COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002)
This law requires employers to control the use, storage, transport of any substances which may be harmful to health in order to reduce the workers’ possible exposure. In order to do so, employers must:
- Identify any use of substances harmful to health
- Assess the risk of using these substances.
- Reduce or eliminate any risk identified by introducing control measures and ensuring these controls are adequate and properly used.
- Provide instructions and training for employees and anyone else who may risk exposure.
- Provide monitoring and health surveillance if appropriate
- Plan for an emergency.
When using hazardous substances, employers should consider how these substances cause harm and whether a different substance or process can be used to reduce risk. For instance, painting rather than spraying paint reduces the risk or vapour inhalation.
COSHH covers a wide range of potentially hazardous substances including:
- Chemicals (bleach for instance)
- Products containing chemicals
- Germs which may cause disease such as legionella
- Gases and asphysiating gases
- Biological agents (look for the hazard symbols on the packaging)
COSHH does not cover asbestos, lead or radioactive substances because they have their own regulations.