Human Resources

Health and Safety

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 (as amended) – Microbiological

Using micro-organisms at work can put people's health at risk, so the law requires employers to control exposure to micro-organisms to prevent ill health.

Employers have to protect both employees and others who may be exposed by complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 (as amended).

COSHH does not apply to...

COSHH applies to virtually all micro-organisms hazardous to health except biological agents that are outside the employer's control, e.g. catching an infection from a workmate. If in doubt, please contact the Health and Safety Office for advice.

Summary of duties of the University under COSHH

  1. Carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment which identifies all routes of entry and ill health effects
  2. Replace hazardous substances with non hazardous substances where possible or substitute with less hazardous substances
  3. Where prevention to exposure or substitution with less harmful substances is not possible, ensure effective control measures to ensure exposure is below any approved Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) and for carcinogens and mutagens ensure exposure is reduced as far below the WEL as is reasonably practicable
  4. Be aware of any workers who may have pre-existing conditions such as asthma or dermatitis
  5. Ensure a risk assessment is carried out on expectant mothers, pay particular attention to substances containing mutagens and teratogens which may affect an unborn child
  6. Implement a health surveillance programme where required, including skin checks