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What is a COSHH assessment?

A COSHH assessment is a systematic examination of a task or process that involves using a potentially hazardous substance. A COSHH Assessment is carried out for the purpose of identifying hazardous substances you may use, whether the precautions you have taken are acceptable and what control measures are in place.

We have detailed these further below:

  • Identifying the substances that you use that are potentially hazardous (a hazard is something that has the potential to cause someone harm or ill health).
  • Deciding whether the precautions you have already taken reduces the risk of someone being harmed to an acceptable level, and if not;
  • Deciding on what further control measures you must take to prevent or control the exposure to an acceptable level.


Hazardous substances include;

  • Substances used directly in work activities (e.g adhesives, paints, cleaning agents)
  • Substances generated during work activities (e.g fumes from soldering and welding)
  • Naturally occurring substances (e.g grain dust)
  • Biological agents such as bacteria and other micro-organisms.

Effects of Hazardous Substances Examples of the effects of hazardous substances include;

  • Skin irritation or dermatitis as a result of skin contact;
  • Asthma as a result of developing allergy to substances used at work;
  • Losing consciousness as a result of being overcome by toxic fumes;
  • Cancer, which may appear long after the exposure to the chemical that caused it;
  • Infection from bacteria and other micro-organisms (biological agents).
We’re here to help. We offer a range of templates that you can quickly and easily download. See the full list here.

What COSHH requires

To comply with COSHH you need to follow these eight steps:

Step 1. Assess the risks;

Decide what the risks to health are from hazardous substances used or created by your work

Step 2. Decide what precautions are required;

Do not carryout work which might expose your employees to hazardous substances.

Step 3. Prevent or control the exposure.

First try to prevent exposure to hazardous substances, if this is not possible you must control the exposure to defined limits.

Step 4. Make sure any control measures are used and maintained

Step 5. Monitor the exposure of the substance to your employees where a risk assessment has deemed it necessary

Step 6. Health surveillance.

Carry out health surveillance where your risk assessment has shown it to be necessary.

Step 7. Prepare an emergency plan.

Draw up plans to deal with emergencies such as spillages etc

Step 8. Make sure your employees are properly informed, trained and supervised.

HS Direct

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I don't have Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word, what should I do?

If you don't have Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Word installed on your PC or Mac, don't worry - you can still use our products. You can get a free alternative from Open Office.

Open Office Org is open-source developed alternative to Microsoft Office, developed by a large software company called Oracle. Open Source means the company who build the software, allow 100% use of it, 100% free.

Since Open Office is specifically developed to be exactly the same as Microsoft Office, with all the same programs in the suite (Eg: Word, Excel, Access and Power Point) - it will freely open any Microsoft Office file-format. Meaning, just because a document was written in Microsoft Word, doesn't mean it can't be opened in another program. Open Office will do that, and vise versa.

To download and install Open Office;

  1. Go to
  2. On the left hand side, click 'I want to download Open Office'. In the green box, click the main link which starts with 'Start downloading'
    • Windows Only:When the program has downloaded, click Install and wait for the program to install.
    • MAC OSX Only:When the program has downloaded, a notification box will pop up with an arrow from the Open Office Icon to the Applications Folder in Finder, drag the icon to the Applications folder to install the program.
  3. You are now ready to use Open Office, and the documents you have purchased from us.