COSHH - What does it Mean?

COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’ and under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers need to either prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health.

Steps to reduce the risks faced by your employees:

  • find out what the health hazards are. Can you use an alternative product or technique to reduce the risk of harm? If you cant prevent it, you need to reduce the risk.
  • decide how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • provide control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • ensure they are being used ;
  • keep all control measures in good working order;
  • provide information, instruction and training for all employees and others;
  • provide monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
  • plan for emergencies.

Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. These have the potential to cause harm to employees, contractors any anyone else.

Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.

COSHH does not cover lead, asbestos or radioactive substances.

Safety Data Sheets

These provide information on the chemical products being used in order to be able to make a risk assessment of the substance. The sheets describe the hazards, handling procedures as well as the chemicals present, storage and emergency procedures.

HSE provides a free download for employers

These are the international symbols for hazardous products:

what-do-the-coshh-symbols-mean

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