Blog, Cleaning, Facilities Management

COSHH Health and Safety in Facilities Management

FM Health and Safety is central to effective facilities operations. It is key that all substances that are hazardous to health are effectively managed.

COSHH, which stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, is a crucial set of regulations in the United Kingdom aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of workers who come into contact with hazardous substances in their workplace. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK is responsible for enforcing COSHH regulations, which are designed to control and manage the risks associated with these substances.

COSHH covers a wide range of substances, including cleaning agents, chemicals, fumes, dust, gases, and biological agents that have the potential to cause harm. The main objective of COSHH is to protect employees from exposure to hazardous substances and to minimize health risks by implementing effective control measures and providing appropriate training.

But What does COSHH Mean?

COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’.

The COSHH regulations are designed to protect workers from injury and ill health when working with specific substances and materials.

Although they have been in place for over 25 years, they were updated in 2002 with amendments of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Work Regulations 1999.

BE WARNED a breach of COSHH regulations by an employer or employee is a crime in the UK. It is punishable by an unlimited fine.

Common COSHH Queries

What is COSHH?

COSHH is a set of regulations established to ensure that employers take appropriate measures to control and manage the risks associated with hazardous substances. These substances can pose various health hazards, such as respiratory problems, skin irritation, and long-term health issues. COSHH places a legal duty on employers to protect their employees and others who may be affected by these substances.

What are the main points of COSHH?

The key points of COSHH include the need for employers to:

  1. Identify and assess the potential hazards presented by hazardous substances in the workplace.
  2. Implement control measures to prevent or minimize exposure to these substances.
  3. Provide adequate training and information to employees about the risks and safe handling practices related to hazardous substances.
  4. Ensure that appropriate procedures are in place for accidents and emergencies involving hazardous substances.

How do I carry out a COSHH assessment?

Conducting a COSHH assessment is a fundamental aspect of complying with COSHH regulations. The assessment involves the following steps:

  1. Identify all hazardous substances present in the workplace.
  2. Evaluate the potential risks associated with these substances and the tasks involving them.
  3. Determine suitable control measures to minimize exposure to hazardous substances.
  4. Document the assessment findings and share the information with employees.

What are the control measures for COSHH?

Control measures for COSHH vary depending on the nature of the hazardous substance and the tasks involved. Some common control measures include:

  1. Substituting hazardous substances with less harmful alternatives, whenever possible.
  2. Implementing engineering controls like ventilation systems to reduce exposure levels.
  3. Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, such as gloves, masks, or respirators.
  4. Establishing safe working procedures and practices for handling hazardous substances.

What are the health effects of exposure to hazardous substances?

Exposure to hazardous substances can lead to a wide range of health effects, depending on the substance and the level of exposure. Health effects may include respiratory issues, skin irritation, occupational asthma, long-term lung diseases, and even certain types of cancer.

What are the legal requirements for COSHH?

COSHH is covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended). Under these regulations, employers have a legal duty to protect their employees and others from the risks associated with hazardous substances. This includes conducting COSHH assessments, implementing control measures, providing training, and maintaining appropriate records.

Where can I find more information about COSHH?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website is an excellent resource for comprehensive information about COSHH. It provides guidance, tools, and practical advice to help employers and employees understand and comply with COSHH regulations.

COSHH e-tool

The HSE offers a COSHH e-tool, which is a government-approved online tool designed to assist employers in carrying out COSHH assessments. This user-friendly tool provides step-by-step guidance through the assessment process, helping employers identify risks and implement appropriate control measures. It simplifies the assessment process and ensures that employers can effectively manage hazardous substances in their workplaces.

You can access the COSHH e-tool and additional information, on the HSE website.

Step by Step Guide to Switching Facilities Providers

We speak to businesses every day who feel they ‘don’t want the hassle’ of switching suppliers or are unsure about the terms of their current contract. That’s why we’ve created a Step by Step Guide to Switching Facilities Providers. See our three simple steps to switching your supplier and how easy it can be to make a significant positive impact on your business.

Control of Substances  Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)

It is important to implement stringent health & safety procedures across all aspects of a business to ensure that they comply with, and in many areas exceed statutory health & safety requirements. This begins with the implementation of thorough processes and training of staff.

RFM recommends a robust approach to COSHH and only utilising hazardous substances where absolutely necessary. 

The RFM COSHH Assessment

Often undertaken alongside a cleaning audit. Focussing on the hazards and risks from substances in a workplace, a COSHH assessment covers areas such as:

  • Location: Whereabouts is there potential to be exposed to hazardous substances?
  • Effects: How are these substances harmful to health?
  • Related activities: Which tasks and function involve these potentially harmful materials?

COSHH Proceedures

We implement the following procedures with regards to COSHH:

  • Assessments are done on the risks to health from exposure to hazardous substances using all available information including manufacturers’ safety data sheets for specific substances.
  • Those working with hazardous substances are trained and the training includes reference to COSHH  assessments.
  • Personal protective equipment is provided in line with the findings of COSHH assessments.

  • Equipment provided to control exposure to hazardous substances is maintained in good condition and replaced when necessary.

  • Copies of the manufacturer’s safety data sheets and COSHH risk assessments are provided on client sites.

  • Assessments are reviewed periodically including when there are any changes to the Control of Substances  Hazardous to Health Regulations.

RFM Chemical labels


We utilise training and educational resources provided by BICSc to ensure best industry practice across all aspects of our operation. Our operative training schedules are based on BICSc guidelines and updates are rolled out accordingly.

This system is designed to limit the spread of germs or infection across a site. Materials which are generally coloured are mops, buckets, reusable and disposable cloths, brushes, gloves and sprays/bottles.  The standard colours and their uses are:

Yellow: Clinical Heathcare Use

COSHH Yellow RFM Group Clinical Healthcare Use

Red and White: Sanitary Appliances

COSHH Red and White RFM Group Sanitary Appliances

Green: General Food and Bar Use

COSHH Green RFM Group General Food Bar Use

Red: General Washrooms

COSHH Red RFM Group General Washrooms

Blue: General Lower Risk Area

COSHH Blue RFM Group General Lower Risk Area

RFM Group will provide all necessary materials to each relevant area of your facility and will adhere to any systems of work currently in place.

We are aware of the importance of maintaining the cleaning standards throughout the site and will implement robust segregation of cleaning materials and storage areas to eliminate cross-contamination and promote infection control.

A full glossary of cleaning terms can be found in RFM Group’s Industry Terms in Cleaning Glossary.

Speak to the Property Experts...

Whether you need advice on a new project or have an existing property or portfolio - We're always happy to help. Please call or 08000 277 262 email


Sign Up to our newsletter for all our latest news, views and insights.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.