Under the COSHH? Your Guide to Hazardous Substances

July 7, 2017


Whether you’re in the building trade or a DIY-er, some of the materials or substances you use could harm your health – particularly your eyes, lungs or skin. These hazardous substances can come in many forms:

  • Chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dust and powders
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Liquids and gels
  • Gases
  • Biological agents

So in our trades, anything from paint to cleaners, solder to sawdust might pose a long-term risk to your wellbeing. It pays to be clued up!

What’s more, did you know that if you’re an employer, you are required by law to assess the health risks to your employees of any job you send them on?

Image: Health & Safety Executive

Image: Health & Safety Executive

Well, here’s the good news. The government’s Health and Safety Executive has a branch called COSHH, standing for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. They produce a lot of useful material for you to refer to.  We suggest you start with their free downloadable guideWorking with substances hazardous to health.

For tradesmen who also employ other workers, COSHH tells you how to do the legally required risk assessment. You can also search their site for requirements specific to you line of work.

For consumers, COSHH is behind those international symbols on product packaging – like those in the image at the top of this post. Your consumer right is to know any COSHH information about hazardous properties in anything you may be buying.

TBS tries hard to make this information available. Our website aims to give a link to COSHH sheets for each product we sell where this applies. If you find we’ve missed one, please tell us.


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