Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)-Using the Precautions in the Workplace.

Using the Precautions


Employer's Duty

The employer must take all reasonable steps to ensure that any control measure (including plant, device, system, procedure, rule, arrangement, personal protective equipment or other thing or facility) he provides is properly used or applied.

The employer should include in those steps visual checks at appropriate times (for example periodic and spot inspections) to make sure his measures are being properly used or applied; and arrangements for prompt remedial action where necessary.

Employees' Duties

The employee must make full and proper use of any control measure (including plant, device, system, procedure, rule, arrangement, personal protective equipment or other thing or facility) provided for compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations; and report forthwith to their employer any defect he or she discovers in any such measure.

Employees should use the control measures in the way they are intended to be used and should, in particular,

  • use the control measures provided for materials, plant and processes;
  • wear in a proper manner the personal protective equipment (PPE) provided;
  • store the PPE when not in use in the accommodation provided;
  • remove any PPE which could cause contamination before eating, drinking or smoking;
  • practise a high standard of personal hygiene, and make proper use of the facilities provided for washing, showering or bathing and for eating and drinking; and
  • report promptly to management any defects discovered in any plant, device, system, procedure, rule, arrangement, personal protective equipment or other thing or facility provided for compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.

Nothing in these employees' duties reduces the extent of the employer's obligations as regards maintenance of control measures (see E 5.2, Maintaining the Precautions against Exposure to Hazardous Substances). For example, the principal maintenance arrangements cannot be reactive, relying on defect reporting to identify maintenance needs.

Similarly, the employer still has obligations as regards the provision of information, instruction and training (see E 7, Substances - Information, Instruction and Training). For example, the employer needs to ensure that employees know how to use control measures, handle personal protective equipment (PPE) safely, practise the required standard of personal hygiene, etc.

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