The types of hazardous substances that are used and stored on site can greatly vary between industries. Any workplace that handles or stores substances that may cause hazards to health are required to use a COSHH cabinet.

If you wish to stay in compliance with COSHH safety regulations, you must store hazardous substances safely.


What does COSHH really mean?

COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’. It is a public-health regulation aimed at reducing the dangers caused by hazardous substances

The scope of "substances hazardous to health" as defined by the HSE is wide. It includes substances that are classified corrosive, poisonous, irritant, hazardous or toxic. These can take many forms and include:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapours
  • mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases and asphyxiating gases and
  • biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of these hazard symbols then it is classed as a hazardous substance.
  • germs that cause disease

Carrying out risk assessments on your site is a legal requirement and all employers are legally mandated to carry out risk assessments for all workplace hazards under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).

Once risk assessments are carried out it is vital that the results are recorded and any necessary changes are implemented. If hazardous substances are found on-site they must be stored safely to ensure that a leak or spill does not happen. Having a established spill control procedure, with trained individuals to follow the plan is a necessity.


What is a COSHH Cabinet?

A COSHH cabinet (also known as a a COSHH cupboard) is designed to keep hazardous materials safe while being stored. It’s a secure, lockable cabinet that prevents unauthorised individuals from accessing the hazardous chemicals kept within. COSHH cabinets are designed to be leak-proof to prevent spills from seeping out ad contaminating the environments and causing harm to people’s health.

COSHH cabinets are used in several settings, including schools, hospitals, scientific labs, industries, and offices to store cleaning supplies and other hazardous substances on site.


Storing Substances in a COSHH Cabinet

Substances should be stored in the COSHH cabinet according to manufacturer’s recommendations. If there is a chance of a harmful chemical reaction, hazardous chemicals must be stored in proper spill-proof containers and not allowed to meet one another. Substances that are no longer needed or have expired should be disposed of in accordance with Government rules on hazardous waste disposal.

The number of specified compounds that can be stored in a single area is governed by rules. To learn more about the storage of hazardous chemicals, workplace managers should refer to the national HSG51 and DSEAR 2002 Health and Safety recommendations by HSE.


What are the common harmful hazardous substances in my industry?

Construction Industry

Paints, Solvents and acids, Pesticides, Industrial cleaners, Gasoline

Engineering Industry

Dusts from mechanical cutting, Shaping and abrasive blasting, Gases/fumes from welding, Soldering, and cutting, Metalworking fluids, Lubricants, Paints, Adhesives, Degreasing,

Pharmaceutical Industry

Amino acids, Alcohols, Alanine, Acetic acid, Alginates,

Food & Beverage Industry

Enzymes, Flavour concentrates, Detergents, Antibacterial products, Disinfectants, Varnish, Lacquer

Automotive Industry

Lubricants, Adhesives, Paints, Degreasing fluids, Braking fluids

Waste Industry

Pesticides, Herbicides, Paints, Industrial solvents, Fluorescent light bulbs, Mercury-containing batteries


How to choose the right COSHH cabinet

Safety cabinets are available in a variety of sizes. The size of storage that is needed is determined by the volume and number of containers that need to be kept. Make sure you have calculated how many hazardous chemicals you'll be handling daily. Different chemical storage colours mean different things:

Yellow Cabinets
[caption id="attachment_22585" align="alignnone" width="300"]Yellow Dangerous Substance Cabinet 1830 x 1220 x 457mm A cabinet designed to provide the safe and secure storage of chemicals, acids, paints and many other hazardous substances to comply with COSHH regulations.[/caption]

Yellow dangerous substances cabinets are painted yellow and have a  spill try to catch spilt liquids and solids. You may use them to hold gases, aerosols, liquids and solids. Typically they come with a 'Highly Flammable' tag. In addition, a reaction EN 13501-1 assures that these cabinets are fire-resistant. These types of cabinets are essential for protecting workers and reducing fire risks.

White Cabinets
[caption id="attachment_22586" align="alignnone" width="300"]Acid Cabinet 1000 x 915 x 457mm A cabinet designed to provide the safe and secure storage of chemicals, acids, paints and many other hazardous substances to comply with COSHH regulations.[/caption]

These white cabinets, also known as Acid Cabinets are highly visible due to being powder coated in white. They are designed to provide the safe and secure storage of chemicals, acids, paints and many other hazardous substances to comply with COSHH regulations. Moreover, because these cabinets are composed of acid-resistant materials they can handle metal-corrosive compounds.

Red Cabinets
[caption id="attachment_22587" align="alignnone" width="300"]Flamstor Cabinet HRSC3 A cabinet designed to store poisons, pesticides, or other deadly hazardous substances to comply with COSHH regulations.[/caption]

‘Highly Flammable’ substances can be stored in red cabinets. Used for storing poisons, pesticides, or other deadly hazardous substances. These cabinets are designed to hold back the spread of flames in the event of a emergency.

Blue Cabinets
[caption id="attachment_22588" align="alignnone" width="300"]4 Drum Enclosed Drumbank A cabinet designed to provide safe and secure storage of corrosives and hazardous liquids and solids to comply with COSHH regulations.[/caption]

Blue colour cabinets are used for storing corrosives and hazardous liquids and solids.


Explore our wide range of chemical and flammable storage to find the right type of COSHH cabinet for your particular needs.


What if I have more than one type of hazardous substance which needs storing?

Remember the fundamentals of chemical storage: separate liquids from solids and flammables from non-flammables.

Combustible solvents should be kept away from exits and doors. A room can’t have more than 50 litres of combustible substances in it at any given time. Make sure you only have access to the amount that you need daily and no more.

Always keep flammable solvents away from oxidising, reducing and concentrated acids. Separate flammable solvents from all other compounds including chlorinated solvents, and oxidising substances. As far as possible, avoid unintentional mixing, as this might result in unexpected consequences!


Breach of COSHH regulations by an employer or employees is a crime, punishable by an unlimited fine. Hyde Park Environmental can help you, to ensure this doesn't happen!


We're here to help

We’re committed to helping prevent spills and to ensure your site is compliant with regulations.

Get in touch to discuss your storage needs with Hyde Park Environmental’s experts in spill control.

Here’s to a brighter and cleaner future!