COSHH Policy

Imperial College Union is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its members, staff, customers, suppliers, visitors, and all others who may be affected by its activities and recognises the risks to health caused by hazardous substances and accepts its responsibilities to comply with legislation and its duty to prevent and control the exposure to substances hazardous to health under the following regulations:   

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 

  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 200

1. Definition  

A substance hazardous to health is anything that is hazardous in the form in which it may occur in the work activity. It need not just be chemical compounds, it can include chemical mixtures, micro-organisms, natural materials such as flour, or processed materials such as wood dust, etc. 

It is Union's Policy to:    

  • not use hazardous substances where safer alternatives are available 

  • design and operate processes and activities to minimise emission, release and spread of substances hazardous to health, safety and the environment 

  • choose the most effective and reliable control options to minimise the escape and spread of substances hazardous to health, safety and the environment 

  • inform and train all staff on the hazards and risks from the substances with which they work, and the use of control measures developed to minimise the risks 

  • minimise the exposure of staff to hazardous substances, considering all relevant routes of exposure or physical harm – inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, fire and explosion  

  • where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by other means, provide, in combination with other control measures, suitable personal protective equipment 

  • ensure that procedures are in place to tackle incidents and emergencies arising from the use and storage of hazardous substances 

  • check and regularly review all elements of control measures for their continuing effectiveness 

  • minimise the amounts of hazardous substances used and stored by the Union 

  • dispose of hazardous substances by the best practicable means to minimise the effects on the environment.  

2. Responsibilities

  • ICU Board of Trustees

    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a statutory duty on organisations to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare of its employees at work and other people who may be affected by their activities, e.g., membership, volunteers, members of the public.  

    The Board of Trustees, as the governing body of the Union, has overall and final responsibility for Health and Safety matters within the Union, and for ensuring that Health and Safety legislation is complied with. 

  • Managing Director (MD)

    The Trustee Board has devolved day-to-day responsibility for Health, Safety and Welfare to the Managing Director.   

    The MD, and those acting on their behalf, will ensure: 

    • Ensure that adequate arrangements are in place to achieve compliance with the policy. 

    • MD delegates responsibility for undertaking aspects of these duties through line management & identified roles. 

  • Senior Leadership Team

    The Managing Director will delegate to the membership of the leadership team the following responsibility:  

    • Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of Health and Safety activities and the Union’s Health and Safety Policy and associated policies and procedures, and for ensuring that, at the strategic level, performance standards and timescales are adhered to.  

    • Chairing the Students' Union’s Health and Safety Committee and ensuring it has the time, facilities and resources to carry out its business effectively.  

    • Keeping under review this Health and Safety Policy and the Health and Safety performance of the Students' Union.

  • Facilities, Health and Safety Manger (FHSM)

    The FHSM is appointed by the MD to undertake the following:  

    • Responsible for ensuring that suitable and sufficient COSHH risk assessments have been carried out for all activities involving hazardous substances that take place within the Union. 

    • Ensure that staff members that carry out COSHH assessments have received training 

    • Ensure that control measures detailed in the COSHH risk assessment are implemented.  

  • Imperial College Union Line Managers

    Health and Safety is a delegated line management responsibility requiring managers to undertake operational Health and Safety duties identified in this policy. Imperial College Union Line Managers to undertake the following:    

    • Ensure that their staff are aware and compliant of this Policy.  

    • Ensure that COSHH risk assessments for their areas of responsibility are carried out and that they are monitored and reviewed annually. 

    • Maintaining an inventory of all substances hazardous to health in their areas of responsibility and maintaining up to date Safety Data Sheets on each product/substance.       

    • Responsible for ensuring that suitable personal protective equipment is provided and replaced when necessary.   

    • Ensure that all staff that work with substances hazardous to health have received adequate training on their use, hazardous properties, control measures, PPE, emergency arrangements. 

  • ICU Employees are required to

    Individual members of staff, students and visitors have a legal duty to co-operate and comply at all times with the ICU Health and Safety Policy, instruction and training provided. Staff and students are responsible for: 

    • Cooperate and enable implementation of this policy 

    • Under no circumstances should any chemicals be brought onto Union premises  

    • Only use chemicals intended for their purpose; 

    • Ensure all chemicals are stored correctly and safely when not in use and are out of reach of colleagues who are not trained to use them; 

    • Any PPE provided must be utilised correctly and any faults should be reported immediately; 

    • Any allergies or concerns must be reported before use of chemicals; 

    • All containers must be labelled safely and sufficiently detailing exactly what the contents is inside; 

    • Wash hands after use and follow any other manufacturer guidelines; 

    • All substances are to be utilised in the original containers. Manufacturer's instructions should be always followed if considering a secondary container 

    • The user follows the directions and instructions found within the safety data sheet or as determined from the risk assessment provided by ICU 

    • Make use of control measures and facilities provided by ICU 

    • Report defects/insufficiencies in control measures to your supervisor or Line Manager  

    • Remove PPE that could cause contamination before eating or drinking; 

    • Comply with any information, instruction or training that is provided. 

  • Imperial College London

    The Students' Union, whilst an independent charity in its own right, is an integral part of the Imperial College community and could not exist without the College. The Union and College work in partnership to ensure that adequate measures are in place to ensure health, safety and welfare within the Union. The Union is committed to working with the Imperial College London Safety department and where appropriate, ensuring that the Union's Health and Safety Policy, Codes of Practice and arrangements are in accordance with the College Health and Safety Policy, Codes of Practice and arrangements. 


    The Union is in an unusual position in that whilst colleagues work directly for the Students' Union their contracts of employment are with the College. Whilst the Union accepts its duty of care and responsibilities, the College also has a duty to ensure, and support, the safe management and operation of the Students' Union. 

Further Information and Guidance

Review date: March 2025