What are the consequenses of poor COSHH


Health and Safety Law – who needs it?

The real question at the end of the day is – who is expendable?
If we can make a new product here in the UK it will bring new jobs and improve the economy of the UK.

If we can manufacture the same product in the third world with developing economies, with little or no regulation, desperately poor and under nourished populations – Will they be happy of the opportunity? Will we get the products cheaper? Will corporations make greater margins? Will individuals generate themselves greater wealth?

Does this seem vaguely familiar? Well this is exactly why health and safety does matter.

What do you know about the following topics? :-

What do you know about the following topics? :-

The Radium Girls in the USA?

Erin Brockovich:- we have all heard about her and her work in the USA if only by association with the film starring Julia Roberts.


Corby was branded a ‘toxic town’ after children were born with limb deformities.

In 2009, a High Court judge decided that Corby Borough Council had been negligent in the way it cleaned up former steel works land in the 1980s and ’90s. The botched reclamation work was capable of causing the limb deformities.
Corby Borough Council disagreed but, following an out-of-court settlement, has paid compensation to 19 children.
(Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northampton/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8715000/8715706.stm)
The Thalidomide Disaster
Close to 8,000 babies have been born deformed because their mothers used a sleeping-pill-tranquilizer called thalidomide
(Source: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,873697,00.html#ixzz1vEDYJgyc)

All of the above examples, catastrophes or inevitable consequences share a common thread they are all examples involving substances hazardous to health (S.H.H). The reason that they all have similar notoriety is that for whatever reason many individuals, employees or members of the general population became exposed to toxins directly themselves or their decendents now have to live with the consequences of their parent’s exposure to these substances.

The real question then with all of these examples is WHO cares? “None of us unless we are affected – I hear you say?”
Rather like the flock of sparrows being attacked by a peregrine falcon – phew that was close, rather him than me!

Health and Safety – The Knowledge we should all have.

I personally think that the MOST important single benefit that Health and Safety can bring to society is KNOWLEDGE, then society can make their own informed decision based on the facts.

There will always be those in society that choose to disregard official warnings, for example SMOKING, ALCOHOL & Social DRUGS to name only three.

However the personal consequences of disregarding these warnings I think is down to the individual user. If we the individuals are not made aware of, or are ignorant of the effects of S.H.H, how can we make an informed decision as to use them or not?

The solution to industrial uses of SHH is not as simple as an employer providing Information, Instruction, Training & Supervision to employees. There are many other facets to the equation, especially when we engineer new materials, drugs, enzymes, molecules and start genetic engineering.

“Conduct a Risk Assessment” – I hear you say or undertake an environmental impact assessment. Balance the risks and make an informed decision before proceeding. As ALL safety professionals know there are always exceptions, even the best conceived and rigorous risk assessments and control measures DO NOT prevent accidents.

Take the example of the recent foot and mouth epidemic in the U.K. 2007 -. Pirbright

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was asked by the Government to lead a team to investigate any potential breaches of biosecurity at the IAH and Merial sites; whether such breaches may have led to a release of any specified animal pathogen and whether any such breaches had been rectified to prevent future incidents. A multidisciplinary team was assembled with expertise in a wide range of relevant areas, including in investigation; in working with highly infectious viruses; in engineering control systems relevant to containment; in veterinary medicine production; and in management systems for controlling risk and environmental protection issues. (Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/)

Even in highly regulated and top biosecurity establishments things can still go wrong.

The question for me is specifically in relation to COSHH,

“How do scientists, researchers, industrialists and manufacturing company’s chemical & regulatory officers, develop and produce new products and state in the Manufacturers Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that the product is not classified as harmful under the COSHH legislation when the product may contain pesticides, hydroxides, peroxides, acids and many more individually seriously harmful substances?”

We all know that toxins in water for example are measured in Parts Per Million (ppm) therefore an infinitesimally small quantity of a toxic substance can be cumulative within humans and build up in their target organs.