Last reviewed 30 April 2021

New and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs) for dangerous substances have for many years been published in EU directives before being transcribed into UK law by way of implementing regulations (usually amending the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002).

Now that the UK has left the EU, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stressed that the legal framework in Great Britain continues to ensure standards of protection for those working with hazardous substances.

It points out that the 2002 Regulations set out requirements to protect workers from health risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace and that WELs form part of those COSHH Regulations.

“HSE will continue to review and introduce new WELs,” it confirms, “and is developing a long-term delivery model for Great Britain.”

This model will include a review of scientific data, evidence and economic analysis. Independent expert advice will also be sought, and HSE emphasises that it will continue to consult with stakeholders on any new or revised limits to be introduced in England, Wales and Scotland.

“Whilst we embed our Great Britain approach,” HSE concludes, “we will continue to consider, and apply as appropriate, limits set under the EU regime that are significant to GB.”

EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits contains the latest list of WELs for use with the COSHH Regulations. L5, the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health is also available from the HSE website.