Sheffield AMRC gets safety compliance under the COSHH
9 May 2018
The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) specialises in carrying out world class research to enable manufacturers to introduce advanced techniques, machinery, technologies and processes.
And with more than 400 engineers and researchers situated on the South Yorkshire Advanced Manufacturing Park site, health and safety remains a priority list, particularly COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health).
Health and safety manager Steve Davies explains: “COSHH assessments need to offer staff sufficient protection to reduce the risk of injury and work related ill health.”
However the existing COSHH assessment system needed updating to transform processes while assuring legal compliance.
Implementing a cohesive system can help improve many aspects of a business, not just legal compliance
To ensure this, compliance and risk management software business Alcumus was contracted to introduce its COSHH Management System.
Explained Davies: “We were in need of a sophisticated service that would permit us to create more specific assessments. We found Alcumus’ CMS was the perfect solution, providing instant access to a database of over 750,000 COSHH assessments.”
After putting the contract out to tender, the AMRC was persuaded that Alcumus’ software and consultancy solution could deliver the best service.
As well as providing access to thousands of COSHH assessments, Alcumus was also able to offer assistance with producing substance data sheets. These contain vital information on handling, storing and emergency measures assisting with the creation of initial detailed COSHH assessments.
This is vital for research and development organisations such as the AMRC, which often work with new or prototype substances, chemicals and products that have not been used before and, therefore, don’t yet have the relevant safety data.
Now the AMRC can create specific data sheets, using the substance’s chemical make-up to deliver far more accurate COSHH assessments.
Knowledge is key
The centre also received required technical expertise and advice to ensure their compliance from Alcumus’ seven-day-a-week helpdesk of in-house technical experts.
As well as being safe in the knowledge that it’s consistently compliant, exposure levels are reduced and staff are protected, AMRC is experiencing a financial benefit of implementing CMS in terms of time saving.
With the help of Alcumus’ database of COSHH assessment forms, the AMRC’s COSHH assessors have saved hundreds of hours that they would have spent writing COSHH assessments from scratch.
“On average, up to an hour is saved per assessment, saving us thousands of pounds per year. This frees up staff time, allowing them to focus on the research at hand rather than the paperwork, while ensuring that a representative COSHH assessment has been created.,”stated Davies.
“We now experience a far more varied and accurate response, with a range of assessments being placed across the three classifications; low, medium and high.”
Additionally, given the calibre of AMRC clients and the commercially sensitive projects the teams work on, there is a high level of client confidentially that needs to be managed correctly. The new system provides AMRC with an auditable system for managing IP, ensuring all clients’ projects are fully protected.
Monya Merrison, director of Alcumus Sypol, commented:
“Creating COSHH assessments can be a challenging and timely process. Unless you’re an expert in this field, it’s not something that’s thought of as essential.
“It’s encouraging to see companies such as AMRC take control of their COSHH needs and understand how implementing a cohesive system can help improve many aspects of a business, not just legal compliance.”