COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
What is COSHH?
COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, and is concerned primarily with the safe handling, usage and storage of chemicals and substances that pose a danger to the health of either those handling the substances or to other people.
COSHH regulations and legislation forces businesses and organisations to be responsible for preventing or sufficiently limiting exposure to hazardous substances. This is done either through total avoidance (e.g. keeping workers away from waste dumps), or, if the substances form an unavoidable part of a person's job, through providing the correct personal protective equipment such as gloves, breathing apparatus etc. Employers can be fined, or even imprisoned in extreme cases, for failing to provide sufficient protection or control measures.
COSHH Risk Assessments and COSHH Substances
One of the first stages in putting into place effective COSHH procedures is to perform a COSHH risk assessment, in order to identify hazards and aim to foresee potential problems. By performing a risk assessment and identifying potential problems, it allows the organisation to put into place control measures that should hopefully prevent such a problem from becoming a reality. Whilst it is impossible to foresee and predict every conceivable accident and risk, performing a COSHH risk assessment and identifying the potential problems will greatly reduce the chances of such problems occurring.
There are many substances which are hazardous to human health, ranging from minor irritants to potential killers, depending on both the type of substance and the exposure levels. The substances can be waste products produced at the end of a process, cleaning products, dust, chemical ingredients etc. The sheer number of hazardous substances in the world means that organisations in different industries will face different hazards according to the products they produce or the services they provide. For instance, a restaurant worker will handle cleaning products, but is unlikely to come into contact with construction-related substances like a builder would, which will again differ from a car mechanic dealing with hydraulic fluid, oil etc.
Related COSHH Pages:
- COSHH - Hazardous Substances Routes of Entry
- COSHH Risks on a Construction Site
- COSHH Exposure Over Time
- COSHH Contamination and Accidental Ingestion
- COSHH Risks From Mists
- COSHH - Different Chemicals Used in Virtually All Industries
- Construction Site COSHH Risks - Cement
- COSHH Risks - Fungi
- COSHH Risks - Limit of Knowledge
- Why Should Hazardous Substances Be Stored Properly?
- Reducing COSHH Exposure
This variation in COSHH products makes it difficult and often impractical to run a COSHH training open course, as large parts of it will be irrelevant for the people on the course if they come from greatly differing industries. For this reason, we primarily run our COSHH courses as bespoke in-house courses, which are specifically tailored to an organisation's working environment, and the specific COSHH risks its workers face.
Many of our health and safety training courses such as the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate touch on COSHH to some extent, but for those who are serious about COSHH training for their employees, a bespoke course is really the only effective way to go. We have two COSHH courses that are occasionally offered as open courses, the details of which can be found below, however, these more often form the basis for a bespoke COSHH course which is tailored to the client's requirements.