COSHH Hazard Symbols | Quick Intro
If you are dealing with substances which may be hazardous to health, it would be useful to get familiar with the globally standardised hazard symbols.
Hazard pictograms alert us to the presence of a hazardous chemical or substance.
The hazard symbols help us to recognise that the chemicals we are using might cause harm to people or the environment.
When it comes to COSHH assessment, they help us to evaluate chemical compatibility and allow us to put suitable controls measures in place to protect people and property.
The CLP hazard pictograms are very similar to those used in the old labelling system and appear in the shape of a diamond with a distinctive red border and white background.
One or more pictograms might appear on the labelling of a single chemical.
Let’s take a look the 9 COSHH Hazard Symbols and what they mean for employee health and your business.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Extremely flammable gas, Flammable gas, Extremely flammable aerosol, Flammable aerosol, Highly flammable liquid and vapour, Flammable liquid and vapour, Flammable solid EXAMPLES: Lamp oil, petrol, nail polish remover
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? May cause OR does cause various conditions, such as, respiratory irritation, drowsiness or dizziness, allergic skin reaction, serious eye or skin irritation Harmful if swallowed, in contact with skin etc. EXAMPLES: Washing detergents, toilet cleaner, coolant fluid
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The substance can be toxic/fatal if swallowed, in contact with skin or if inhaled EXAMPLES: Pesticide, biocide, methanol
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects EXAMPLES: Pesticides, biocides, petrol, turpentine
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? May be corrosive to metals Causes severe skin burns and eye damage EXAMPLES: Drain cleaners, acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, ammoniac
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? May cause or intensify fire; oxidiser. May cause fire or explosion; strong oxidiser. EXAMPLES: Bleach, oxygen for medical purposes
Serious Health Hazard
WHAT DOES IT INDICATE? May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways, causes damage to organs, may damage fertility or the unborn child, may/suspected of cause cancer or genetic defects EXAMPLES: Turpentine, petrol, lamp oil
WHAT DOES IT INDICATE? Substance may be any of following: an unstable explosive, mass explosion hazard, severe projection hazard, fire, blast or projection hazard, may mass explode in fire. EXAMPLES: Fireworks, ammunition
Gas Under Pressure
WHAT DOES IT INDICATE? Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated. Contains refrigerated gas; may cause cryogenic burns or injury. EXAMPLES: Gas containers, cylinders, air conditioning unit
Free COSHH Assessment Template
In the UK, COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers need to either prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health.
COSHH Hazard Symbols | Some Reminders
In the UK, ‘COSHH’ is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. 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.
These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.
Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.
In other circumstances, the potential harm caused by a substance or material may not be easily recognised or even understood.
Listen to our COSHH podcast for more useful tips on hazard management.
Hazard Symbols causing Confusion?
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