What are the risks of using chemicals at work?

Cleaning products are chemicals, and so are covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to  Health Regulations 2002.

Cleaning products should come – and be kept – in properly labelled containers. The label gives you important information about the hazards of the substance, for example if it is toxic or likely to cause skin burns or allergic reactions. The product should also be accompanied by a safety data sheet, which gives you more detail about a substance's hazards and the precautions you need to take. Your employer should keep copies of safety data sheets for the products you use, and should tell you how to use the products safely.

If you are worried that the chemicals you use at work might be making you ill, see your GP (see Dealing with Doctors), tell your union rep (see Help from Unions), occupational health department or employer, and write it down in the accident book.

Always wear gloves when using silver dip or other cleaning products. Remember that latex gloves can cause serious allergies.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.