Identifying hazardous substances and steps you can take improve safety
Those exposed for long periods of time are generally more at risk than those exposed for short periods or to less hazardous substances.
Use the links below to find information and resources to help you identify the risk to employees and the precautions you can take.
Hazardous substances can include
These can be present in your workplace from a variety of sources, including
The video below can be used and shared with your employees to help raise awareness and encourage discussion on the hazardous substances.
Hazardous substances can have an effect when they come into contact with the human body. Many of these substances will carry WELs. Exposure to substances can occur through
You can find out more about WELs on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
Visit the HSE site for guidance on WELs
Direct skin contact from using a substance can happen through
This can result in
Damage to the body also comes from inhalation, injection or ingestion of the substance which can result in
Or damage to internal organs causing
Workers can be exposed to hazardous substances depending on their work activity. Examples are provided below.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) place duties on you to take measures to prevent or control the exposure. There are also specific regulations relating to
To help identify if there could be a hazard, you need to consider if any products you use have danger labels or signs. For example
You also need to consider if any of the products you use
Your workplace risk assessment should identify if hazardous substances are used or generated in the workplace.
Find out how to carry out a risk assessment
You may then need to carry out a more specific assessment of the risk posed to workers and the controls you will need to put in place to protect them. This is known as a COSHH assessment.
We have created a publication with guidance and a form to help you carry out a COSHH assessment.
Go to our COSHH assessment publication
The HSE site has further information and guidance including hazardous substances at work and COSHH Essentials .
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.