Why Is COSHH Important?

Jessica Clifton

by Jessica Clifton

11th September 2019

In a recent blog post, we explored what COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) is and how to comply with the regulations. In this post, we’ll go a little further into why COSHH is important to the U.K.’s chemical industry.

The Importance of COSHH

COSHH is the law that requires employers to ensure they maintain health and safety in the workplace related to substances which are hazardous to health.

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), thousands of workers become ill due to hazardous substances each year. These illnesses include lung disease, cancer, asthma, and skin diseases. Adhering to COSHH can help prevent and reduce this. These diseases also cost millions of pounds each year: to the employer, who needs to train new staff; to society, in healthcare; and to the person affected, who could potentially lose their job.

As well as helping to prevent these illnesses and their related costs, following COSHH regulations can also make production more efficient and reduce waste. In fact, a healthier workforce leads to healthier profits. These are just some of the overall reasons that complying with COSHH regulations is so important.

5 reasons COSHH regulations are important in the UK chemical industry

5 Reasons COSHH is Important

  1. COSHH helps to ensure your business is fully compliant: COSHH regulations cover all hazardous substances, and some of these substances have additional guidelines – not necessarily related to how hazardous they are – that you should also follow in order to be fully compliant. By adhering to COSHH regulations, you will be aware of what these additional guidelines are and be able to follow them.
  2. You’ll use the most suitable substances for your needs: The COSHH risk assessment process challenges businesses to examine the chemicals they’re using and think about whether they’re the most suitable and appropriate substances for their requirements, or whether they could be switched for a less hazardous chemical.
  3. Limit employee exposure to hazardous substances: COSHH risk assessments also help you identify substances that you may not have thought were hazardous. At the same time, the regulations will tell you why they’re hazardous and what measures to put in place to help ensure your employees aren’t over-exposed to the chemical. In turn, this will improve the safety of your workplace.
  4. End-to-end safety regulations: COSHH regulations cover more than just the handling and use of hazardous substances; they also cover their storage and transportation. This means that you need to have an end-to-end overview of how the hazardous substances your businesses uses are handled and how to meet safety standards at every touchpoint in order to minimise the risk of accidents.
  5. COSHH uncovers risks when substances are combined and become hazardous: Certain chemicals are harmless on their own but hazardous when they are combined with a second substance. Following COSHH regulations helps to expose any dangerous combinations and provides an understanding of what could happen if two such chemicals were mixed.

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All content published on the ReAgent.ie blog is for information only. The blog, its authors, and affiliates cannot be held responsible for any accident, injury or damage caused in part or directly from using the information provided. Additionally, we do not recommend using any chemical without reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which can be obtained from the manufacturer. You should also follow any safety advice and precautions listed on the product label. If you have health and safety related questions, visit HSE.gov.uk.