Control of Substances Hazardous to
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations,1999, (often referred to as the COSHH Regulations) provide a legal framework to protect people against health risks from hazardous substances used at work.
Hazardous substances include those used directly in, and generated by, work activities together with those that are naturally occurring. The 'hazard' presented by a substance is its potential to cause harm. The 'risk' is the likelihood that it will harm people in the actual circumstances of use: this will depend on many factors such as the hazard presented by the substance, how it is used or misused, how exposure to it is controlled, how much someone is exposed to it and for how long the work is being done.
To comply with COSHH, it is recommended that seven steps should be followed:
- assess the risks;
- decide what precautions are needed;
- prevent or adequately control exposure;
- ensure that control measures are used and maintained;
- monitor the level of exposure;
- carry out appropriate health surveillance;
- ensure that employees are properly informed, trained and supervised.
For further information, reference should be made to the full COSHH Regulations (see References and Further Information) which can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (see Health & Safety for contact details).