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Collecting Information

Chemical Services > Health and Safety

Hazardous Substances

Go Back: to Step 1 of the COSHH Assessment

To make a COSHH assessment it is necessary to collect information. This shuld include inforation 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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