Software automates creation of risk assessment reports

1st April 2013

Exposure to hazardous chemicals in the working environment can have serious consequences for workers and employers alike, so Health and Safety and COSHH regulations require employers to generate and maintain detailed Risk Assessments.

Most companies currently hold their Risk Assessment documentation as paper records, which can absorb considerable resources in their creation and maintenance, and in the retrieval of information when needed.

The new software package, RisQ, was developed in the UK by Quality Systems International (QSI) and can be applied to any situation, laboratory, plant or warehouse, where chemicals are handled.

Hazard symbols

All the relevant details of each material – including its CAS and EC reference numbers, physical and chemical properties, synonyms and of course specific hazard data complete with the appropriate hazard symbols ­– are held in the system’s database for the generation of Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

RisQ uses the Royal Society of Chemistry’s protocol for the creation of Risk Assessments, which fully meets the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive. This procedure provides methods for estimating the exposure potential for a given compound used in a particular way, based on characteristics such as the quantity involved, its physical characteristics such as volatility, the nature of the use and the containment available.

It also allows the risks from different forms of exposure, e.g. from inhalation or skin contact, to be evaluated.

Records can be created for all these parameters within the software's database, from which the required information can be extracted when a new Assessment is needed to cover a different use of the material, thus saving time and reducing errors.

Management screens

A simple Wizard-based approach then combines the chemical data and the process information to create the Assessment. RisQ includes management screens for handling materials storage and deliveries. Supplier and delivery records and information on storage and location allow the total inventory of hazardous materials to be viewed at any time. COSHH regulations also require that Risk Assessments are reviewed and if necessary updated at specific time intervals.

These reviews can be scheduled and flagged automatically, avoiding the danger of holding out-of-date information.

Because the Risk Assessment is available as a database record, it is readily available to anyone who needs it, in any location, without having to access a central paper record as is usually the case.

The system is accessed via a web browser, so the information is immediately available to everyone without the need to deploy custom software to their individual desktops. This ensures uniformity of data across the organisation.

Indeed, with the appropriate security, remote access can be made available to field operatives if necessary. The software can be purchased outright, or users can enter into a very economical rental agreement.

Clive Collier is with Quality Systems International (UK) Ltd, Chilton, Aylesbury, UK.





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