Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

The COSHH Regulations require that risks arising from substances that are hazardous to health are prevented or, where prevention is not reasonably practicable, reducing them.

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This includes:

  • Chemicals
  • Products containing chemicals
  • Fumes, dusts, vapours and mists
  • Gases and asphyxiating gases
  • Biological agents (germs that cause disease). e.g. leptospirosis or legionnaires disease

Preventing or reducing exposure to hazardous substances involves:

  • Finding out what the health hazards are;
  • Carrying out a COSHH risk assessment
  • Providing control measures to reduce harm to health and making sure they are used;
  • Keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • Providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
  • Planning for emergencies.

The links on this page give guidance on how to carry out a COSHH assessment and control risks from hazardous substances. If you need help with COSHH risk assessment please contact your course tutor or the Health & Safety Office: healthandsafety (

As a student if you are using any substance which is classified under the COSHH Regulations as part of their installation, performance or project, you must complete a COSHH risk assessment as part of your submission.

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations

The  DSEAR are  concerned  with  the  protection  of  workers  against  the  risk  of  fire, explosion  and  similar  occurrences  that  may  happen  when  working  with  dangerous substances and the harmful physical effect of such incidents. 

Goldsmiths Safety office provides specific DSEAR Guidance for all departments.

Changes to Labelling and Safety Data Sheets

If you handle, use, store or transport hazardous substances, you may already have seen changes to warning labels on products and also to the information on Safety Data Sheets.

Globally Harmonised System (GHS) - changes in hazard symbols and meanings

The United Nations Globally Harmonised System and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) aims to have one chemical, one label worldwide. In Europe, the GHS is implemented via the Classification and Labelling of Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP) Regulations. Summary: The orange and black hazard symbols have been re-classified into red, white and black pictograms. The new pictograms and an explanation of their meaning can be found on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Website.

The United Nations Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) provides an overview of the 'one chemical, one label - worldwide' aim of this law.

REACH - Changes to Safety Data Sheets

The CLP Regulations dovetail into another European Union regulation called Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH). An important part of chemical safety is clear information about any hazardous properties of a substance. Manufacturers, importers and suppliers need to comply with new requirements regarding the content and structure of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). This is in turn should aid users in their assessment of risk and implementation of controls in relation to chemical substances.

The Health and Safety Executive website contains comprehensive guidance about REACH which is aimed to assist manufacturers, suppliers, importers and users. See the HSE webpage to read more about this topic at REACH. For an explanation of the aims, scope and exemptions, click on - What is REACH?


As new prints of SDS are made, the suppliers of that substance should ensure the SDS conforms to the new standard. Online sourcing of SDS by users is not considered appropriate; SDS should be provided to users before or at the time of the delivery of the substance or mixture.

Further information

Guidance on Regulations