Appendix 3

Examples of good practice

Many work procedures and suitable controls are already in place in the University, e.g. work with biological agents is covered by University Biological Safety Policy.  Work in the University may be divided into five general groups:

1. Standard laboratory methods, e.g. work carried out by undergraduates and postgraduates students on taught courses

Current practice uses a limited range of substances and well tried techniques.  If appropriate safety precautions are detailed in the relevant laboratory practical protocols then no additional written COSHH assessment is required.

Any additions or modifications to these standard protocols would require reassessment and departments should periodically review these protocols to ensure adequate control of exposure to hazardous substances.

2. Workshop operation where engineering control measures should be provided

Good practice requires the use of well designed and efficient LEV to remove dust and fumes at source or draw them away from the breathing zones of workers involved in welding, soldering, or woodworking operations.

Departments should monitor and review their current controls, to ensure that they are adequate.  Written evidence of monitoring and review should be kept.

3. Other routine work

Many proprietary products commonly available to the general public are used in office and maintenance work. These include cleaning products, detergents, paints, glues, correcting fluids, inks and copier toners.  For these substances, it is usually sufficient to make a generic assessment by listing the substances, noting that they must be used in accordance with the supplier’s or manufacturer’s instructions, and concluding that their use in this way presents little or no risk to health. A more comprehensive record will be needed occasionally where work presents a greater risk to health (e.g. because large quantities are used) and the COSHH assessment form should be used.

4. Staff and students using non-standard methods

This group includes students and other workers who are carrying out research and other non-routine work.

Although most of this work will be carried out in laboratories suitably equipped with fume cupboards or safety cabinets, it is not sufficient to claim that exposure is controlled by good laboratory practice. A written COSHH assessment will normally be required and the notes on completion of the University’s COSHH assessment form (reproduced in Appendix 1) should be read to ensure that the relevant points are addressed adequately.

5. External contractors

Contractors (including those installing or maintaining equipment) must be given sufficient information to enable them to protect their employees from risks to their health. In turn, they must inform departments of any possible risks to University staff, students and others arising from their work. It may be necessary to provide contractors with, or ask them for, written COSHH assessments.