COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:
finding out what the health hazards are;
deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
making sure they are used ;
keeping all control measures in good working order;
providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
planning for emergencies.
As part of managing the health and safety of your business you must control the risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out.
A risk assessment is about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.
When thinking about a risk assessment, remember:
a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc
e risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are required by the REACH Regulation.
SDS are key documents in the safe supply, handling and use of chemicals. They should help to ensure that those who use chemicals in the workplace do so safely without risk of harm to users or the environment.
A SDS will contain the information necessary to allow employers to do a risk assessment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
SDS are a must if a chemical is hazardous and is being supplied for use at work, whether in packages or not. SDS are also needed if your chemical is not classified as hazardous but contains small amounts of a hazardous substance(s).