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The Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)


The Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) set out requirements and offences in relation to substances that could cause harm to people in the workplace. They set out requirements to:

  • Assess of the risk to health created by work involving substances hazardous to health;
  • Prevent or control of exposure to substances hazardous to health;
  • Use control measures etc.;
  • Maintain, examine and test control measures;
  • Monitor exposure at the workplace;
  • Carry out health surveillance;
  • Provide information, instruction and training for persons who may be exposed to substances hazardous to health; and
  • Ensure arrangements are in place to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies.

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), employers are required by law to control substances that are hazardous to health in the workplace by preventing or reducing workers’ exposure to them. Taking these measures to ensure workers remain healthy can also improve productivity as you will not be spending time dealing with incidents or losing time to injury or worker illness.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) were made on the 24th of October 2002 and came into force on the 21st of November 2002.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) fall under the jurisdiction of national authorities in the following countries:

  • United Kingdom;
  • England;
  • Scotland;
  • Wales; and
  • Northern Ireland.


COSHH Chemicals

Do the COSHH Regulations 2002 affect my business?

There will be a variety of ways your business could be affected by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Most businesses use substances or products that are mixtures of substances, and some processes that create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

This includes products or substances you wouldn’t immediately suspect as being harmful, such as paint, ink, glue, lubricant, detergent and beauty products. III health caused by these substances used at work is preventable. Many substances can harm health but used properly, they almost never do. Employers can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • Establishing what the health hazards are;
  • Deciding how to prevent harm to health by conducting a risk assessment;
  • Providing control measures to reduce harm to health and 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; and
  • Planning for emergencies.

More details on harmful substances, as well as on the provisions of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), can be found in the full ICR article.



Do I need the COSHH Regulations 2002 in my ISO Compliance Register?

You will need to include the COSHH regulations 2022 in your ISO Compliance Obligations Register if you are using substances such as chemicals, including cleaning chemicals. The benefit of putting this in your Register will be that you can evidence that you keep up with the requirements and any changes that are made.

You will have key tasks under the Regulations if you Work with or maybe exposed to substances which may cause harm including long term ill health effects.

The Regulations are extensive, but typical tasks that you will need to undertake in the business will include, but not be limited to creating and maintaining:

  • Completing COSHH risk assessments according to the hierarchy of control for substances and mixtures which may enter the workplace. This may include exposure to Chemicals and airborne substances including dusts;
  • Safe systems of work to prevent exposure to harmful substances. This will be supported with Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and aligned COSHH risk assessments;
  • Depending on risk, maintaining an occupational health programme to monitor exposure to harmful substances;
  • Training records for workers to ensure they understand the short- and long-term consequences of exposure to harmful substances;
  • Storage facilities to securely contain substances;
  • Processes to control the input of substances prior to introduction to the workplace; and
  • Work equipment including local exhaust ventilation and personal protective equipment.


Legislation related to COSHH Regulations 2002

Legislation related to Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) include:

  • Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals
  • Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990
  • The Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015
  • The Restriction and Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical Equipment Regulations 2012
  • The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002



More information

Visit the Control of Substances Hazardous to Human Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) article on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.