We are aiming to eliminate or reduce the amount of exposure to respiratory hazards such as silica, asbestos, lead and welding fumes, amongst others. Respiratory ill health caused by these substances is preventable and although many substance have the potential to harm, if used properly the risk of harm is reduced to the lowest possible level. We need to make sure that the business is meeting The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
In your work area you should be aware of every substance that has the potential to cause harm; Sypol (COSHH computer programme) will give you safety data sheets which contain information on each substances composition, safe work methods and first aid measures. These should always be considered when planning work.
A risk assessment should inform you of the respiratory risks and levels of risk. Your local health and safety professional should be able to give you advice and guidance on the risk assessment process and best practices to use to control the risks.
You should know which employees are potentially exposed to respiratory risks, what tasks are involves, the frequency, duration and levels of exposure. With this information you should be have a better understanding of what control measures need to be in place.