EU chemicals legislation – Chemical safety in your business

ChemicalsMost companies use chemicals in one way or another. They are essential for our way of life and our economy, but they have to be managed safely so as to protect human health and the environment.

Equal standards for the manufacturing, supply and safe use of chemicals apply across the entire European Economic Area (EEA) to companies regardless of their position in the supply chain or the products they manufacture, import, export, supply or use.

The legislation:

  • Covers all sectors manufacturing, importing, distributing or using chemicals as raw materials or finished products (not only the chemical industry)
  • Applies to you regardless of your company size
  • Makes you responsible for the safe use of the substances you place on the market or use
  • Requires every actor in the supply chain to communicate information on the safe use of chemicals
  • Gives consumers the right to ask about substances of very high concern contained in your articles

What you have to do depends on the type of products you place on the market or use:

  • Substances on their own, including metals
  • Mixtures, or
  • Articles

A single company may have more than one role and should identify roles in the supply chain for each product.  The following simple questions may assist in defining roles:

  1. Do you make substances?
  2. Do you buy chemicals, raw materials or finished products from outside the EEA?
  3. Do you represent a non-EEA company selling chemicals and/or goods to the EEA?
  4. Do you store and distribute chemicals and/or finished products?
  5. Do you mix chemicals and use them in your industrial or professional activities?
  6. Is your company based outside the EEA?
  7. Do you trade very hazardous chemicals internationally?