From: Hazards Campaign Charter
Ensure proper enforcement of the Control Hierarchy for Hazardous
Substances as set out in the COSHH Regulations
Ensure rigorous enforcement of COSHH risk assessment provisions
Implement an absolute ban on substances and processes using or
generating substances where no safe practical exposure limit
can be achieved
The number of serious accidents and industrial illnesses related
to substances indicates that working practices where chemicals are
in common use, fall below the standard required by the COSHH Regulations.
Pressure from the industrial lobby has ensured that the requirement
to use safer substitutes has been effectively avoided. Occupational
Exposure Standards and Maximum Exposure Levels are set at figures
which industry and commerce are prepared to afford and not at those
which are necessarily safe.
The Hazards Campaign demands the enforcement of the COSHH Control
Hierarchy of elimination, substitution, engineering controls and
only Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a last resort. This
will include the stricter enforcement of the requirement to use
substitutes, stricter enforcement of requirements to provide adequate
control measures, such as ventilation.
The Hazards Campaign also demands
- mandatory penalties for failing to undertake COSHH risk assessments,
or for inadequate assessments
- mandatory service of Prohibition Notices on employers for non-compliance
with any part of COSHH Regulations
- an increased level of penalties for convicted COSHH offenders
Enforce the training and information requirements of COSHH
There is a low level of compliance with the parts of COSHH that
put duties on employers to give their employees full information
about the risks to their health from the substances they work with,
and to provide sufficient training in safe systems of work to reduce
the risks. The Hazards Campaign demands that the enforcing agencies
take more action on employers failing to provide suitable training
and provision of information for substance users.
Provide more information for members of the public
The Hazards Campaign also calls for the provision of more information
for members of the public buying chemicals for domestic use including
the provision of data sheets.
Urgent review of all substance control legislation
Reduce the use of all toxic substances
Implement the precautionary principle
Openness and accountability in decision making processes on substances
Far too many workers are killed or made seriously ill due to their
work with substances every year. Many communities affected by industrial
pollution suffer worse health and reduced life expectancy compared
to cleaner areas. The Hazards Campaign demands urgent action to
reduce this preventable occupational and public ill-health. Drastic
measures must be taken to reduce the overall use of toxic substances.
The time taken to act against chemicals suspected of causing ill-health
must be reduced and the precautionary principle applied across the
board. The whole process of decision making over use and control
of substances should be open to public involvement and scrutiny.
Make explicit the risks of biohazards
Micro-organisms encountered at work include bacteria, fungi and
viruses such as Hepatitis B and C, Multiple Resistant Staphylococcus
aureus in health work; Leptospirosis or Weil's disease in water
and sewage work, Aspergillus or Farmers lung, Ringworm in agriculture
and other zoonoses. The Hazards Campaign demands the rigorous enforcement
of the COSHH Regulations to biohazards, with avoidance of exposure
as the first priority but consideration of free vaccinations offered
to specific workers at risk.