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There are some substances that in small doses will not cause any harm but over set levels they are deemed to exceed the maximum recommended amount a person can be exposed to. These limits are called workplace exposure limits. Having these limits avoids too much being breathed in, absorbed through the skin, swallowed or being directly put on the skin. 

The limits refer to substances that can cause immediate short term and long-term illnesses. A risk assessment is carried out to assess the limits and how they affect employees, but best practice is not expose people to the maximum limits. Companies should do all they can to remove all risks and exposure. 

Employers must prevent or control exposure to hazardous substances under the COSHH regulations to avoid exceeding workplace exposure limits. Companies should introduce control measures anywhere their employees are at risk.  All planning in relation to workplace expose limits must be recorded on the data sheets and risk assessments. 

Finally, workplace expose limits in most cases will also apply to the self-employed or contractors working in a business as the company is responsible for them under the health and safety act.