August 23, 2018

New COSHH Assessments Required After New EU Directive Significantly Reduces 31 Exposure Limits

Businesses will need to review their COSHH Assessments after a new Directive from the EU significantly reduced exposure limits for 31 chemicals in a bid to boost worker health.

Six of the chemicals have had their exposure levels halved, while 14 others have had an exposure level set where none had previously in place.

It means businesses handling these chemicals will need to review their COSHH Assessments to ensure their people are not put at risk – and the business is compliant – under this new regime.

The Directive is effective from 21 August 2018, so if you are affected you should be acting now to reduce your business risk.

Here’s the full list of chemicals affected by the Directive

  1. Manganese and inorganic manganese compounds (as manganese)
  2. Glycerol trinitrate
  3. Carbon tetrachloride; Tetrachloromethane
  4. Amitrole
  5. Acetic acid
  6. Hydrogen cyanide (as cyanide)
  7. Methylene chloride; Dichloromethane
  8. Vinylidene chloride; 1,1-Dichloroethylene
  9. Tetraethyl orthosilicate
  10. Acrylic acid; Prop-2-enoic acid
  11. Nitroethane
  12. Bisphenol A; 4,4′-Isopropylidenediphenol
  13. Diphenyl ether
  14. 2-ethylhexan-1-ol
  15. 1,4-Dichlorobenzene; p-Dichlorobenzene
  16. Acrolein; Acrylaldehyde; Prop-2-enal
  17. Methyl formate
  18. But-2-yne-1,4-diol
  19. Tetrachloroethylene
  20. Ethyl acetate
  21. Sodium cyanide (as cyanide)
  22. Potassium cyanide (as cyanide)
  23. Diacetyl; Butanedione
  24. Carbon monoxide
  25. Calcium dihydroxide
  26. Calcium oxide
  27. Sulphur dioxide
  28. Lithium hydride
  29. Nitrogen monoxide
  30. Nitrogen dioxide
  31. Terphenyl, hydrogenated

Action you need to take as a result of this new Directive

Remember COSHH assessments should ensure exposure is below these Workplace Exposure limits. The limits are seen as a maximum allowable exposure level, and if you can reduce exposure to a lower level then this should be considered.

When reviewing your COSHH Assessments ensure that you choose control measure that are relevant from the COSHH Hierarchy of Controls, with ‘1’ being a more suitable control measure and ‘7’ – the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – being the last consideration.

COSHH Hierarchy of Controls

  1. Eliminate the use of a harmful product or substance and use a safer one
  2. Use a safer form of the product, eg paste rather than powder
  3. Change the process to emit less of the substance
  4. Enclose the process so that the product does not escape
  5. Extract emissions of the substance near the source
  6. Have as few workers in harm’s way as possible
  7. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, coveralls and a respirator. PPE must fit the wearer

For templates and guidance on completing COSHH Assessments customers should download our Risk Assessment Manual from the HRHUB. And for more help call the H&S Advice Line on 0845 073 0240 (option 1).

How the Directive will be represented in the UK regulatory framework

HSE publication ‘EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits’ records the recommended Workplace Exposure Limits for several hundred substances.

Last updated in 2011, this is likely to be revised to reflect the values now stated in the EU Directive.

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About the author

Philip Barker

Philip has worked for Moorepay for over nine years, starting as a Health & Safety Consultant in February 2008 before taking up the position of Consultancy Manager in January 2015. Coming from a retail background, both as a store manager and health & safety professional, he already had a good cross industry experience. Working at Moorepay has provided an opportunity to broaden both knowledge and experience across a wide range of industry sectors. Philip started his health & safety career after a number of years managing retail stores and holds a HNC in Environmental Health Studies, a Diploma in Environmental Policy and a NEBOSH Diploma.