COSHH Hazard Symbols are pictograms which allow you to easily identify potential hazards associated with any substances you might use in your workplace.

These symbols convey important information about the risks posed by certain chemicals or materials. Understanding them is essential for maintaining a safe working environment and for mitigating the risks of exposure to hazardous substances.

The pictograms appear in the shape of a white diamond with a red border so they are easily recognisable.

You may find some items in your workplace have more than one pictogram on them because they contain more than one harmful substance.

See below for details about each of the nine COSHH symbols.

COSHH Hazard Symbols


Symbol: An exploding bomb.

Meaning: Chemicals or preparations which may explode.

Industries: Military and Defence, Mining, Construction, Oil and Gas, Chemical Manufacturing, Demolition, Agriculture.


COSHH Hazard Symbol: A flame.

Meaning: Flammable liquids, gasses or solids.

  • May catch fire in contact with air.
  • Only need brief contact with an ignition source.

Industries: Petrochemicals, Chemical Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Paint and Coatings, Woodworking and Furniture, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Printing, Textiles.


COSHH Hazard Symbol: A flame over a circle.

Meaning: Acts as an oxidiser.

  • Can react with other chemicals to cause or intensify fire.
  • May cause an explosion.

Industries: Chemical Industry, Metal Fabrication and Welding, Water Treatment, Lab work, Healthcare, Cleaning, Firefighting.


COSHH Hazard Symbol: Chemical corroding material and skin.

Meaning: Will cause serious skin burns or eye damage. Also corrosive to metals.

  • Found in drain cleaners, ammonia, acetic acid.

Industries: Chemical Manufacturing, Metal Fabrication, Oil and Gas Industry, Battery Manufacturing, Electronics Manufacturing, Water Treatment, Cleaning Industry, Automotive Maintenance, Laboratories, Agriculture.

Acute Toxicity

COSHH Hazard Symbol: A skull and crossbones.

Meaning: Acute toxicity. Poison.

Chemicals that cause damage to health in small amounts.

  • Toxic: if swallowed.
  • Toxic if inhaled.
  • Toxic in contact with skin.
  • Can be fatal.
  • Found in cyanides, white or red phosphorus, sodium azide.

Industries: Chemical Manufacturing, Construction, Mining, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Healthcare, Waste Management, Transportation, Cleaning Services, Emergency Response.

Hazardous to Environment

COSHH Hazard Symbol: A dead tree and fish.

Meaning: Hazardous to the environment.

  • Toxic or very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.
  • Can cause serious damage to the environment.
  • Usually found on pesticides, biocides, petrol, turpentine etc.

Industries: Chemical Manufacturing, Industrial Facilities, Agricultural Operations, Mining Sites, Waste Management Facilities, Transportation of Hazardous Materials, Oil and Gas Operations, Chemical Storage Facilities, Construction Sites, Marine Environments.

Health Hazard

COSHH Hazard Symbol: Exclamation mark.

Meaning: Health hazards are less serious but still harmful.

  • May cause respiratory irritation, dizziness or an allergic reaction.
  • Harmful if swallowed.
  • Harmful in contact with skin.
  • Harmful if inhaled.
  • Commonly found in bleach, paints, glues.

Industries: Found across industries.

Serious Health Hazard

COSHH Hazard Symbol: A person with internal damage.

Meaning: These are chemicals that can cause serious and long-term damage to health.

  • Includes carcinogens and mutagens.
  • Found in asbestos, benzene, vinyl chloride.

Industries: Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Chemical Industry, Healthcare, Waste Management, Textile Industry, Transportation, Nuclear Industry.

Gas Under Pressure

COSHH Hazard Symbol: A gas cylinder.

Meaning: Gas is stored under pressure.

  • May explode if heated.
  • May cause cryogenic burns or injury.
  • For example methane, chlorine, carbon monoxide.

Industries: Welders and Metal Fabricators, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Heating and Ventilation Technicians, Firefighters, Lab Technicians, Manufacturing and Industrial, Medical Professionals, Brewery Industry, Divers.

COSHH hazard symbols are important in promoting a safe place of work by effectively communicating potential hazards and enabling individuals to take appropriate precautions.

Training staff to recognise COSHH hazard symbols demonstrates your commitment to employee safety and will help prevent accidents and the potential for harm.

Ensure you are COSHH compliant by investing in training and education.

Find out more here or by attending our Accredited COSHH Awareness Course.

Published On: April 23rd, 2024