Staying compliant with COSHH means knowing exactly what responsibilities everybody has. Aligning knowledge, understanding and training is the key to practising COSHH safely. Juggling important responsibilities with day-to-day duties isn’t easy, we get it. That’s why we’re here to lend our expertise in this blog post. We’ll be outlining the COSHH responsibilities that both employers and employees have in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of workers and the tools available to keep up a safe working environment. 

Understanding the urgency: Work-related health issues in the UK

According to 2022/23 statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, some of which are related to mishandling of hazardous substances in the workplace. So, there’s a vital need for strict safety measures that protect everybody and an awareness of the role COSHH responsibilities play in reducing those numbers.

Complying with COSHH – whose duty is it? 

COSHH responsibilities lie with both you and your employees. As an employer, you need to create a safe working environment and build a culture of safety within the workplace. This sets a good example throughout your business and emphasises the importance of following COSHH to everybody. but employees have to actively engage in that culture, and make sure they’re following measures put in place to reduce risks associated with hazardous substances.

COSHH employer responsibilities

Employer COSHH responsibilities comprise eight areas that form the basis of a secure workplace: 

  • Risk assessments – Employers have to identify potential hazards and risks associated with hazardous substances (and you legally have to write your risk assessment down if you have more than five employees – but it’s best practice to write it down anyway.)
  • Control measures – Implementation of measures to minimise exposure to hazardous substances and any risk involved in handling them.
  • Monitoring and surveillance – You’ll need to regularly assess and ensure the effectiveness of your control measures.
  • Spreading information – Provide employees with comprehensive information about hazardous substances.
  • Training and supervision – Employers need to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to work safely.
  • Health surveillance – It’s important to monitor the health of employees who are exposed to hazardous substances so you can catch any issues early on.
  • Review and adaptation – Continuously assess and adapt control measures when necessary.

COSHH employee responsibilities

Employees also have important responsibilities that help maintain COSHH compliance. There are seven COSHH employee responsibilities to consider, that help help safeguard both themselves and their colleagues. 

  • Adherence – Employees need to follow established safety protocols and use any provided personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Participation – Engage in training and understanding the potential risks posed by hazardous substances. 
  • Reporting – Inform supervisors swiftly about safety concerns or incidents.
  • Cooperation – Collaborate with employers to ensure a safe working environment.
  • Proper use of control measures – Use provided control measures in a way that reduces and controls risk.
  • Maintaining equipment – Make sure PPE is kept in good condition. 
  • Self Care – Employees are responsible for their own Health & Safety and that of their colleagues who might be affected. 

Keep track of your COSHH responsibilities with our help 

Using COSHH assessments is really important to ensure that everyone is aware of and can keep up with their responsibilities when it comes to navigating COSHH. They act as a guiding principle for both employers and employees to stay aligned with their legal requirements. 

Using our COSHH risk assessment templates, you can stay on top of compliance, and know the roles and responsibilities of everybody in relation to COSHH. 

With over 80 templates for every substance you might come across in the workplace, our process is simple and effective. If you find a substance we don’t have, you can download our blank COSHH template to tailor it to your needs. 

Really not sure where to start. Take a look at our free COSHH assessment template to help you. Or, if you want to explore COSHH in more depth, check out our ‘What is COSHH’ guide