accidents and adhere to the health standards set by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). If daily activities involve hazardous substances, they must provide adequate storage and spill control solutions relevant to hazardous substances. To ensure that your employees are protected from the possibility of dangerous spillages read the guide below on COSHH items every business should own.

Whether you are looking for spill containment equipment, secure storage options, or absorbent solutions, your business should implement solutions at the highest level of compliance, that ensure workers remain safe throughout daily activities.

The type of chemicals stored on-site, their volume, and the work activities involving them all play a role in determining the safest chemical storage. As such, before choosing the kind of chemical storage to employ, it is crucial that the people responsible for upholding health and safety procedures in the workplace are aware of the dangers associated with the chemicals being used and learn how to handle them safely.

Read our guide below to find and understand the most appropriate solution for your business.

Cabinets for the Storage of Hazardous Substances

COSHH-compliant storage cabinets are regulated to ensure they are appropriate for hazardous and flammable materials and provide long-lasting safety and peace of mind. They are also long-lasting, assisting your business to maintain compliance with local health and safety laws for years to come.

COSHH outlines the requirement for a storage cabinet to be made from a rigid material that cannot be compromised by the hazardous substance it is intended to store - so when a cabinet or cupboard meets the COSHH requirements, you can be confident that it will meet a high safety standard and considerably lower the risk of harm posed by the hazardous substance.

A COSHH cabinet must be placed in an appropriate area of your workplace - see our guide on the safe storage of hazardous substances here.

Pallets for spills and drip trays

When handling hazardous substances on a regular basis, there is an increased risk of spillage - for which your workplace must be ready to contain and clean. To stop drips and spills from reaching floors and drains, Safety Buyer offers a variety of cost-effective, straightforward solutions.

A COSHH-compliant spill pallet or drip tray allows you to catch and contain drips, spills, and leaks effortlessly. The deck can be easily removed for access to the sump, allowing you to extract the hazardous substance safely and remove it from the area where it poses risk to those around it.

Modular Bunded Workstation Flooring

Bunded work floors are an additional containment solution made for internal working areas that need to safely and effectively contain drums. They offer a long-lasting and adaptable decking material - providing an ideal platform to perform any liquid handling operations such as dispensing, mixing or filling.

Bunded flooring is often made of extremely durable, chemically resistant polyethylene, offering substance-resistant platforms that are not compromised or damaged by the substance it supports.

The leading models of bunded flooring have detachable grids for simple cleaning. This allows for simple responsive cleaning action following a spill. The flooring can contain spills efficiently, reducing the risk of a substance contaminating or damaging its environment.

The modular aspect means you can join grids together to fit your workspace, making it an adaptable solution for any business.

Find more COSHH solutions for business safety compliance

SafetyBuyer has long been a leader in providing COSHH solutions for businesses. Whatever the industry or business size, SafetyBuyer has the solution to ensure you remain COSHH-compliant and protect anyone on-site.

Find the full range of COSHH products here.

COSHH - What Does it Stand For?

COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). It is a set of laws established to safeguard workers against ill health and harm when handling particular substances and materials. To put the COSHH regulations into effect, a COSHH risk assessment will need to be carried out, focusing on the dangers and risks posed by substances at work.

Ultimately, COSHH delegates responsibility to the employer to safeguard its employees. As a legal instruction, any employee or employer that violates COSHH regulations is guilty of a crime - and faces an unlimited fine.

Below, the experts in COSHH and workplace safety at SafetyBuyer outline COSHH and detail all you need to know about the aspects of workplace safety that it is relevant to.

What is COSHH?

Employers are required under COSHH to control substances that are harmful to their employees' health. You can avoid or minimise your employees' exposure to dangerous substances by:

  • identifying the health risks
  • choosing how to prevent harm to the body (risk assessment)
  • providing control measures to lessen harm to the body
  • ensuring that such measures are used
  • maintaining the effectiveness of all control measures
  • educating and training employees and others
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance when necessary
  • making emergency plans

What are 'hazardous substances'?

Hazardous substances can take numerous forms and are found in most workplaces. As such, it is vital that employers are aware of the hazardous substances that the COSHH regulations cover, in order to be able to protect all individuals on-site and remain COSHH-compliant.

What do COSHH regulations govern?

  • Chemicals
  • Products that contain chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dust
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Nanotechnology
  • Gases and asphyxiating gases
  • Biological agents (germs)
  • Germs causing diseases such as Legionnaires’ disease and leptospirosis and germs from laboratories

It is classified as a dangerous substance if the packaging contains any of the hazard symbols outlined and explained here.

