Hazardous Substances (CoSHH) Risk Assessment

In all but the very simplest of cases, whoever carries out the hazardous substances risk assessment will need to have access to, and fully understand the COSHH Regulations.

CoSHH is the law (Guidance can be found here!) that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health.

You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (via risk assessment)
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health
  • making sure they are used
  • keeping all control measures in good working order
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
  • planning for emergencies

So, what are hazardous substances?

COSHH covers substances that are hazardous to health. Substances can take many forms and include:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapours
  • mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases and asphyxiating gases
  • biological agents (germs)
  • germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires

Our Approach to Hazardous Substances Risk Assessment

At GBS Health and Safety Services our consultants have vast experience in Hazardous Substances Risk Assessment and have many methods to choose from when deciding on a appropriate approach to the risk assessment process and to suit your needs.

Our unique approach and experience in assessing hazardous substances means that we are able to produce compliant and understandable assessments which act as a management tool as well as providing valuable information to users or those who may be exposed to the hazardous substance.

Our stages to the hazardous substances risk assessment process include:

  1. Gathering information about the substances, the work and the working practices – identification of substances hazardous to health and the creation of a register.
  2. Evaluating the risks to health – obtaining Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or gathering other details such as exposure limits, manufacturer / supplier details.
  3. Deciding on the necessary measures to comply with regulations – assessing the current control measures including the implementation of the hierarchy of control.
  4. Recording the assessment – documenting the findings of the assessment in a straight-forward and understandable manner.
  5. Where necessary a recommendations register can be created to prioritise any actions which may be required.
  6. Review the assessments following the implementation of recommended control measures or at regular frequencies thereafter.

So, if you use hazardous substances and need help with the identification and assessment process, contact us today to see how GBS Health and Safety Services can assist you.


Lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work


Mesothelioma deaths in 2018, with a similar number of lung cancer deaths linked to past exposures to asbestos


Estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year on average over the last three years according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey


Estimated new cases of occupational contact dermatitis reported by dermatologists in 2019


Lead workers under medical surveillance in Great Britain, 2019/20