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To make a COSHH assessment it is necessary to collect information. This should include information about:

  • Substances used in the work including those kept in store

  • Substances released because of the work including those that are leaked or spilled and those forming fumes, vapours and aerosols

  • Substances produced through the work, including waste materials and residues

For substances used in the work, you can identify whether or not the substance is hazardous from:

  • Materials safety data sheets (MSDS) [which by law, your supplier should provide]

  • The label on the bottle

  • Trade literature

  • The COSHH Regulations

  • Other HSE guidance such as EH40

  • The Approved Supply List (part of the CHIP Regulations)

  • The approved list of biological agents (Categorization of biological agents - Approved List)

  • Various published guides on the toxicological properties of dangerous substances (e.g., Sax's Properties of Industrial Materials)

For substances produced through the work, particularly waste products which require disposal, identification of hazardous substances will again be possible through:

  • Materials safety data sheets

  • Chemical supplier catalogues

  • Trade literature

MSDS typically provide information about:

  • Chemical Identification and names

  • Composition and information on ingredients

  • Hazards identification on labels

  • Toxicological information

  • Ecological information

  • Exposure controls and personal protection

  • Handling and storage

  • Disposal information

  • Physical and chemical properties

  • Stability and reactivity

  • First aid measures

  • Fire fighting measures

  • Accidental release measures

  • Transport information

  • Regulatory information

  • Additional information

If you do not have the MSDS for a substance you use or plan to use, you can either contact the supplier of the substance or use our suggested links
to MSDS available via the Internet.

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