COSHH – what is a substance “hazardous to health”?

One of the first things you will learn as part of a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) training course is which substances are included in the health and safety guidelines.

These include:

  •  Asphyxiating gases
  • Chemicals and products containing chemicals
  • Vapours and mists
  • Dusts
  • Fumes and gases
  • Biological agents and
  • Germs that cause diseases (i.e. leptospirosis) and germs used in laboratories
  • Nanotechnology

A general rule of thumb is that if the packaging of a substance contains any of the hazard symbols, it can be included as part of COSHH.

What doesn’t COSHH cover?

COSHH training courses do not generally cover issues relating to radioactive substances, lead or asbestos. As these materials are considered to be so hazardous to health and the environment, they have their own specific regulations.

Applying COSHH to the care environment

Training courses dealing with COSHH are often undertaken by people working within the health and social care sector. These care-focused courses provide participants with a basic understanding of COSHH and the dangers of some of the substances listed above, whilst also going into more detail on health and safety risk assessment processes.