What do COSHH regulations not cover?

There are three hazardous substances that COSHH does not cover, because these have their own regulations:

  • Lead - The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) places responsibility on employers to prevent - or where not reasonably possible - to control employee exposure to lead.
  • Asbestos
  • Radioactive substances

Ensure your workplace is COSHH-compliant

SafetyBuyer is a UK leader in providing workplace safety products, helping businesses of all sizes, in all industries, become and remain COSHH-compliant. Visit our range of COSHH management and spill control solutions here.

Fire Extinguisher Regulations in the Workplace

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) rules that appropriate fire-fighting equipment, including portable fire extinguishers, must be provided where there is any risk of fire. This law governs all fire safety regulations in England and Wales for non-domestic premises.

According to the RRO, business managers and owners who have been designated as responsible persons (RP) are in charge of creating and maintaining a fire management plan and conducting a fire safety risk assessment. Below, the experts in workplace fire safety at SafetyBuyer outline the fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace.

Who is accountable for adhering to fire safety regulations?

You may be delegated the role of RP if you are any of the below at a non-residential property, including the workplace:

  • An occupant
  • An owner
  • A landlord
  • An employer
  • Any other person in charge of the property, such as a risk assessor, facilities manager, building manager, or building managing agent

If you are a business owner or employer, you should have delegated the role of RP, and you are required to make everyone else on the premises aware of who holds it.. The RP should be trained and educated on the fire extinguisher regulations, starting with understanding what the different fire extinguishers types are.

Types of fire extinguishers

Fire risks can be distinguished into six classes:

  • Class A - flammable substances made of carbon, such as paper, wood, or fabrics
  • Class B - combustible liquids, such as paraffin, gasoline, diesel, or oil (but not cooking oil)
  • Class C - combustible gases such as butane, propane, or methane
  • Class D - metals that burn, such as lithium, magnesium, or aluminium
  • Electric spark symbol - fires brought on by electrical equipment
  • Class F - fats and cooking oils

The above types of fire can be extinguished with the below extinguishers types:

  • Class A - water, water mist, foam, dry powder, and wet chemicals
  • Class B - water mist, foam, dry powder, CO2, some wet chemicals
  • Class C - dry powder and water mist
  • Class D - specialist dry powder
  • Electrical - some CO2, foam, and water mist
  • Class F - wet chemical and water mist

What number of fire extinguishers do I need at the workplace?

Unless the workplace is extremely small, in which case one Class A fire extinguisher may be allowed, the standards require a minimum of two Class A fire extinguishers on each storey of a building. Fire extinguishers of this class typically come in volumes of three or six litres of foam or nine litres of water, however, additional sizes may also be required, depending on the nature of the materials present at the workplace - for example, the need for CO2 extinguishers for electrical fires.

Fire extinguishers must be visible and easily reachable. To encourage people to move away from the fire, you should place fire extinguishers near exits and fire alarm call points.

Commissioning fire extinguishers

A competent individual must commission fire extinguishers on-site - this is generally an individual with the BAFE fire extinguisher qualification - or equivalent - from a fire protection company with third-party certification.

Maintenance and servicing

Extinguishers need to be kept in good functioning condition. The RP should perform monthly inspections and the extinguishers must be serviced once a year by a qualified individual.

The basic monthly inspection includes checking that it is:

  • In date
  • Has not been tampered with
  • In operating order
  • Has the right weight and pressure
  • Has the proper signage and positioning

The service and inspections should be recorded on the service label on the side of the canister and advice should be given regarding refilling, replacement, or the need for any additional extinguishers. Keeping a permanent record of all fire extinguisher servicing, maintenance, and inspections is mandated by law.

Fire risk assessments

The fire safety risk assessment is essential and is applicable to all enterprises, no matter how small, as many parts of the law are not prescriptive. RPs should hold fire drills, and teach personnel how to use extinguishers correctly and where they should be placed. In addition to injury and death, failure to protect staff by providing appropriate equipment could result in legal action and denial of insurance payouts.

You can use the BS5306 guidelines to determine which fire extinguishers to use and where.

Equip your workplace with leading fire safety solutions

Every workplace must have the correct fire extinguishers and fire safety solutions. Find our entire range of fire safety equipment here - including fire extinguishers and extinguisher stands and brackets.

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