Every year exposure to hazardous substances at work affects the health of many thousands of people.
Common examples include:
- Lung disease (e.g. through working in dusty conditions),
- Skin irritation,
- Dermatitis or skin cancer (e.g. from frequent contact with oils or corrosive liquids),
- The development of other occupational cancers (e.g. from exposure to toxic fumes),
- Occupational asthma (e.g. from sensitisation to isocyanates in paints or adhesives).
The high costs of ill-health arise from a number of causes, including loss of earnings, loss of productivity, prosecution and civil action, among others.
For further advice and guidance please contact us.
Under the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 if a site contains a hazardous substance on over or under land above a specified quantity (known as the controlled quantity) then it is necessary to obtain consent from the hazardous substances authority.
The Act provides for Local Authorities to act as the HSA. The procedure ensures that hazardous substances can be kept or used in significant amounts only after the Local Authority has had the opportunity to assess the degree of risk arising to persons in the surrounding area, and to the environment. Local Authorities are able to exercise control over the siting and use of hazardous substances through the development control system and also to exercise control over the presence of hazardous substances whether or not associated development requiring planning permission is involved.
Section 28 of the Act requires the Council to maintain a public register of sites at which hazardous substances are permitted to be located. The register holds a details of:
The name, address and area of the site of each application for hazardous substances consent or continuation of consent
A description of the activities on the site and the decision of the hazardous substances authority or the Secretary of State for the Environment;
The name and maximum quantity liable to be on the site of each hazardous substance the consent includes. A copy of each order revoking or modifying a consent;
A copy of each claim for a deemed consent (this is a consent that could be claimed where a hazardous substance was present at a site in the 12 months before June 1992. It allowed existing users and storers of hazardous substances to continue their previous operations subject to standard conditions);
A copy of each direction by the Secretary of State granting temporary exemption; and
The decision on each hazardous substances consent appeal or contravention notice.
Hazardous Substances Consents Issued By the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley under the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 1992.
Dudley Council's Public Register
Dudley Council maintain a Register of Hazardous Substances Consents. There are currently no Hazardous Substances Consents in the Borough of Dudley.
A public Prosecutions Register is maintained detailing details of prosecutions and formal cautions issued in the last three years, in accordance with the Environment and Safety Information Act 1988.
Hazardous materials that are not normally collected by the refuse collection service can be taken to the council's Household waste recycling centre for disposal.
Further advice for the disposal of hazardous waste.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:
- finding out what the health hazards are
- deciding how to prevent harm to health by carrying out a risk assessment
- providing control measures to reduce harm to health
- making sure they are used
- keeping all control measures in good working order
- providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
- providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
- planning for emergencies.
Any site which needs to use or store hazardous substances such as chlorine, hydrogen, or natural gas, at or above certain thresholds, requires a hazardous substances consent before it can operate.
Most businesses use substances, products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.
Sometimes substances are easily seen as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.
Further information can be found on the HSE website
Control of Major Accidents Hazards (COMAH) applies mainly to the chemical industry, but also to some storage activities, explosives and nuclear sites, and other industries where threshold quantities of dangerous substances identified in the Regulations are kept or used.
These regulations aim to prevent and limit the consequences of major accidents, at over 1,000 establishments which use or store significant quantities of dangerous substances, such as oil products, natural gas, chemicals or explosives.
A 'major accident' could involve an uncontrolled release, fire or explosion, which results in serious danger to human health or the environment. A major accident to the environment would cause severe and/or long-term damage.
In England and Wales, responsibility for enforcing COMAH is shared between the Environment Agency and the Health & Safety Executive, working together as a Competent Authority.
Further information can be found from the HSE.
The Planning Inspectorate web site contains Appeal guidance and forms.
Applicants for hazardous substances consent may appeal under Section 21 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 on the following grounds.
- where the hazardous substances authority (HSA) refuse consent or grant it subject to conditions;
- where the applicant has applied for removal or variation of a condition (or conditions) imposed on a previous grant of hazardous substances consent and the HSA has refused the application or imposed different conditions;
- where the applicant has applied for any consent, agreement or approval required by a condition attached to a previous grant of hazardous substances consent, but the HSA has refused to give that consent/agreement/approval;
- where the applicant has applied to the HSA under Section 17 of the 1990 Act for the continuation of a hazardous substances consent upon partial change of ownership of the land and the HSA has refused the application; or
- the HSA has failed to issue a decision within the period allowed (ie 8 weeks from the date of receipt of the application, or any extended period agreed in writing between the applicant and the HSA).
For further information please refer to the Planning Inspectorate web site on:
Environmental Safety and Health
3-5 St James's Road
Telephone 0300 555 2345
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 8.45am to 5.00pm.
Offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays.