Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)

On this page you will find information about how to control hazardous substances at work so that they do not cause ill health.

It will help you to understand what you need to do to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended), which applies to the way you work with these substances.

What you must do

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended) requires employers to:

  • assess the risks that arise from the use of hazardous substances. This will include any arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents or emergencies, such as those resulting from serious spillages. The assessment must also include the health and safety risks arising from storage, handling or disposal of any of the substances
  • prevent, or if this is not reasonably practicable, control exposure to such substances
  • provide staff with information, instruction and training about the risks, steps and precautions the employer has taken to control these risks, eg provision of appropriate rubber gloves or appropriate eye protection

What you should know

Substances can take many forms and include:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapours
  • mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases and asphyxiating gases
  • biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of the hazard symbols, it is classed as a hazardous substance
  • germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease and germs used in laboratories

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Updated: 2024-02-09