Safe use of hazardous substances

Keep all potentially harmful substances out of reach, particularly from children, young people and vulnerable persons.

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

It is your responsibility to assess the risk created to your employees by working with hazardous substances, and then to eliminate or minimise that risk as much as possible. Their responsibility arises under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations known as “COSHH”.

Examples of hazardous substances that you may come across include petrol, pesticides, insecticides, fertilisers, weed killers, liquid petroleum gas, but there may also be others. For example, be aware that pigeon droppings can cause disease and therefore need to be treated as a hazardous substance if work is to be done to remove a large quantity of them from a building.

Store all hazardous substances in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure you get a ‘Material Hazard Data Sheet’ from the supplier or manufacturer for all substances you use at your premises.

Visit HSE's control of substances hazardous to health for more information and guidance.

Please note COSHH does not cover lead, asbestos or radioactive substances these have their own regulations.