Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)—essential requirements
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)—essential requirements

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)—essential requirements
  • Industrial diseases
  • Substances hazardous to health
  • Legal duties
  • Prohibition of certain substances
  • Other key requirements
  • Liabilities

Industrial diseases

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), SI 2002/2677, is one of the most important health and safety laws for any business that uses chemicals.

Thousands of workers are made ill every year by hazardous substances, contracting lung diseases, cancer and skin diseases

Examples of harmful substances and the diseases that they can give rise to:

Hazardous substance Disease
Dust in airLung diseases
Metalworking fluidsDermatitis and asthma
Wet cementChemical burns or dermatitis
Benzene in crude oilLeukaemia

For guidance on occupational health claims please see Practice Notes: Dermatitis and sensitisation conditions and Asthma.

Substances hazardous to health

COSHH defines 'substance hazardous to health' as including:

  1. substances which meet the criteria for classification as hazardous within any health hazard class laid down in the CLP Regulation whether or not the substance is classified under that regulation. For more on the CLP Regulation, see Practice Notes: CLP—chemicals classification and CLP—chemicals labelling

  2. substances for which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has approved a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL)

  3. biological agents (micro-organisms, cell cultures or human endoparasites)

  4. dust of any kind, when present at a concentration in air equal or greater to 10 mg/m3 (inhalable dust) or 4 m

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