Chemical Safety (COSHH)

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), (as amended), provide the legal framework to protect people against health risks from hazardous substances and preparations (mixtures of two or more substances) used at work. The Regulations imposes duties on the University, not only to protect its staff, but also to protect its students, contractors, visitors and members of the public who may be affected by its work with hazardous substances which includes chemical and biological agents.

The Regulations apply to nearly all substances hazardous to health; however, there are some exceptions, namely:

  • Lead and asbestos because they have their own Regulations, and
  • Where the substance is hazardous to health solely by virtue of its radioactive, explosive or flammable properties, or solely because it is at a high or low temperature or a high pressure

Complying with COSHH involves

  • Assessing the risks to health arising from work with hazardous substances
  • Deciding what precautions are needed
  • Preventing or controlling exposure
  • Ensuring that control measures are used and maintained
  • Monitoring exposure of workers to hazardous substances
  • Ensuring that employees are properly informed, trained and supervised

Guidance and information


The Health & Safety Unit, on behalf of the University, has produced the following guidance documents:

An essential requirement of the Regulations is the assessment of the risk to health created by work involving hazardous substances. If, after reading the available information, a written COSHH risk assessment is considered necessary, then please download the University COSHH risk assessment template.

Note: COSHH Awareness training if available for staff and can be booked through Staff & Graduate Development


A major source of information can be found at the Health and Safety Executive COSHH website (HSE - COSHH).  These webpages contain a wealth of very useful information (eg. guidance, the Approved Code of Practice, COSHH essentials web tool, example risk assessments, case studies etc.) and those seeking additional advice are advised to visit the site.  The Regulations themselves can be viewed by clicking here.