Frequently asked questions

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.

So aside from the obvious things like a bottle of bleach or acid, you need to be careful of all the substances that COSHH covers, including: 

  • Gases - like carbon dioxide, methane, and environments that lack oxygen. 
  • Dusts - from textiles and paper particles, to tiny parts of soil and coal. 
  • Mists - that come from neat oils or water-based fluids, often used to cool metals when they’re being made and shaped. 
  • Biological agents and germs that cause disease - this covers things like bacteria, viruses and parasites, which are often worked within laboratories, farming, refuse collection and sewage treatment. 
  • Liquids - such as cleaning products and pesticides. 
  • Fumes - such as sulphur dioxide from petrol fumes or burning coal. 
  • Vapours - like acetone, which is in cleaning products and certain nail varnish removers.
  •  And finally, Nanomaterials and technology - which are found in things like batteries, cosmetics, food products, coatings and anti-bacterial clothing.

A worker might be exposed by:

  • Breathing in gases
  • Contact with the skin
  • Swallowing
  • Contact with the eyes
  • Puncturing the skin

It is a good idea to lock hazardous chemicals away, for example in a cupboard, if there are people such as children or those with visual impairments, who might be at risk of accidentally accessing them.

The UK follows The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. These regulations require employers to control exposure from any substances that may be hazardous to health. Everyone has a responsibility to work safely but the employers have a duty to protect employers from harm.

Documents & other resources

White Papers/Guides

A beginners guide to COSHH

Understand risk assessments, ratings and commonly used chemicals.


COSHH Hazard Symbols

The GHS and CLP regulations use various symbols to identify the hazards that are posed by different chemicals, find out what they are in this useful resource.


Safety Data Sheet Sections

A Safety data sheet goes into detail about the substance - and even though different industries and brands make them look different - all Safety Data Sheets follow the same rules.