Blog Archives

Hazard Symbols

We can find out information about the hazards associated with some substances by looking at the symbols on the labels, check out the new globally harmonised symbols (GHS).



Hazard pictograms alert us to the presence of a hazardous chemical.


The pictograms help us to know that the chemicals we are using might cause harm to people or the environment.  


The hazard pictograms are very similar to those used in the old labelling system and appear in the shape of a diamond with a distinctive red border and white background.  One or more pictograms might appear on the labelling of a single chemical.


A Guide to the meaning of each is available here.


You should always consult your COSHH Assessment or the Safety Data Sheet provided by your supplier for details of the hazard. 

Routes of Entry

We have looked at PPE let’s look at the ways that hazardous substances can enter the body.


There are four major routes by which a chemical may enter the body:

  • Inhalation (breathing)
  • Skin (or eye) contact
  • Swallowing (ingestion or eating)
  • Injection


Regardless of the way the chemical gets into the body, once it is in the body it is distributed in the body by the blood stream. In this way, the chemical may harm organs which are far away from the original point of entry as well as where they entered the body.

Using PPE

How can PPE prevent harmful substances entering the body?


Employers are responsible for providing, replacing and paying for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).


PPE should be used when all other measures are inadequate to control exposure. It protects only the wearer, while being worn.


If it fails, PPE offers no protection at all.


Types of PPE:

  • RPE
  • Protective Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Protective footwear
  • Eye protection


Click on the headings below to see what to consider when selecting PPE:




COSHH Assessments


Assessing Hazardous Substances prior to using them at work is required under the Regulations* and can help reduce the risk of injury.

  • Hazard – A substance with the potential to cause harm
  • Risk – A measure of the likelihood that it will cause harm in the way that it is used.

Click on each of the heading below to learn more about the stages to a COSHH Assessment.




*The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

How can we Reduce the Risks?

COSHH Regulations* requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health.


You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health by carrying out a risk assessment.
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • 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;
  • planning for emergencies.

Click here to download your step by step guide to COSHH assessments along with a number of examples here.


*The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.



Welcome to this short course on COSHH

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations requires employers to ensure that employees can work safely with harmful substances.


These substances can take many forms and include:

  • Chemicals,
  • products containing chemicals,
  • fumes,
  • dusts,
  • vapours,
  • mists,
  • nanotechnology,
  • gases,
  • asphyxiating gases and
  • biological agents (germs).


This course therefore focuses on:

  • What is COSHH,
  • How can we reduce the risks,
  • How we can prevent harmful substances entering the body,
  • Employer and Employee responsibilities.


Download A Brief Guide to COSHH here.



There is also a short assessment. You will need 5/6 to pass.