COSHH - Control of Substances Hazardous To Health
The Control of Substances Hazardous To Health (COSHH) regulations were issued in 2002 and are administered the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) of the United Kingdom. The regulations require employers to control exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace to prevent ill health.
These regulations not only prevent injuries to employees, but can also improve productivity, reduce accidents, and lessen legal/regulatory liabilities. Like most workplace safety regulations, they benefit employers and employees alike.
Employer compliance with COSHH requires eight steps:|
- Assess the risks from hazardous substances in your workplace.
- Determine what precautions are needed.
- Prevent or "adequately" control exposure.
- Ensure that control measures are used and maintained.
- Monitor employee exposure to hazardous substances.
- Carry out appropriate health surveillance.
- Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
- Ensure employees are properly informed, trained, and supervised.
Under the regulations, a Substance Hazardous to Health is any of the following:
- Any substance classifed as dangerous to health under CHIP regulations. These will have ratings of T+ (very toxic), T (toxic), X (harmful), C (corrosive), or XI (irritant) under CHIP.
- Substances with workplace exposure limits listed in the HSE publication EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits.
- Biological agents that are directly connected with or incidental to the work. Examples include exposures from sewage treatment or air conditioning systems.
- Any kind of dust if it exceeds COSHH concentration limits.
- Any other substance which creates a risk to health but isn't specifically covered by CHIP. Examples include asphyxiants, pesticides, cosmetics, and medicines.
Substances not "hazardous to health" under COSHH include:
- Substances with their own regulations, such as asbestos and lead.
- Substances which are hazardous only because they are radioactive, at high pressure, at extreme temperature, have explosive or flammable properties, or are biological agents outside the employer's control (infectious diseases, for example).
- "Safety at Work, Seventh Edition", Hardcover, 1,056 pages, 2007. Estimated price $171.00. Info and/or order.
- "Risk Assessment of Chemicals: An Introduction, 2nd Edition", Hardcover, 688 pages, 2007. Estimated price $169.75. Info and/or order.
- "Introduction to Health and Safety at Work, Fourth Edition", Paperback, 552 pages, 2009. Estimated price $71.20. Info and/or order.
- "Managing Health and Safety: Learning Made Simple", Paperback, 128 pages, 2007. Estimated price $24.95. Info and/or order.
Substances to which COSHH applies will require an appropriate warning label and MSDS per CHIP regulations. Much of the informatio that employers require for COSHH compliance can be found in the MSDS's.
- The full text of The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009 (CHIP4) for England, Wales and Scotland as well as Northern Ireland.
- The HSE's Control of Substances Hazardous to Health - COSHH web site has all kinds of useful information.
- COSHH: A Brief Guide to the Regulations (PDF, 190 Kb).
- COSHH Essentials provides advice on controlling the use of chemicals for a range of common tasks, e.g, mixing, or drying.
- Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
- Chemicals at Work at the HSE, covers all of the major UK/EU regulations - COSHH, CHIP, REACH, GHS, PIC, CLP, and COMAH.
See also: CHIP, REACH, risk phrases, safety phrases, and the International Section of the MSDS FAQ.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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