Last reviewed 12 March 2014

The HSE has published Myth Case 257 following an enquiry from an employee who was told that due to the COSHH Regulations, they could not leave hand wash materials they purchased themselves in the toilets and could not use any of their own cleaning materials.

The HSE panel decision, while noting that it was commendable that the company considered possible risks their employees could be exposed to at work, concluded that this was a risk-averse and somewhat misguided interpretation of the COSHH requirements.

However, our Consultant Editor has pointed out that the HSE statement: “Products like hand wash are very unlikely to contain substances which are hazardous to health” is not correct. Hand wash products often contain dangerous substances, such as sodium hydroxide and limonene, but these are at such low concentrations that the mixture (ie the hand wash) is not hazardous to health, and therefore is not subject to COSHH.