Training Employees on COSHH: Effective Techniques


In every workplace where dangerous substances are found, prioritizing the safety and welfare of employees is of utmost importance. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations serve as a structured approach for mitigating these risks. However, compliance with COSHH goes beyond simply having the right procedures in place; it requires effective training of employees to recognize hazards, understand risks, and take appropriate precautions. This blog will explore some effective techniques for training employees on COSHH.

Understanding COSHH Regulations

Before diving into training techniques, it’s crucial to ensure that employees have a solid understanding of COSHH regulations themselves. Training should begin with an overview of what COSHH is, why it’s important, and the legal requirements surrounding it. This foundational knowledge sets the stage for more detailed training on specific substances and hazards.

Identifying Hazardous Substances

One of the key aspects of COSHH training is teaching employees how to identify hazardous substances in the workplace. This involves familiarizing them with common types of hazardous substances, such as chemicals, biological agents, and dusts, as well as the potential health risks associated with exposure to these substances. Hands-on activities, such as substance identification exercises and workplace walkthroughs, can be particularly effective in helping employees recognize hazards in their own environment.

Assessing Risks

Once employees can identify hazardous substances, they need to understand how to assess the risks associated with those substances. This includes evaluating factors such as the toxicity of the substance, the route of exposure, and the likelihood and severity of potential health effects. Training should provide employees with tools and methodologies for conducting risk assessments, as well as guidance on when to seek assistance from management or health and safety professionals.

Safe Handling and Storage

Effective COSHH training should also cover safe handling and storage practices for hazardous substances. This encompasses correct methods for managing, conveying, and discarding substances, alongside emphasizing the significance of utilizing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, goggles, and respirators. Hands-on demonstrations and practical exercises can reinforce these concepts and ensure that employees feel confident in their ability to work safely with hazardous substances. Employees should be trained on the proper use and disposal of hazardous materials, including understanding when to utilize safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, respirators, and even items available through suppliers like Seton, who offer a range of COSHH-compliant products for chemical handling and storage.

Emergency Response

In the event of a spill, leak, or other emergency involving hazardous substances, employees need to know how to respond quickly and effectively to minimize risks to themselves and others. COSHH training should include instruction on emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, emergency contacts, and procedures for containing and cleaning up spills. Regular drills and simulations can help reinforce these procedures and ensure that employees are prepared to respond calmly and effectively in a crisis.

Regular Refresher Training

Finally, COSHH training should not be a one-time event. As new substances are introduced into the workplace or procedures are updated, employees need regular refresher training to ensure that their knowledge and skills remain up-to-date. Additionally, regular training helps reinforce key concepts and keeps safety top-of-mind for employees on an ongoing basis.


Effective training is essential for ensuring compliance with COSHH regulations and protecting employees’ health and safety in workplaces with hazardous substances. By providing employees with a solid understanding of COSHH regulations, teaching them to identify hazardous substances and assess risks, and providing practical instruction on safe handling, storage, and emergency response, employers can empower their workforce to work safely with hazardous substances and minimize the risk of harm.