The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, known best as simply COSHH, is the law that holds employers responsible for controlling any substances used in their business that could be potentially harmful or hazardous to the health of their workers.
Complying with COSHH involves a rigorous but necessary process of risk analysis and assessment, implementing and measuring control measures, and providing instruction, training and training for employees.
Chemical safety data sheets are an important part of COSHH. They are a requirement of REACH, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals, which is the European system for controlling chemicals, as they provide information on chemical products, such as commercial cleaning products, that enable their users to make an accurate risk assessment for employees. The information provided on chemical safety data sheets includes a description of the hazards the product presents, and advice and instructions on handling and storing the product, as well as emergency measures that should be followed in the event of an accident.
Guidance on how the chemical product is used may be necessary depending on the information on the chemical safety data sheets and the risk assessment that follows, and by law suppliers must provide up-to-date safety data sheets for chemicals that contain even small amounts of hazardous substances. These safety data sheets must be passed on to anyone who is supplied with the chemicals, such as your cleaning staff or contractors.
Understanding chemical safety data sheets
In our blog post on the updated European Classifying, Labelling and Packaging Regulations, also known as CLP, that came into force on 1st June 2015 we covered the changes to how chemical products are classified and labelled. The changes included new CLP Pictograms as well as new signal words, Hazard (H) and Precautionary (P) statements, and CLP outer labels, and as a result of these changes all existing safety data sheets (often referred to as SDS) were required to be updated.
Every safety data sheet is dated, and contains 16 headings which are followed by the relevant information to the chemical product. These are as follows:
- Identification of the substance/mixture and of the company/undertaking;
- Hazards identification;
- Composition/information on ingredients;
- First-aid measures;
- Fire-fighting measures;
- Accidental release measures;
- Handling and storage;
- Exposure controls/personal protection;
- Physical and chemical properties;
- Stability and reactivity;
- Toxicological information;
- Ecological information;
- Disposal considerations;
- Transport information;
- Regulatory information;
- Other information.
Safety data sheets must be provided free of charge electronically or on paper, either before the chemicals are delivered by the supplier or at the same time. Once the safety data sheets have been provided there’s no need to provide them again unless any changes are made, but they should be available.
You can find more in-depth information about REACH and safety data sheets here, and if you require any safety data sheets for Bunzl CHS products, simply visit the product page online to find a link to view the sheet online or download and keep.