How is COSHH used in a childcare setting?

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Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at in the workplace can put the health of staff, pupils and others at risk; COSHH, or the Control of Hazardous Substances & Chemicals, is a set of regulations that help to protect those at risk from these dangers. As such, schools have a legal duty under COSHH to ensure hazardous substances are stored, handled and used safely. In the article below we have highlighted some of the key areas of COSHH when it comes to schools; including what it covers and what your legal duties are.

What are Hazardous Substances in Schools?

Generally, a hazardous substance is defined under COSHH as any substance which has the potential to cause harm; perhaps when inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the skin. Common examples of hazardous substances that you might encounter in a school environment are things like cleaning products, different chemicals and products that are used in science departments, and paints and solvents that you would see in an art & design class. For school labs, you might also be interested in our range of laboratory cupboards and cabinets, or our storage cupboards with bins.

How do I know which Substances are Hazardous?

By law, the producers of these products are required to label them with the appropriate hazard warning symbol. These labels serve as an easy, visual key in identifying what type of hazard the product contains; explaining what the hazard is and how you can avoid it. The labeling of these chemicals is uniform and consistent across every single country

The different COSHH hazards that you will encounter are as follows:

  • Toxic/Danger
  • Warning
  • Long term health hazard
  • Danger to Environment
  • Corrosive
  • Flammable
  • Oxidiser
  • Explosive
  • Compressed Gas

How can I store Hazardous Substances in Schools?

To safely and securely store hazardous substances in schools, you can use what’s known as a COSHH cabinet. A COSHH Cabinet is a type of cupboard used for the safe storage of these different substances, and for each different type of hazard, you can get the appropriate, colour-coordinated cabinet. As an example, any flammable substances would be stored in a yellow COSHH Cabinet, whereas green cabinets are used for the safe storage of things like solvents and paints. Make sure you get the right cabinets for the right substances if you’re looking to safely store hazardous substances in a school environment.

That concludes this short blog article on how you can safely manage and store the different hazardous substances that you might encounter in a school or childcare setting. If you were looking to purchase some COSHH Cabinets for your school, then you might be interested in our full range of COSHH Cabinets, here.

Peter