Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)


Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put people's health at risk. So the law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health.


What are hazardous substances

Hazardous substances include:

  • substances used directly in any work activity e.g. paint, adhesives, cleaning materials
  • substances generated by work activities e.g. fumes from soldering and welding
  • naturally occurring substances e.g. wood dust, grain dust
  • biological agents such as bacteria and other micro-organisms


Where are hazardous substances found

These hazardous substances can be found in:

  • offices
  • workshops
  • laboratories
  • health care facilities
  • store rooms


What are the potential effects of hazardous substances

Examples of the potential effects of hazardous substances include:

  • skin irritation or dermatitis as a result of skin contact
  • asthma as a result of developing allergies to substances at work
  • infection from bacteria or micro-organisms