What is CoSHH?
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
CoSHH is a health and safety Regulation which was first introduced in 1988 with updates in 1994, 1999 and 2002. CoSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. The current Legislation is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.
The CoSHH Regulations set down the legally required duties that an employer or someone who could expose others to hazardous chemicals must carry out to assess the risk and control it robustly. In this article we will take a quick look at what hazardous substances are as defined by CoSHH and where CoSHH applies.
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Where does CoSHH apply?
CoSHH applies to any employer whose employees work with chemicals and other substances which are potentially hazardous to their health, this includes those who are self-employed, but employ others.
There are cases where someone might be self-employed and employ no-one else. In this case CoSHH applies if that person takes hazardous chemicals into someone else’s premises where there are other people who could be exposed to the hazardous chemicals being taken into those premises.
What is a Hazardous Chemical?
This is pretty complex when written in legal jargon, but as far as CoSHH is concerned any substance, no matter what form it takes, that if it is inhaled, ingested, comes into contact with the skin or is absorbed through the skin can cause harm. This includes the following definitions:
- Any material that under the CLP Regulation is classified as: Very Toxic, Toxic, harmful, corrosive or irritant
- Any material for which the Health and Safety executive have approved a workplace exposure limit
- A biological agent
- Any inhalable dust (particle size <100 micrometres) in concentrations of equal to or greater than 10mg/m3 over an 8 hour time weighted average
- Any respirable dust (particle size < 10 micrometres) in concentrations of equal to or greater than 4mg/m3 over an 8 hour time weighted average
What forms can Hazardous chemicals take?
According to the Health and Safety Executive hazardous chemicals can come in any of the following forms:
- products containing chemicals
- gases and asphyxiating gases and
- biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of the hazard symbols, then it is classed as a hazardous substance.
- germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease and germs used in laboratories.
What is not covered under CoSHH?
Because there is specific legislation for them, the following hazardous materials are not covered by CoSHH:
- Radioactive substances
Compliance with the CoSHH Regulations is not voluntary; the Regulations are a legal requirement and must be complied with at all times. Any failure to comply could lead to prosecution and fines by the HSE.
At Chris Garland Training we have an accredited level 2 e-learning course which presents the principles of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. Learn in your own time and at your own pace with this online course. For this or any other health and safety training requirements, why not contact us a call and we will be happy to help you in any way we can.