Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations in the Rosalind Franklin Building
COSHH refers to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994.
Code of Practice
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002, is a United Kingdom Statutory Instrument that states general requirements on employers to protect employees and other persons from the hazards of substances used at work and the control of exposure to them, together with health surveillance and incident planning, by the means of a risk assessment.
The aim of this CoP is to provide staff, students and (if appropriate) visitors (from outside this University or from other Faculties within this University), in MB (Rosalind Franklin) Building with guidance and advice to enable them to use ‘substances’ during their work safely, but therefore requires user co-operation in following such guidance for their own safety.
A ‘substance’ is not necessarily a ‘chemical’ - it may be natural or artificial, in a solid, liquid, gaseous or vapour form. Biological materials and micro-organisms are also included.
CoSHH does not include lead, asbestos and radioactive substances, each of which is governed by their own regulations.
Before starting any practical work involving the use of ‘substances’ an assessment of the hazards associated with each substance used in the proposed work must be made.
One form must be completed for each ‘substance’ used in the work.
In the case of project work and research an assessment must be made by the supervisor, together with the student who will be carrying out the work. The responsibility for ensuring that an assessment is made lies with the supervisor.
For technical preparation work the assessment must be made by the responsible technician, under the guidance of the relevant Laboratory Manager.
All staff involved in preparing COSHH assessments should be trained to do so.*
Be advised: a ‘CoSHH’ form is not a ‘Risk Assessment’ form – the latter is a separate document relating to the work carried out as a whole.
A Faculty CoSHH form is available from the Project Labs as a paper document (for student/project/research use) and as a 1-sided online version (for staff use only). It has been written to be self-explanatory in terms of what information is required.
The form should be completed in conjunction with (typically) a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for a substance, and these are freely available online. All chemical suppliers are obliged by law to provide hazard data information on all products that they supply, therefore up-to-date MSDS data can be obtained online. When chemicals are bought-in they are now accompanied by the relevant MSDS.
However, be aware that a CoSHH assessment for a substance that has not previously been recorded as a known hazard will need to be completed based upon the eventual user(s) careful consideration of possible potential hazards, not by accessing any national/international standards already written. Examples of such substances might include river water or sediment, or soil from an unknown source, or collected dust, taking into account the original source of the substance(s).
For undergraduate practical class work the assessment must be made when the practical requisition is being prepared by the relevant member of academic staff responsible for the practical, and a copy of the completed assessment form must be included in the SEEN booking for the proposed class(es), together with the associated Risk Assessments. These completed CoSHH assessments should be made available to the students expected to attend the practical class(es) concerned.
Detailed advice and instruction regarding filling out and completing a CoSHH form can be found by watching the CoSHH video found in the various Undergraduate and Masters Project Module sites in WOLF, and by reading a written version available on the same pages, (also on the student ‘I’ drive: “CoSHH Form_ How to complete one”).
It is important that all sections of the form are completed, and as a competent user or supervisor of these substances it is reasonable that you should be able to give all of the required information.
It is the responsibility of supervising academic staff to ensure that students follow the procedure laid down in the assessment, and are trained and competent to carry out the proposed work, and to use any specified personal protective equipment or control measures.
The completed forms must be signed and dated by the user and, where necessary, by the supervisor.
CoSHH assessments may be subject to internal audit to ensure compliance with revised safety regulations and may be examined by the University Safety Advisor and/or HSE at any time.
Students must have their CoSHH forms with them when working in the laboratories.
All staff carrying out COSHH assessments must keep them on file and regularly reviewed, at leastannually.
Any COSHH assessment form more than twelve months old must be reviewed before it is used again as a relevant assessment, and the date of review appended to the bottom in the space provided. This must be signed as reviewed by all persons using the substance(s). In the event of any incidents involving substances used at work the University Safety Advisor and possibly the HSE will as a matter of course ask to see the relevant up to date assessments.
Be aware that the old ‘orange’ symbols applied to different levels of risk have been in the process of changing since 2009 so that by mid-2015 the new ‘white’ replacement symbols will have replaced them. The old-type orange symbols will still be seen however, so be aware of their meaning:
If you require copies of the new hazard symbols they can be accessed via the SEEN media archive. Just search for 'Hazard Warning Labels'.
Top left to bottom right:
- Dangerous to the environment;
- Gas under pressure;
- Caution - used for less serious health hazards like skin irritation;
- Longer term health hazards such as carcinogenicity and respiratory sensitisation.
Attention is drawn to the following: