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COSHH – What COSHH Covers / Oh my COSSH! What's it all about?

You will have heard the term COSHH many times in relation to health and safety and might be wondering what it stands for.


It simply refers to the control of substances which are hazardous to health. These substances must be recorded, controlled and kept securely to minimise the risk of harm.

So what counts under COSHH?

There are several substances that are considered potentially hazardous to health and these can come in several forms. The list might include:

  • Chemicals or products containing chemicals
  • Certain kinds of vapours, fumes, mists, dusts or gases
  • Biological agents, or germs that cause diseases
  • Nanotechnologies

There are some substances that we know to be hazardous to health, but which are not covered by COSSH because they have their own specific regulations. These substances include lead, asbestos and radioactive substances.

As well as keeping a record of hazardous substances and locking them away securely on site, you must ensue that employees who work with these substances have sufficient information and training to do so safely. It is important to keep records which show that this training has been completed.

You can use your risk assessment to explain to employees what the hazards are, any exposure limits they should know about, what to do if there is an accident or spillage and how you are monitoring exposure and risk in the workplace.

The same applies to contractors who come onto your site. They must be informed of the hazards and risks from substances around the site and the measures in place to control them. In addition, they must tell you if they are bringing hazardous materials on to the site with them and how they will manage the risks of doing so for themselves and for your employees.

We offer training in all aspects of COSSH from risk assessments to reporting, so if you have any questions or concerns don't hesitate to get in touch. Be informed for peace of mind.


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