Legislation & Duties Copy

Health & Safety Legislation

(Click on the Acts to read more)



The main purpose of the Chemicals Act 2008 and 2010 is to facilitate the enforcement of certain EU Regulations concerning chemicals. These Regulations include the:

  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (No. 1907/2006) )
  • Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP) Regulation (No. 1272/2008)
  • Rotterdam Regulation (No. 689/2008) concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention
  • Detergents Regulation (No. 648/2004).

Click here to read the Act in full.



This Code of Practice is effective from January 17th 2020 and replaces the 2018 Code of Practice for the Chemical Agents Regulations. The 2020 Code of Practice has been re-structured to support both the Chemical Agents and Carcinogens Regulations, as amended.

Schedule 1 now contains a list of all EU Commission derived Occupational Exposures Limit Values (OELVs) and includes new Binding OELVs from three recent amendments of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive.

Schedule 2 contains a list of Advisory OELVs derived from non-EU sources.

Schedule 3 lists intended changes, (including the 5th Indicative OELV list).

Schedule 4 lists carcinogenic substances, mixtures and processes and Schedule 5 contains the CAS number index.

Click here to download the Code of Practice 2020.




In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. All employees who work with chemicals must be provided with the necessary training and Safety Data Sheets provided and known to staff.


  • Check whether the necessary controls are in place
  • Identify and report where corrective actions need to be taken


Duties of the Employer

Under Section 8 of the Act the employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health the employer is required, among other things, to:

  • Provide and maintain a safe workplace which uses safe plant and equipment
  • Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
  • Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk
  • Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety
  • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees
  • Appointing a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer

The employer must ensure a safe working environment for their staff in the different work locations that cleaners may be involved in. The employer should have or provide the following:

  • An up to date Safety Statement.
  • A written Risk Assessment for all work locations where cleaning activities are involved.
  • SOPS (Safe Operating System) to manage all chemicals which are used in the cleaning process i.e maintaining a list or inventory of all chemicals used and disposing safely of un-used or expired chemicals.
  • A policy of purchasing less harmful chemicals where possible or replacing more harmful chemicals with less harmful ones.
  • Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals handled and a means of training staff on the hazards and precautions to take on handling and use of chemicals.
  • Information, instruction and training for staff on risk assessments.
  • Make available appropriate health surveillance where required.



Duties of the Employee

The duties of employees while at work are set out in Section 13 of the Act. These include the following:

  • To take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and of other people in the workplace
  • Not to engage in improper behaviour that will endanger themselves or others
  • Not to be under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace
  • To undergo any reasonable medical or other assessment if requested to do so by the employer
  • To report any defects in the place of work or equipment which might be a danger to health and safety


Employees should be familiar with the hazards in each workplace and the control measures to take to keep themselves safe. This is all contained in the Risk Assessment. Workers who handle cleaning chemicals should be familiar with the hazards of the chemicals and the precautions to take when handling them. This includes the use of any personal protective equipment. Employees should also be vigilant for any signs of dry skin, dermatitis or respiratory problems and report these to their employer as soon as possible.