Categories‎ > ‎Risk Assessment‎ > ‎

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) place a duty on employers to prevent, reduce and control the risk to employees, contractors and members of the public from exposure to substances in the workplace. The regulations cover material containing or emitting chemicals, fumes, dust, vapors, mist and gases. The regulations do not cover lead, asbestos or radioactive materials as these are covered by their own specific regulations.
Hazard Identification (in an office environment)
  • Fumes from work equipment during operation (photocopiers, printers, etc).
  • Use of stationery items (printer cartridges, inks, correction fluid, glues, etc).
  • Use of cleaning chemicals.
  • Building Services (fire extinguishers, refrigerant used in air conditioning plant, maintenance materials, etc).
  • Construction / refurbishment (construction materials, dust control, etc).
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
Suppliers of substance hazardous to health must produce and supply a safety data sheet for their products. This information will aid employers when carrying out a COSHH risk assessment. The information found on a material safety data sheet will include;-
  • Product name and trademark.
  • Chemical composition.
  • Physical properties.
  • Hazards.
  • Handling and storage.
  • Recommended procedures in the event of an emergency.
  • First aid.
Control Measures
When a hazardous substance has been identified firstly review the process and try and eliminate the risk completely or if this is not possible try reducing the risk by substituting the product with a safer alternative. Where control measures are required the following should be considered;-
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (gloves, eye protection, etc).
  • Permits to work.
  • Monitoring (Work Exposure Limit (WEL)).
  • Health Surveillance.
  • Emergency Planning (first aid, spill procedures, etc).
Specific training should then be carried out in the task and any control measures that are required to control the risk. Risk assessment should be reviewed on a regular basis.

COSHH Assessment, COSHH Regulation, Hazardous Substances, Safety Data Sheet, Safety Data Sheets