Guide to COSHH

In any industry that involves working with chemicals or hazardous substances, workers will invariably come across COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) symbols on the labels of bottles and containers that store dangerous substances.

It is essential that these labels are understood, and that the COSHH standards are followed in the handling and storage of these substances.

What are the COSHH standards?

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 provides information about how to control hazardous substances within the workplace preventing them from causing harm. The COSHH regulations require employers to assess the risk(s) of hazardous substances, prevent or control exposure to such hazardous substances, and provide employees with information, instruction, and training about the risks and precautionary steps involved with controlling risks.

Why is COSHH regulation important?

COSHH regulations are important as they protect people from harm by controlling the risk(s) of such substances. COSHH addresses the specific hazards that apply to substances including their route of exposure and specific controls required e.g., ventilation systems. High risk substances will have legal exposure limits to prevent the following health effects.

Short term/immediate health effects: dizziness, stinging eyes, itching.

Long term health effects: cancer, long-term damage, chronic effects.

COSHH also provides details for correct disposal and clean-up of products to prevent negative effects within the environment. Environmental consequences of COSHH include killing organisms, contaminating areas, and can cause mutations.

COSHH is a legal requirement and so all employers must conduct COSHH risk assessments for hazardous substances within the workplace.

What are the COSHH symbols and their meanings?

COSHH symbols inform a person of a chemical’s potential hazards. They are to warn and help people identify chemicals that may cause harm to people or the environment. Below are the different COSHH symbols you may come across when examining the containers of substances within your workplace.

How can WA Management help?

As part of our online training shop, we offer a Control of Hazardous Substances online training course which can be accessed 24/7 online via desktop or tablet.

We can also create bespoke COSHH assessments from any MSDS sheet for any substances present in your workplace. Get in touch to enquire.

Asbestos Awareness and Control of Hazardous Substances training courses are essential tools in protecting the health of your workers. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of February. Simply enter the code ‘OccHealth10’ at checkout to save!

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