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COSHH – A Guide to Employers’ and Employees’ Responsibilities

Employers and employees have specific responsibilities that ensure a safe environment for everyone. COSHH is the abbreviation for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. COSHH regulations aim to provide knowledge on safely handling hazardous substances in the workplace. COSHH regulations require the employees to be correctly informed by their employers, alongside being trained. However, in some scenarios, employers and employees need clarification about what is expected from them on COSHH compliance and workplace safety. So, in this blog, we will guide you about the responsibilities of employers and employees related to COSHH regulations.

Where do COSHH regulations apply?

It is essential to know which types of workplaces demand compliance with COSHH. Here are some of the workplaces where COSHH regulations imply and the types of hazards found in those workplaces.

·       Manufacturing plants

Hazardous substances like chemicals and dust from raw materials and manufacturing processes are those substances that pose a threat. Noise pollution is another factor that can be risky for the worker’s health. Prolonged exposure to loud noises from machines can damage the workers’ hearing.

·       Laboratories

Some hazardous substances, such as biological agents (fungi, bacteria, and viruses), chemicals, and solvents, are present in laboratories. These substances can risk the worker’s health if mishandled or mistreated irresponsibly.

·       Hospitals and healthcare facilities

Biological agents and hazardous drugs are dangerous substances in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Although the real problems are that dozens of more dangerous threats are presented in such workplaces. Awareness of such hazards and their protection methods is equally important. Legionella is a type of bacteria found in hospitals and healthcare facilities. It is located in water systems, such as showers or cooling towers. Whether you work at hospitals or other healthcare facilities, it is vital to take on legionella awareness training, which will help you learn the precautionary methods you can take to prevent yourself from diseases such as legionnaires, which is a severe type of pneumonia.

·       Construction sites

Dust and fumes from construction materials and equipment are the most common hazards present in construction sites. Exposure to these dust and fumes can cause adverse health effects on workers’ health. Asbestos is another type of fiber particle present in construction sites, especially in older areas. Protection from such hazards is a must to ensure your safety and well-being.

·       Cleaning services

While performing cleaning tasks, workers encounter many dangerous substances, such as cleaning products, dust, and fumes from vacuuming and floor cleaning.

Responsibilities: Employers & Employees


  • Risk Assessment: As an employer, you must identify and assess the risk presented in the workplace associated with hazardous substances. Assessing further involves taking preventive measures to reduce or eliminate these hazards. These safety measures include installing ventilation, distributing personal protective equipment, and safe work practices.
  • Training: Your primary concern should be to provide your workers with appropriate training. Educating the workers on the purposes of different PPE and how to use them effectively. Online COSHH training courses will allow your workers to grasp better how to work while handling hazardous substances. Furthermore, this training would give them a brief understanding of the do’s and don’ts of their tasks while handling dangerous substances.
  • Health Surveillance: It is your responsibility as an employer to provide immediate health surveillance to employees exposed to hazardous substances. These actions involve monitoring the health of the exposed employees and treating them in case of injuries before the situation escalates.
  • Review and revision: You’re daily life work activities should include reviewing all the measures and risk assessments. Ensure that these remain effective and up-to-date and work properly in case of emergency or when needed.


  • Following safe work practices: If you are an employee who works closely with hazardous substances, then the best thing you can do is to follow safe work practices. The control measures and safe work practices are there for your safety, and you must act accordingly. Following the safety measure would assure your well-being and increase your efficiency and morale.
  • Attend training: You must attend all the training provided by the employer. This training is conducted to make you a more competent person for your work field. Attending these courses will help you learn significantly, shaping you into a more qualified and skilled worker.
  • Reporting accidents: If case of any potential threat or accident in the workplace, it is your responsibility to report it to employers or the seniors. Doing so would prevent the situation from worsening, and the sooner the safety measures could be taken.
  • Use of PPE: You should make the most out of what is provided. In this case, the personal protective equipment, make sure to use them and report any faults with the equipment.

COSHH Risk Assessment

It is the process of identifying and evaluating the risks associated with hazardous substances in the workplace. COSHH assessment is usually carried out by the employer on a big scale and employees on a smaller scale. The COSHH assessment aims to monitor work processes and substance exposure. Here is the breakdown of the main steps of carrying a COSHH risk assessment:

·        Identifying hazardous substances

·        Identifying who might be harmed and how

·        Evaluating the risks

·        Deciding on the precautions related to the risks

·        Record keeping

·        Reviewing your assessment and update if necessary

Consequences of carelessness towards COSHH


  • Legal actions: Your irresponsibility as an employer towards COSHH would result in the business facing legal action. Legal action would be due to non-obligation regarding COSHH regulations and lack of workplace safety. This might result in fines, prosecution, and sanctions.
  • Increased cost: An injured employee might ask for compensational claims against their employers. Additionally, some organizations include medical insurance for their employees as a part of the contract. In most cases, your firm would have to bear the employee’s medical cost and further recovery expenses.
  • Reputational damage: Non-compliance with COSHH regulations might result in reputational damage to your firm. Reputational damage means a reduction in the loyal customer base and reduced stakeholder interest.
  • Loss in productivity: An injured employee might be unable to work again until fully recovered. This would result in a productivity loss for your business, as unfit workers will not be available to carry out tasks with that same energy.


  • Health problems: Failure to follow COSHH training and procedure would increase your chances of sustaining injury. These injuries can either be a short time or long-term. In both cases, it will affect your health and productivity.
  • Loss of income: Sustaining injury means you would not be able to work and would need time to recover. Resulting in a loss of income for you and your family.
  • Career damage: Injuries and threats in the workplace may impact the employee’s ability to work in their chosen industry. When you feel less safe at work, you might not be able to give your maximum and would lose morale and confidence. Thus, affecting your overall competency and ability to work.


In conclusion, this blog gives a brief guide on the responsibilities of employers and employees on COSHH regulations and COSHH training. Reading this blog will help you understand employers’ and employees’ different types of duties. As well as the workplaces where the COSHH regulations apply and the dangerous substances found in those workplaces. Whether you are an employer or a worker, you must fulfill your responsibilities regarding COSHH. Doing so would help create a safe and secure working environment. As well as maintaining the well-being of the employees. It is important to understand that complying with COSHH regulations would benefit you and your firm. If not taken seriously, the consequences emerging would be harmful and tough to face for you and your business.

Meta description: Discover the vital roles of employers and employees in meeting COSHH regulations. This blog covers risk assessments, hazards, and the consequences of non-compliance for a safer workplace.

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