What is COSHH? Questions about COSHH answered

COSHH stands for “Control of substances that are hazardous to health” and under the regulation of substances that are hazardous to health 2002, employers must prevent or reduce the exposure of their employees to substances that are harmful to their health.

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About COSHH 

Most organizations nowadays use substances that can harm workers, contractors and other people. These hazardous substances can occur in many different forms, such as:

  • Chemicals
  • fumes
  • Dust particles
  • fumes
  • Mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases
  • Stifling gases
  • Biological agents

The HSE has a free downloadable manual called ‘Working with substances that are hazardous to health’ – a brief overview of COSHH. This guide explains that hazardous substances make thousands of employees sick by contracting lung diseases, such as asthma; cancer and skin diseases such as dermatitis. As a result, these diseases cost many millions of pounds for industry, society and individuals. The guide illustrates how you should assess the risk of your own COSHH substances and what control measures you should take to reduce employee exposure.

COSHH training is required because it allows employees to identify measure and control exposure to harmful substances and as a result will protect your employees. COSHH training must provide you with:

  • Insight into how and which substances can harm health
  • Knowledge and definitions of exposure limits
  • Skills for understanding exposure and performing COSHH risk assessments
  • A better understanding of practical control measures and safe work systems

COSHH Symbols and Meanings 

The hazardous substances mentioned above also have international symbols so that you can understand the different hazards within your organization.

COSHH Symbols and Meanings 

I hope this post has answered some of your more fundamental questions. If you want to test your knowledge, try our fun COSHH quiz.

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