Comparison of CHARM and COSHH essentials for CMR chemicals

The objective of this study was to compare Control of Substances Hazard to Health (COSHH) Essentials (a chemical risk assessment method in the UK) with Chemical Hazard Risk Management (CHARM) (a chemical risk assessment method in South Korea). The differences between the two processes were explored with a particular focus on their features and distinctions. The results obtained from applying COSHH Essentials and CHARM to 59 carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) substances were analysed. The outcomes of the working environment assessments and the collated information about the usage of CMR chemicals were used for the analysis. Among the 59 substances tested, 56 substances were rated at a risk level lower than 2, when evaluated with CHARM. However, with COSHH, all 59 substances were rated at risk level 3 or higher. With COSHH Essentials, the highest hazard group of 4 was automatically assigned to category E substances, regardless of the exposure level assessment. However, for CHARM, the risk could be adjusted according to the exposure level assessment, even for hazard group of 4. CHARM allocated lower risk levels to hazardous substances than COSHH Essentials. Ultimately, COSHH Essentials assesses exposure level through the physical properties and overall handling, and considers hazard with H-statements and R-phrases. The authors concluded that COSHH Essentials was deemed more conservative than CHARM. CHARM may have underestimated the risk according to exposure level, even though the chemicals were highly hazardous. Therefore, CHARM can be used for the localised risk assessment of chemicals used in individual workplaces.

Authors: Kim MU, Shin S, Byeon SH. ;Full Source: Journal of Occupational Health. 2015 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print] ;