Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

Over the years there has been a steady decline in the understanding of COSHH and its control measures in the workplace. Many believe that simply downloading a Safety Data Sheet and putting in a file, is compliant as a COSHH Assessment. It is not… A COSHH Assessment is a form of Risk Assessment (specifically for the use of hazardous substances), but must still follow the 5 principles:

  1. Identify the hazards.
  2. Assess the risks.
  3. Control the risks.
  4. Record the findings.
  5. Review the controls.

Much of the information can be gathered from the Safety Data Sheet but it does not give any information on how you intend to use the substance at work.

There are many support solutions available to aid in your COSHH Management, for example the VISION Software system, COSHH Module, will control your COSHH Register, Safety Data Sheet Library and produce Risk Rated COSHH Assessments.  If this is of interest, please contact us. Alternatively, the HSE provides a great COSHH Essentials portal, providing access to several direct advice sheets and the COSHH e-tool. When using the tool, you will be prompted by questions to enter some basic information about the substance you are using, before being directed to the most appropriate generic control guidance sheet.

Question & Answer.
Q.  I can’t find a Safety Data Sheet for the substance I have purchased; do I need it?
A.  Yes, you do need the Safety Data Sheet.  Any supplier of chemicals is legally required to provide a safety data sheet with the first consignment of your order. If you have lost this or think it is out of date, you should contact your supplier and request a replacement or an updated one.