COSHH regulations – are you up to date?

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is a law applying to every single company in the UK.  It requires employers to control those substances which are deemed hazardous to health to employees, contractors and any other person.

For companies operating in the surface engineering industry, substances would include:

  • Chemicals used in surface coating and finishing processes
  • Chemical by-products of the surface finishing processes
  • Fumes
  • Vapours
  • Dust
  • Gases

COSHH regulations require companies to put in place any effective, reliable and assessable control measures in relation to the use of these substances.  Companies are required to carry out assessments to identify the processes and activities carried out that involve hazardous substances, how they can cause harm and how you can reduce the risk of the harm occurring.  Guidance on how to complete COSHH assessments, as well as how to identify and implement control measures, can be found on the HSE website.

The HSE has also published the leaflet “Working with substances hazardous to health: A brief guide to COSHH” and is available to download from their website.  This leaflet is aimed at those employees of your company responsible for health and safety.   It explains how to control hazardous substances at work and how to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.

From changing the substance to a non-hazardous alternative, providing the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to controlling procedures and worker behaviour, there are a number of ways that compliance with COSHH can be achieved.

The Surface Engineering Association (SEA), is always on hand to give advice and guidance to members on how to comply with these regulations and others that affect the surface engineering industry, such as COMAH, REACH and RoHS.

If you are unsure of any legislation, how it affects you, or what you need to do to comply, you can contact us on 0121 237 1123 or email us at