What substances does COSHH apply to?
COSHH Assessment

  • Those classified as dangerous to health under the “CHIP” Regulations i.e. substances classified as very toxic, toxic, harmful, corrosive or irritant
  • Substances with a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL)
  • Any biological agent if it is directly connected to the work (e.g. pathogens in laboratories, legionella in air conditioning, weil’s disease from contaminated water)
  • Dust, if its average concentration in the air exceeds the levels specified in COSHH
  • Any other substance not mentioned above that creates a risk to health

How can substances harm one’s health?

Harmful SubstancesIrritant
Some typical examples include:
  • Dermatitis
  • Occupational asthma
  • Skin irritation
  • Lung diseases / respiratory illnesses
  • Burns from corrosive substances
  • Occupational cancers

How can I find out the hazards?

  • Read health and safety data sheets which must be provided by suppliers and manufacturers (try Googling MSDS followed by the name of the substance)
  • Check the label
  • Use information from within your industry; trade literature; published guidance

How do I control the risks?

Aim to eliminate the substance or find a lower hazard alternative substance. If this is not possible, implement measures in the following order:

FIRST: By the design and use of appropriate systems, equipment and processes, e.g.:
  • Use a pump instead of pouring liquids
  • Store chemicals correctly to avoid spills and accidental mixing
SECOND: By the control of exposure at source, for example:
  • Enclose the whole process
  • Use a dust or fume extraction system
THIRD: By the provision of personal protective equipment if necessary in addition to the above measures, for example:
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Respirators
AND In addition:
  • Provide training, information and instruction
  • Provide supervision where necessary
  • Use safe systems of work
  • Minimise the number of people exposed to the risk