Section 3: COSHH – Care Of Substances Hazardous to Health


Hazardous substances can come in various forms such as:

  • Chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dust
  • Vapours/mists
  • Gases
  • Biological agents like bacteria
  • Lead
  • Asbestos


There are four routes for a hazardous substance to enter the body:

  • Inhalation – when a substance is breathed in through nose or mouth
  • Ingestion – when swallowed. This can occur when you transfer chemicals to your mouth via eating
  • Absorption – substances pass through the skin into the bloodstream
  • Injection – via broken skin or injection from a sharp object


Once a substance has entered the body it can cause:

  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Respiratory problems like asthma
  • Skin problems like dermatitis
  • Interference with other organs like the nervous system


Identifying the hazard:

There should be a label on every bottle and hazardous products will have pictograms and warnings. Pictograms will be in Red, Black and White. The label will:

  • Have a Hazard Statement – a phrase describing the nature of the hazard e.g. toxic if swallowed
  • A precautionary statement – a phrase describing the precautions that could be put in place to minimise or prevent the effects of the exposure e.g. wear eye protection or gloves.

Safety Data Sheets will be available from the suppliers which provide info on the safe use, handling, storage, and emergency measures in the case of an incident.

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Once you have read the above content and are confident you understand it, please proceed to the next section.


Proceed to Section 4: Lone Working


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