Any substance hazardous to health and can take many forms for example, chemicals, fumes, dusts, vapours, mists, biological agents (germs). Once identified in the workplace your employer (This even applies to volunteer clubs) needs to undertake a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Assessment. 

Like a risk assessment, you need to ask the following:
 
  • What do you do that involves hazardous substances?
  • How can these cause harm?
  • How can you reduce the risk of harm occurring? 
Always try to prevent exposure at source:
  • Can you avoid using a hazardous substance or use a safer process? E.g. using water-based rather than solvent-based products, applying by brush rather than spraying.
  • Can you substitute it for something safer? E.g. swap an irritant cleaning product for something milder, or using a vacuum cleaner rather than a brush.
  • Can you use a safer form? E.g. can you use a solid rather than liquid to avoid splashes or a waxy solid instead of a dry powder to avoid dust?  
Applying the principles of Good Control Practice
 
  •  Minimise emission, release and spread
  • Consider routes of exposure
  • Choose control measures proportionate to the risk
  • Choose effective control options
  • Personal Protective Equipment – the final control option
  • Review effectiveness of controls
  • Provide information and training
  • New Measures, new risks.