Chemical substances in the workplace

Chemicals in the workplace

Chemical substances can be found in all workplaces; they include solvents, liquid paper thinners, cleaning chemicals for photocopying machines, pesticides, paint removing liquids, and chemicals used in dry cleaning.


Hazardous substances

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended) state that a hazardous substance can be a chemical or a preparation which is harmful when used and is usually labelled with a hazard warning label, is supported by a safety data sheet or is recognised as having a workplace Exposure Limit in HSE publication EH40/2005.  Many substances are extremely dangerous when used incorrectly and staff should be aware of the hazards and risks present when using them.



Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) Statutory Instrument No. 2677

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website also provides details how employers can control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. Visit Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). Their COSHH Essentials website provides advice on controlling the use of chemicals for a range of common tasks.



The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health provides health and safety training  courses for managers and employees.

Using chemical substances

  • carry out a risk assessment
  • always follow the suppliers instructions
  • never mix chemicals
  • keep away from food
  • keep in a marked lockable cupboard
  • use protective clothing and equipment

Last updated: 12 May 2020