09th Aug, 2019 Read time 2 minutes

How to carry out a COSHH risk assessment

A COSHH risk assessment follows a similar template to a generic risk assessment which enables you to establish the measures you must take to reduce the risk of an area or task. The difference lies in that COSHH focuses on ‘substances’ that may be hazardous to the health of your employees.

We’ve outlined how you might go about carrying out a COSHH risk assessment in your business to ensure you are taking the necessary measures to protect staff, visitors, and customers.

Steps for carrying out a COSHH risk assessment


  • Identify the substances in a workplace that might cause harm

‘Substances’ may not be liquid-based. They can include dust fumes and vapours and some may not be as apparent as others. You can find out what the COSHH symbols are in our article around the different COSHH signs.


  • Evaluate how the substances are dangerous to the health of workers

Once you have identified the potentially harmful substances you should do some research to establish how the substances are dangerous. Browsing the relevant safety data sheets and online resources will give you a good grounding in the threats of the substance.


  • Identify the jobs or specific tasks that lead to substance exposure

As you are working through the substances it may become clear that certain tasks lead to exposure to a certain hazard, such as work that must be done in a confined space. Make a note of this as it will help you to manage future exposure.


  • Use previous records of work-related incidents to highlight any areas of concern

A step that can help you work out how to mitigate the risks in the future is to look at the record of any past incidents in the workplace. From this, you can tailor your approach to how you manage the risks in the future.


What are safety data sheets?

A safety data sheet is a document (or series of documents) relating to products from a supplier that are deemed ‘dangerous for supply’. Your supplier has a legal obligation to provide you with a safety data sheet if the product falls within the ‘dangerous for supply’ criteria.


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