Understanding COSHH: Best Practices for Storing Hazardous Substances

Discover best practices for safe storage of hazardous substances in the workplace. Learn how to comply with COSHH regulations effectively.
Manual Handling

Welcome to our blog on COSHH and the best practices for storing hazardous substances. As workplaces deal with various hazardous materials, it is crucial to comply with COSHH storage requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of employees. In this blog post, we will delve into COSHH’s essential aspects and provide practical tips to implement effective storage practices.

Overview of COSHH

COSHH, or Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, is a set of regulations designed to protect workers from the risks associated with hazardous waste. It is a legal requirement for employers to assess and control the exposure of employees to hazardous substances. Compliance with COSHH storage requirements is vital to prevent accidents, illnesses, and environmental damage.


Workplaces that handle hazardous substances are required to adhere to COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations and their storage requirements. These regulations apply to a wide range of industries and sectors. For instance, manufacturing facilities that work with chemicals, pharmaceutical companies handling potentially harmful substances, laboratories conducting experiments with hazardous materials, construction sites where paints and solvents are used, and healthcare settings where medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are stored, all fall under the purview of COSHH. Even seemingly harmless workplaces such as offices may have hazardous substances like cleaning agents or printer toners that require proper storage. Regardless of the industry, it is essential for all workplaces using hazardous substances to comply with COSHH regulations to ensure the safety of employees, minimize risks, prevent accidents, and protect the environment. COSHH provides specific guidelines on storing hazardous substances, including appropriate containers, labelling, segregation, and emergency response plans, which must be followed diligently to maintain a safe working environment. By obeying COSHH regulations, workplaces can prioritize the health and well-being of their employees and demonstrate their commitment to safety.

Classification of Hazardous Substances

Understanding the classification of hazardous substances is key to proper storage. These substances include chemicals, gases, dust, biological agents, and more. You can adopt appropriate storage practices and reduce potential risks by correctly identifying and classifying these substances.

Classification of Hazardous Substances
Classification of Hazardous Substances

COSHH-Compliant Storage Practices

To meet COSHH storage requirements, it is essential to implement the following best practices:

1.     Storage Location and Design

Select storage locations that are suitable for hazardous substances. Ideally, these areas should be well-ventilated, away from sources of ignition, and provide appropriate temperature control. Additionally, consider segregating incompatible substances to prevent reactions.

2.     Container Selection and Labelling

Use containers specifically designed for storing hazardous substances. Ensure they are compatible with the substances they contain and in good condition. Labelling containers accurately with COSHH-specific labels is vital, including information on the substance, potential hazards, and handling precautions. Clear labelling helps to minimize the risk of accidental exposure or misuse.

3.     Handling and Transportation

Proper handling and transportation of hazardous substances are crucial. Train employees on safe handling procedures, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Implement procedures for transferring substances between storage areas to minimize the risk of spills or leaks.

4.     Emergency Preparedness

Develop emergency response plans and procedures in the event of spills, leaks, or accidents involving hazardous substances. Establish clear protocols for reporting incidents and provide appropriate spill control equipment and containment systems. Regularly review and update these plans to ensure their effectiveness.

5.     Training and Education

Investing in training and education is essential for COSHH compliance. Ensure all employees handling hazardous substances receive proper training on COSHH storage requirements, including safe storage practices, risk assessments, and control measures. Regular refresher courses and ongoing education help reinforce knowledge and promote a culture of safety.

6.     Compliance and Record-Keeping

Maintaining accurate records is a vital aspect of COSHH compliance. Conduct regular inspections and audits to ensure compliance with storage requirements. Keep records of risk assessments, control measures, training, incidents, and any changes to storage practices. These records demonstrate your commitment to safety and can be helpful in case of inspections or incidents.

The Importance of Storing at the Correct Place

Storing toxic waste according to COSHH requirements in the workplace is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, it ensures the safety and well-being of employees. By adhering to COSHH guidelines, employers can effectively control and minimize the risks associated with reducing the likelihood of accidents, injuries, or illnesses caused by exposure. This protects workers’ physical health and safeguards their mental well-being by creating a safer work environment. Complying with COSHH storage requirements demonstrates a commitment to legal and regulatory compliance. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in severe penalties, fines, legal liabilities, and reputational damage to the organization. Proper storage practices also contribute to environmental protection, preventing leaks, spills, or contaminations that could harm the ecosystem. Storing contaminated materials according to COSHH requirements is a responsible and proactive approach that promotes workplace safety, regulatory compliance, and the welfare of employees and the environment.


Understanding and implementing COSHH storage requirements is paramount for workplaces dealing with hazardous substances. By following best practices, such as selecting appropriate storage locations, using suitable containers, and providing adequate training, you can ensure the safety of your employees and minimize the risks associated with hazardous substances.

Remember, COSHH is not just a legal obligation but also a responsibility towards the well-being of your workforce. You create a healthier and more secure work environment by prioritizing safe storage practices and staying up-to-date with COSHH regulations.

Implement these best practices today and safeguard your workplace from the potential hazards of hazardous substances. Stay informed, be proactive, and prioritize safety!

Related Posts