Last edited 15 Jun 2021


Many processes involve the use of substances that could cause harm. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require employers to prevent or reduce workers' exposure to substances including:

  • Chemicals, and products containing chemicals.
  • Fumes, gases, vapours and mists.
  • Dusts.
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biological agents and germs.

It does not include lead, asbestos or radioactive substances, which are controlled by other legislation.

There are a wide range of situations where workers might be exposed to substances hazardous to health:

See HSE: Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Essentials guidance publications for guidance on different types of substances that might be encountered. This includes guidance on silica, welding and metalworking, plant and machinery and does in fact include guidance about asbestos.

Workers might be be exposed by:

  • Inhalation.
  • Ingestion.
  • Contact with the skin.
  • Contact with the eyes.
  • Skin puncture.

Controlling hazardous substances involves:

In the first instance, preventative measures should be taken to; avoid the substance or process, substitute it with something safer, or use the substance in a safer form. If exposure cannot be prevented, then it must be controlled to ensure that the risk of harm is ‘as low as is reasonably practicable' (ALARP).

Where proposed work has a high risk, a ‘permit to work’ may be introduced to ensure that only authorised people carry out the work, within a specified time frame and in a specific way, which may be set out in a method statement.

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Hey Nice article !!!! Thanks for telling us about COSHH

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