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  • Images/SlideShow/photos/AssessmentTitle.jpg

  • Title bar


    The top bar across the page shows your company name (optional) and material code

  • Supplier details


    Trade Name and Supplier details

  • Keyword and Modified date


    Substance being assessed including the date when the assessment was updated

  • Hazard and State


    The hazard level and physical state of the material

  • Profile


    Exposure profile containing usage data, area and time details

  • Hazard Images


    Pictograms showing any hazards to be taken into consideration

  • Hazardous Constituents


    Additional comments relating to the activity

  • Activity Comments


    Additional comments relating to the activity

  • Health Risks


    Health effects including inhalation, eyes, skin sensitisation etc

  • Control Measures


    Pictograms show PPE, inhalation and hygiene contols plus storage and disposal information

  • Spillage Risks


    Pictograms show PPE, inhalation and hygiene contols plus storage and disposal information

  • First Aid


    First aid action. What to do and what not to do should exposure occure by inhalation, ingestion, eye or skin contact

    First Aid
  • Fire


    First aid action. What to do and what not to do should exposure occure by inhalation, ingestion, eye or skin contact

  • Considerations


    Pictograms showing additional concerns using Sypol designed self explanatory graphics

  • Work Area


    Work area including space for signature and page number (assessment no)




Each Assessment contains a front sheet detailing the hazards associated with the material, first aid, spillage and fire precautions and a back page detailing the precautions to be taken to ensure that the risk is minimal when undertaking defined work activities. The front sheet is compiled using information from suppliers safety data sheets, guidance and information provided by the Health and Safety Executive and standard texts and research material.

Exposure Limits

A single type of exposure limit has been introduced with Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) replacing Maximum Exposure Limits (MELs) and Occupational Exposure Standards (OESs) The OESs for around 100 substances will be deleted as the substances are now banned. As the numerical values of the other limits being transferred to the new system are unchanged, suppliers may exhaust stocks of safety data sheets that refer to MELs and OESs before producing new ones that refer to WELs. Similarly, COSHH assessments can be updated as part of duty holders periodic reviews.

Work Activities

It is usual in heating and ventilating activities for the same materials to be used in different ways on site. Each method of using a material is assessed individually. The controls needed to ensure a minimum risk, vary from activity to activity. Spray painting, for example, is potentially more risky than brush application (more material in the air to breath).

Each assessment activity coupled with the relevant front sheet forms a risk assessment. It is of utmost importance that the correct activity is chosen from the selection available.

All activities are defined in three ways:-

1. Method of use Hand (brush, trowel) or spray

2. Work environment outside, inside, or confined space. If inside: well ventilated or poorly ventilated

3. Length of work Up to 1/2 hour 1/2 to 2 hours 2 to 4 hours etc.

Choosing the correct assessment - the 4 step guide

Step 1 Check that an assessment is available in the file for the material in use.

Step 2 Check the work to be done, choose the relevant activity and tell your operatives what they must do.

Step 3 Staff must co-operate. If the assessment calls for washing hands after use, or wearing a dust mask, they must comply.

Step 4 If the assessment is not available or the relevant activity is not covered, a local assessment must be produced based on information from the supplier.


Some of the assessments contained in this online COSHH management system are generic, or "family group" assessments. Materials such as general purpose cleaners, solvent based adhesives, mineral oils and cement etc., although supplied under many different trade names do, in numerous cases, pose very similar risks to health. Generic assessments can therefore be used to cover "family groups" of similar materials.

Using generic assessments where appropriate, can substantially reduce the number of assessments required and also allows operatives to become familiar with a general set of precautions to be followed.

Allocation of materials into Generic Categories

Obtain Material Safety Data Sheet for material to be allocated into a generic category.
Identify the "keyword" or "family group" for the material e.g. adhesive, solvent cleaner.
Identify the constituents of the material.
Place the material into the correct category, depending on keyword and constituents.


Check any occupational exposure limits from the Material Safety Data Sheet against those quoted on the assessment. The Data Sheet standard must have a higher or equal numeric value to the generic assessment for the generic to be applicable.
Check the assessment activity to make sure that it is suitable for the work to be carried out. If, for example, the material is to be sprayed then there should be a specific activity "SPRAYING". 

Generic Category Keyword Constituents
(solvent) Adhesive Xylene
Cleaner (acid) Cleaner Hydrochloric Acid
Paint (resin) Paint Isocyanate monomers Xylene


The Symbols used on the front page of the COSHH Assessment refer to the inherent hazard associated with the material. Each material assessed in the online COSHH management system is designated, where possible, a hazard symbol.

The designation is based on the information provided on the Chemicals, (Hazard information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2000 (CHIP 2 Regulations). The CHIP Regulations list substances that are considered "dangerous" and indicate the relevant hazard symbol to be used.

In some cases, substances are not given a symbol because they are not considered hazardous enough to qualify. A LOW HAZARD symbol (a tick) is used to indicate when this is the case.

The current 2009 Hazard symbols used are shown below.

Hazard Symbols
Thursday 18 July 2019
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Page last modified 8/23/2017