Exposure to hazardous substances

The definition under COSHH of hazardous substances (“substances hazardous to health”) is very wide ranging and includes:

(a)           substances used directly in work activities (e.g. laboratory chemicals, pesticides, cleaning products, adhesives)

(b)           substances generated by work activities (e.g. solder or welding fumes, dusts from woodworking machinery)

(c)           naturally occurring substances that are present in the workplace (e.g. allergens associated with laboratory animals, pollen in glasshouses)

(d)          biological agents that are associated with work (e.g. bacteria or other micro-organisms)

Lack of adequate control of exposure to such substances can (and does) result in injury or illness, ranging from skin or eye irritation to chronic, disabling, lung disease.