How to handle hazardous substances
How to handle hazardous substances

What is COSHH?

COSHH is the acronym for The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002). Accordingly, COSHH provides a framework. Specifically, the aim of COSHH is to control the risks posed by hazardous substances. In other words, these regulations tell us how to handle hazardous substances.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established the COSHH regulations in 2002. In brief, the HSE outlines the regulations as follows:

“COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health and includes nanomaterials. You can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by:

  • finding out what the health hazards are;
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
  • making sure they are used;
  • keeping all control measures in good working order;
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others;
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
  • planning for emergencies.

Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances. Some processes create substances. As a result, these could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. For example, as a new technology, the risks of exposure associated with nanomaterials are not currently fully understood. Whilst knowledge gaps exist, HSE recommends a precautionary approach to risk management with control strategies aiming to reduce exposure as much as possible.”

How to handle hazardous substances. Why is there a need for regulation?

Above all, handling hazardous substances requires knowledge and experience. Indeed, it is important to remember that pest control fumigants are toxic. As a result, the widespread use of fumigation has required the need for legislation. Specifically, fumigants are used in:

  1. purpose built fumigation or sterilisation chambers.
  2. residential and business properties.
  3. shipping containers.

How do the professionals handle hazardous substances?

Above all, the technicians are experts. Furthermore, they know how to control hazardous substances. Initially, the use of hazardous substances requires a written health and safety assessment. Currently, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires an assessment when dealing with:

1. pesticides.

2. cleaning products.

3. dust from pigeons or grain stores.

4. biological agents.


The technicians from assess each pest control substance that is applied on or around the site. In addition, they will identify potential hazards and carry out the following safety procedures:

  • Produce safety data sheets on all pest control products.
  • Assess potential risk to humans and the environment.
  • Similarly they produce toxicology reports on all treatments.
  • Apply working practices under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • Also they evaluate the possible use of less toxic alternatives.
  • Assess the types of Personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to reduce exposure to harmful substances.
  • Additionally, each COSHH assessment is recorded.
  • Finally, customers are informed about substances and methods of application.

How to handle hazardous substances: Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protection Equipment should include:

  • Protective clothing. All in one pest control suits are freely available online. However, these suits are disposable and they can only be used for one application. However, if the pest controller requires more comfort and repeated use a double thickness, breathable suit would be the best option.
  • Eye protection. For instance, pesticides may get into the eyes in any situation where spraying or fogging is involved.
  • Masks/respirators. In order to limit the absorption of pesticide vapours ,fumes and other unwanted particles a respiratory mask should be worn.
  • Gloves. Gloves will protect the hands from pesticide contact and injuries during spraying. Furthermore, there should be no gaps between the gloves and the protective clothing.
  • Shoe protection and safety boots. Foot protection is important during spraying and to prevent insecticide spills damaging your feet.
  • Helmets.  A safety helmet is mandatory in any environment where chemicals are being used. Moreover, they act as protection from falling objects.
  • Ear protection. Ear muffs not only protect the ears from excessive noise but they prevent unwanted particles from entering your ears.. 

Above all remember that vital organs are at risk of damage if the correct personal protective equipment is not used. 


Finally, take note that the effective use of a fumigant depends on the prevailing circumstances. Furthermore, the technicians know how to target a specific pest or pests. Furthermore, when it comes to how to control a hazardous substance, the technicians assess the nature of the affected area. Specifically, will ensure a safe work environment.

In conclusion, the team will use the most effective and safe pest control method.