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Risk Assessments - Another Myth Busted

Employees Not Allowed to Use Own Soaps and Cleaning Products

Here is the latest myth, busted by the UK's HSE. It is a typical example of actions by people, probably with best interests at heart but lacking in knowledge of how to undertake a risk assessment. In this case, the default position appears to be, not sure - don't allow it. 

HSE Myth Busters - Case 257 - Employees asked not to use their own hand wash or cleaning products


Enquirer has been told that due to COSHH they cannot leave hand wash they have purchased themselves in the toilets and they cannot use any of their own cleaning materials e.g. furniture polish. They are not clear how hand wash and cleaning products purchased from high street shops can fall under COSHH regulations

Panel decision

It is commendable that the company is considering possible risks their employees could be exposed to at work but this is a risk averse and somewhat misguided interpretation of COSHH requirements. Products like hand wash are very unlikely to contain substances which are hazardous to health and so fall outside of the scope of COSHH. Furniture polish and other cleaning products purchased from retail outlets will be clearly marked with instructions for use, so provided the cleaning materials are in properly labelled containers there is no reason to stop their use.

A quality training course would appear to be the order of the day for whoever made the decision to ban the products. Suitable ones are; CIEH Level 2 Risk Assessments or IOSH Managing Safely. Result, a happy and clean work force.