The sixth edition of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) Approved Code of Practice and guidance has now been published.  The revised ACOP is intended to clarify and simplify practical advice to help dutyholders comply with the requirements of COSHH, to reflect other ongoing reviews of technical guidance associated with COSHH and clarify specialist terminology, where possible.

The changes follow January's publication of the analysis of responses to the HSE consultation on Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs).  The consultation had sought views on proposals for the revision, consolidation or withdrawal of 15 ACOPs to be delivered by the end of 2013; and on proposals for minor revisions, or no changes, to a further 15 ACOPs to be delivered by 2014. 

As part of these measures, the consolidation of five ACOPs is still awaited: the Design of plant, equipment and workplaces (L134); Storage of Dangerous Substances (L135); Control and Mitigation measures (L136); Safe maintenance, repair and cleaning procedures (L137); and Dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres (L138).  L134-137 will be withdrawn and a revised version of L138 is scheduled to be published by the end of 2013 as the single ACOP covering all DSEAR health and safety regulation.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that Professor Lofstedt considers the pace of change to health & safety is too fast.  In a recent interview he is reported as stating “I just think it feels a bit rushed. I don’t think we should rush things through for the sake of timing.”  Lofstedt's 2011 government commissioned report, Reclaiming health and safety for all, called for a review of all HSE ACOPs, recommending a target for the initial phase of the review but set no timescale for final revisions of the ACOPs.