What is the law regarding dangerous substances at work?

Employers are responsible for assessing what hazardous substances are used at work and ensuring health and safety requirements are adhered to.  What can you do if they are not and you are injured as a result?

The control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) are the main regulations that apply to any substance hazardous to health in the workplace. 

COSHH states that It is the legal responsibility of an employer to assess what hazardous substances are used at work and the steps needed to comply with health and safety requirements.

An employer must ensure that the use of dangerous substances is either prevented or controlled. This may included replacing the chemical with a less harmful one, or ensuring that the substance is used in a safe environment with adequate protective equipment. 

It is an employer's duty to ensure that employees are given sufficient information and training to enable them to handle the chemical safely and securely

Skin complaints are common when handling hazardous substances. Skin problems should be reported to a manager as soon as possible so that they are aware that their safety procedures are inadequate and need improving. 

Making a Claim

If an individual is injured due to an employer failing to adhere to the COSHH regulations regarding preventing or controlling exposure to hazardous substances, then they may be able to make a claim.

In the event of an incident, the names and addresses of any witnesses should be collected, and if possible, photographs should be taken of the scene. The incident should be reported and  recorded in an accident book as soon as possible. 

The amount of compensation settlement will be dependent on the type and severity of the injury, as well as any long-lasting effects. Compensation can also be claimed for other expenses such as loss of earnings, medical costs and travel expenses. All receipts should be retained as evidence. 

For more information see: Making a compensation claim following exposure to hazardous substances

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

In the case of a long-lasting injury, a Claimant may be able to apply for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This is a weekly sum that is paid to the Claimant. An individual must meet the specific criteria in order to be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. The full criteria can be found on the gov.uk website. 

Contact Us

Quittance's expert panel of solicitors are experienced in dealing with many work-related incidents including accidents involving dangerous substances. 

If you have suffered as a result of an injury at work, contact Quittance on freephone 0800 612 7456 or complete an online form and we will call you back at a time that is convenient for you.