COSHH Regulations - A Basic Synopsis

Published: 04th November 2008
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Over a million cases of chemical poisoning take place in Europe and the USA yearly, and year after year, the number surprisingly increases. Surveys show that roughly half of these cases are commonly ingested using chemicals, whether at home or at work. However, compared to household cases, it is more important to protect these people who work in a company engaged in a business of chemicals.

It is a well known fact that chemicals can be very dangerous if utilized the wrong way or if people employed in the chemical industry have longer exposure to them. This should not really happen because those who work in chemical laboratories do not really have a choice. After all, it is the very nature of their job. However, this does not mean that these people can't do anything about it. The idea is to control the exposure to prevent diseases or illnesses initiated by the chemicals. Other concepts deemed necessary as to the implementation of regulations that will help control the exposure of workers to chemicals are also useful in the end.

Because of this, the government created the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 or COSHH (as amended). This is a practical guideline in managing and implementing healthy and safety work practices and is an important aid in developing and executing the measures required to manage chemical exposure and promote good health at all times.

The COSHH is designed to protect not just the employees who work for the company but also the employer and the business itself. At the highest level, the authors of this particular regulation understands that a "ripple effect" may take place once an employee becomes ill due to poisoning or sever exposure to chemicals. Once this happens, other people can be exposed too since the job is probably not a one-man job. This would lead to greater number of casualties, resulting in loss of productivity, civil liability that can be damaging in the employer's reputation, and several other potential complications depending on the chemicals invovled.

The first goal of COSHH is to educate people about the different kinds of chemicals and their corresponding degree of danger. It is also important that people should know how to indentify hazardous substances so they when to avoid it and how to control exposure to it. Implementing the regulations stipulated in the COSHH, the employee will be able to gauge if his task is still reasonable and under the mandated rules of exposure to chemicals.

Scientists and other studies have proven the damaging effects of chemical exposure that were not controlled. Unintentionally, these actions may cause mild to serious problems including skin and eye contamination, chemical burns, and development of more severe diseases brought about by such condition.

So, in the regulation, the variety of substances or chemicals that are considered hazardous to health are explained and defined. In this way, people or employees will find it easier to understand the severity of danger of a certain substance. It will also be easier for them to identify these items through their warning labels and data sheet. Without the regulations, you will never know which item is still safe based on the guidelines and which are already not.

The regulation also suggests a step-by-step process of managing the rules within the company. Keep in mind that it is not that easy to implement such rules instantly. People must also understand why things like this should happen and should be followed with utmost care.
Roger Wakefield is a writer and copywriter who writes content for Reagent Ltd (, one of most professional chemical producers in the United Kingdom. Reagent manufacture everything from complicated tailored chemicals and reagents to deionised water. If you require tailor-made chemicals or reagents developing, then call Reagent ltd.

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