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COSHH Essentials E-tool

This link will take you to the UK Health and Safety Executive’s COSHH Essentials E-tool.

This tool provides advice to workplaces on how to control exposure to hazardous substances for a range of common workplace tasks and chemicals. The E-tool will take you through an assessment based on your tasks and chemicals, and give you advice specific to your workplace. The E-tool assessment will take several minutes to complete. Since the tool is UK based it is important to read the points below before you use the tool for New Zealand workplaces.

For some industries the E-tool will provide ‘direct advice sheets’ about how to manage exposure in that industry. For example, direct advice sheets are available for silica exposure in construction. See below for the full list.


New Zealand workplaces must be aware of the following before using the COSHH Essentials E-tool:

  • COSHH regulations. This tool is based on compliance with the UK Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH) 2002. New Zealand workplaces are not required to comply with the COSHH regulations. However, the advice provided may be considered reasonably practicable ways to minimise the risk of occupational illness or injury occurring, due to exposure to substances hazardous to health.
  • Direct advice sheets. First check the direct advice sheets listed by industry to see if any are relevant for tasks or processes in your industry. If your industry is not listed you can still use the E-tool assessment to identify appropriate control advice. The direct advice sheets are available here and they include exposure control advice for: Agriculture (Farming), Flour (Bakers and millers), Metalworking fluids, Microelectronics, Motor Vehicle Repair, Offshore, Printing, Rubber, Service and Retail, Welding, Woodworking, Silica (including Brick and Tile, Ceramics, Construction, Foundry, Manufacturing, Quarries, Stoneworkers, Slate works).
  • Frequently asked questions. For FAQs on using the tool go here
  • HSNO classifications and H-statements. The tool uses ‘H-statements’ to identify the health risks of the substances concerned. An H-statement is a phrase describing the health hazards, and each statement has a corresponding H-number. On New Zealand safety data sheets the H-number is not always present, though H-statements should be present. If your SDS doesn’t show H-numbers, use Table 1 below to convert from either the HSNO classifications to H-numbers, or the H-statements to H-numbers. You may have multiple H-numbers for your substance. If the substance has no HSNO classification eg wood dust or welding fume, select Unclassified in step 6 of the tool.
  • Confined spaces. If working in, or entering confined spaces
  • HSNO controls. Toxic, flammable or corrosive substances are subject to specific HSNO controls. Please see the following for guidance.
  • Advice or expert help. If you are not confident using the tool, or confident determining appropriate exposure controls, or if the tool advises you seek specialist advice, you should contact a competent consultant via; or search the yellow pages.
  • Disclaimer. WorkSafe New Zealand is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. For further information see our disclaimer


Look on your safety data sheet for the HSNO classifications. Using the table below, write down all the corresponding H statements (H-numbers) for your HSNO classifications. Use the H statements in the E-tool.

Table 1: HSNO classification and equivalent H-number

6.1A oral or 6.1B oral H300 Fatal if swallowed
6.1C oral H301 Toxic if swallowed
6.1D oral H302 Harmful if swallowed
6.1E aspiration hazard H304 May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways
6.1A dermal H310 Fatal in contact with skin
6.1B dermal or 6.1C dermal H311 Toxic in contact with skin
6.1D dermal H312 Harmful in contact with skin
6.1A inhalation or 6.1B inhalation H330 Fatal if inhaled
6.1C inhalation H331 Toxic if inhaled
6.1D inhalation H332 Harmful if inhaled
6.1E H335 May cause respiratory irritation
6.3A or 6.3B H315 Causes skin irritation
6.4A H319 Causes serious eye irritation
6.5A H334 May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled
6.5B H317 May cause an allergic skin reaction
6.6A H340 May cause genetic defects
6.6B H341 Suspected of causing genetic defects
6.7A H350 May cause cancer
6.7B H351 Suspected of causing cancer
6.8A H360 May damage fertility or the unborn child
6.8B H361 Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child
6.8C H362 May cause harm to breast-fed children
6.9A single exposure H370 Causes damage to organs
6.9A repeated exposure H372 Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
6.9B single exposure H371 May cause damage to organs
6.9B repeated exposure H373 May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
8.2A or 8.2B or 8.2C H314 Causes severe burns and eye damage
8.3A H318 Causes serious eye damage


The COSHH Essentials e-tool can be found at:

Last updated 31 August 2016


On Monday 4 April 2016, the New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect.

HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with immediate effect.

All references to the 1992 Act on this website and within our guidance will be progressively removed.