What do safety reps and workers say?

During 2020-2021 GMHC surveyed workers across the North West there were some interesting results:

  1. Two thirds said they had heard of Toxic Use Reduction

  2. One third didn't know if there were any COSHH assessments on any work activity or substance they worked with

  3. Substances which they knew they were at risk from:

    1. Asbestos

    2. Off gassing

    3. Dust

    4. Fumes

    5. Smoke

    6. External traffic pollution

    7. Reproductive toxins

  4. Two thirds had had COSHH training

  5. Half of the safety reps were not consulted or involved in the organising of COSHH training

  6. Just over a third had seen a safety data sheet for all the substances they used and two thirds either hadn't seen a safety data sheet for all the substances or for any of the substances they used.

  7. Two thirds were working to safe systems of work

  8. Over half wore PPE at work

  9. Three quarters knew what all the hazardous substances signs meant

  10. A quarter knew that substances they used had been replaced on health grounds

  11. Alternatives were selected by:

    1. Looking at least damaging chemical

    2. Alternative processing methods

    3. Hazardous equipment replaced

    4. Choosing a similar substance with reduced toxicity

    5. Advice from CLEAPSS (Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) https://science.cleapss.org.uk/Resources/Useful-Links/

    6. Consulting more experienced colleagues

    7. Choosing a substance not containing allergic substance

    8. Replacing textile binder with less toxic alternative

    9. Identifying non-toxic alternative from chemical safety profiles

    10. Procured through central purchase system

    11. Doing a different activity

    12. There was some evidence of greater risks from substitution/new materials but the majority didn't know

    13. A third of respondents had been treated for health conditions related to work

    14. Health conditions included:

      1. Asthma/other breathing, lung

      2. Skin conditions

      3. Heart disease

      4. Digestive system problems

      5. Other organ diseases

      6. Immune disease

      7. Reproductive issues

      8. Cancers

      9. Other health issues

    15. A minority were not aware of any health conditions

    16. Half of responses said their possible health associations had been investigated

    17. Four responded that they had been exposed to toxic substances in multiple jobs

    18. Less than half of responses said they kept a record of all the employers and substances they had been exposed to

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