What are Substances Hazardous to Health?
Every year, thousands of workers are made ill by hazardous substances, contracting lung disease such as asthma, cancer and skin disease such as dermatitis.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002), COSHH, relates to working with substances which when used, stored, handled in the workplace or transported give rise to risks to the health and safety of persons, environment, premises, plant and equipment.
These substances can take many forms including; chemical, fumes, dusts, vapours, mists, gases and biological agents.
What do I need to do?
To comply with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) you must:
- Assess the risks
- Decide what precautions are needed
- Prevent or adequately control exposure
- Ensure that control measures are used and maintained
- Monitor the exposure.
- Carry out appropriate health surveillance
- Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
- Ensure employees are properly informed, trained and supervised
How do I get information on the substances I use?
You can find relevant information about Substances Hazardous to Health from their Safety data sheets – sometimes known as a Material or Chemical safety data sheet.
Safety Data sheets describe the hazards the chemical presents, and give information on handling, storage and emergency measures in case of accident. They can be sourced from the supplier and in most cases are available from the manufacturer’s website. Safety Data sheets are an essential tool when completing a COSHH risk assessment – they are not a risk assessment in themselves!
The products you use may have a label that has one or more hazard symbols. Since 2009, new international symbols (red and white diamond) have been gradually replacing the European (orange and Black Square) symbols. If you want more information on the new hazard symbols please contact the Avensure Health and safety team.