The Safety Data System

Helping to make your working environment a safer place.

This unique Safety Data System was developed by Express Cleaning Supplies for the European Health and Safety week. The aim was to help new and existing customers develop an easy solution to the management of hazardous products under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations.

"..presented by the Health and Safety Commission in recognition of your valued contributiion to the European Week of Health and Safety"


An introduction to COSHH

Essentially, the COSHH regulations exist to protect employees from risks associated with 'hazardous' substances at work. These substances often include common cleaning chemicals such as bleach, multi purpose cleaners and aerosols, where there may be a risk of damage to health . These risks can vary from mild skin irritations and burns through to very serious corrosive and toxic effects.

Thankfully cases that involve hospital treatment are few and far between, but occasionally they DO happen, and often with the most common and innocent of cleaning products. For example, mix any bleach based product (a humble bottle of Vortex perhaps), often used to sanitise toilets and any acid based product (Toilet Duck is another household name) used to descale toilets and the results can potentially be fatal (with the release of chlorine gas), especially when used in confined spaces such as toilet cubicles.

While many users have attempted to source unclassified products to ease the Health and Safety related issues it is a fact that many cleaning tasks require classified products. Take for example, oven cleaners. Any product that effectively cuts through burnt on fat and grease is likely to be irritant to the skin and therefore classified under COSHH regulations.

Since 1994 these COSHH regulations have required that suppliers such as ourselves provide Safety Data Sheets (often referred to as COSHH sheets) whenever we supply a product that is classified as hazardous. These sheets contain detailed information on each product including chemical composition, transport storage and handling precautions, health and safety information, flash points, specific weights etc.

It is then the employer's responsibility to carry out a risk assessment for each product from the information within these SDS sheets. This involves 'assessing workers health risks and determining ways to remove or reduce them'. It may be as straightforward as recommending that staff wear rubber gloves when using a particular product or limiting the frequency of use. Once this has been done the employer is then required to:

'Inform, instruct and train workers in the nature and degree of the hazard, and the precautions to take to protect themselves and others'.

Our experience showed that in the majority of cases it wasn't so much the assessment itself but rather making the information available to the users that was the problem. In an industry where there is traditionally a high turnover of staff, we discovered that often these assessments were never enforced and once stored in a filing cabinet were often of no practical benefit to the very staff that were exposed to the potential risk.

After consulting many customers both large and small it became apparent that there was a need for a system that a) made it easier for companies to comply with the COSHH regulations b) provided a real benefit to staff c) was easy to keep up to date and enforce and d) was more than just a mass-produced sales aid offered by many manufacturers.

How the 'Safety Data System' works:

Each Safety Data System is individually prepared to each customers range of products in use and is made up of 2 components. An A3 laminated wallchart and an A4 wall mounted reference guide both located in an appropriate position such as a central chemical storeroom:

The wallchart lists a seperate Safety Data Record for every chemical product in use (whether classified or not) and general Health and Safety recomendations.

Each record listed on the wallchart contains product name and description, any related COSHH classified hazard and warning box, immediate first aid procedures for skin contact, eye contact, ingestion and inhalation and an SDS number. The record provides an instant at-a-glance reference for each chemical in use. Should any incident occur, your staff will know this is the first point of reference.

The records are listed in SDS number order and directly refer to the relevant safety data sheet and risk assessment (if applicable) for that particular product, also listed numerically within the A4 guide. 

This gives a simple 2 step approach should any member of staff, visitor or resident be unfortunate enough to have an accident with any product. Step 1 provides quick access to immediate first aid procedures and step 2 offers the detailed information within the safety data sheet and corresponding risk assessment needed to comply with the COSHH regulations.

Features of the Safety Data System

  • Unique system for each customer, not a mass produced sales aid
  • Unitised design allows any number of products to be listed.
  • Covers all chemical products within our range, regardless of manufacturer.
  • Easily updated should products in use change.
  • Includes all cleaning chemicals whether COSHH Classified or not
  • Easy to install - prepared by us (except risk assessments)
  • Ideal for multi site customers - systems are easy to duplicate
  • Can be easily integrated in to existing Health and Safety Policy
  • Simple to enforce with staff ticksheet
  • Provides immediate first aid procedures for every product in use
  • Gives staff easy access to risk assessments and data sheets
  • Helps you to comply with COSHH regulations
  • PROTECTS YOUR STAFF - Healthy staff are productive staff!


Pricing is dependent on the number of products in use and the number of systems ordered:

No of systems: Up to 14 products: Up to 28 products: Over 28 products:
1 system £35.00 per system £40.00 per system £ P.O.A
2 - 5 systems £25.00 per system £30.00 per system £ P.O.A
6 - 25 systems £20.00 per system £25.00 per system £ P.O.A
25+ systems £ P.O.A £ P.O.A £ P.O.A
 Prices include free updates for 12 months

PLEASE NOTE: It is the customer's responsibility to carry out individual risk assessments

No liability is accepted for any loss, damage, injury or non compliance of any Health and Safety recommendations arising directly or indirectly from the use of the Company’s products, or from the use of the information given in its publications, neither is any warranty given or implied of freedom from patent rights. Prospective users should therefore satisfy themselves by appropriate trials and research that the product to be used is suitable for the intended use and that such use will not infringe any patent nor contravene any duty you have under the recommendations of the Health and Safety Executive.

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