COSHH-Health Surveillance Competence in the Workplace.

Health Surveillance Competence


The employer must ensure that the determination of health surveillance needs is carried out by competent employees or other competent persons who also need to be familiar with:

  • the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations;
  • the employer's general duty in the Health and Safety at Work Act to protect non-employees (see A 2, The Employer's General Duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act);
  • occupational health matters and the validity of techniques for detecting indications of disease or other health effects.

Determination of health surveillance needs is a matter that must be addressed during COSHH assessment (see E 3.2, COSHH Assessment of Health Risks and Precautions). This should be in consultation with the employees at risk and with the managers and professionals related to the work done by those employees. The need for surveillance can be avoided by preventing exposure (for example, substituting a substance that is harmful with one that is not).

The employer must ensure that any medical surveillance required as part of his health surveillance procedures is carried out under the supervision of an employment medical adviser or appointed doctor.

The employer must permit an employment medical adviser or appointed doctor to inspect any workplace or any record required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.

The employer must ensure that other health surveillance procedures are carried out under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner; or, where appropriate, either a suitable qualified person (e.g. occupational health nurse); or a responsible person appointed by the employer who is competent to carry out the relevant procedure and is charged with reporting to the employer the conclusions of the procedure

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