Webinar - 5 Steps to Achieving CoSHH Compliance

Ensuring your employees are safe while working with hazardous substances is extremely important but it can also be demanding trying to manage all the paperwork.

Written by Laura Fitzgerald

Ensuring your employees are safe while working with hazardous substances is extremely important but it can also be demanding trying to manage all the paperwork.

How can health and safety professionals easily prove CoSHH compliance and  - most importantly - protect their staff?

That was the question we aimed to answer with our most recent webinar: ‘5 Steps to Achieving CoSHH Compliance’. Read on for the webinar recording and our breakdown of the 5 key take aways from the session.


Find our listening guide below:



Listening Guide:

Section Timestamp
Welcome Message 00:00 - 01:48
Meet the Panel 01:48 - 03:28
Introduction 03:28 - 05:45
Step 1 05:45 - 15:00
Step 2 15:00 - 25:00
Step 3 25:00 - 35:05
Step 4 35:05 - 42:08
Step 5 42:08 - 44:20
Maintain & Update 44:20 - 48:18
Procurement - New Products 48:18 - 51:11
Product Demo - Chemical Manager 51:11 - 1:08:51



1. Build your Chemical Inventory



  • Document your structure - don’t assume you know where all your chemicals are. Ideally, assign an individual as champion to each node

  • Train the people who are collecting chemical information – make sure they know what constitutes a ‘chemical’ and what needs to be included

  • For large organizations, sort out chemicals by location and geography, not where you assume chemicals are (in a laboratory etc.)

  • Collect product information by department – its vital to design a consistent inventory template

  • Try not to make allowances for what chemicals you collect, put down your FULL list


Webinar Poll: When was the last time you updated your chemical inventory?


Graph (1)


2. Source your safety data sheets 



  • Best practice is to source your safety data sheets centrally

  • Try to avoid duplication of products and (less obvious) duplication of manufacturers

  • Source the most recent safety data sheets directly from manufacturers

  • Be mindful of changes to legislation and regulations when it comes to updating your safety data sheets

  • Record basic information – revision dates and document source



3. Identify and summarize your hazards



  • Identify and record hazards from section 2 of your safety data sheets

  • Summarize your hazards by department/ area

  • Fix the big problems first:  
     -  Substitute or eliminate you major hazards – Carcinogenic Mutagenic Reprotoxic (CMR)
     -  Are your main controls sufficient by department, storage, labelling, PPE etc.

  • The CoSHH assessment remains the primary source of information, where you’re staff go to understand how to use the chemical

  • Using a system like chemical manager can simplify the laborious task of sourcing your SDS and compiling hazard information



4. Complete your CoSHH Assessments



  • Create simple, efficient and relevant CoSHH Assessment templates – overly complex templates will fail

  • Best practice is to use as much multiple choice option as possible

  • Avoid using ‘free text’ options – they are slow and can encourage copying and pasting from SDS

  • Be mindful of other regulations apart from  CoSHH (DSEAR, Environmental etc.)

  • Completing an assessment should be seen as a collaboration between the health and safety team and the chemical users

  • CoSHH Assessments should be completed in the environment where the chemical is in use, if possible



5. Distribution of documentation



  • Make Safety Data Sheets and CoSHH assessments available to staff for all the chemicals that they use

  • Ideally, use soft copies – a document management system can allow for searching and revision control

  • Hard copies may be needed in areas that do not have access to a system, but procedures must be in place to keep them in line with digital versions

  • Your staff need to be trained to ensure they understand how to use CoSHH assessments and SDS



Chemical management software can streamline your processes, help you to prove compliance and make your workplace safer. If you want to read more about how software can change your chemical management system, visit EcoOnline today

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