EU Agencies Call for Action on Final REACH Deadline
EU agencies are urging occupational health and safety professionals to ensure that their employers are prepared to meet the final deadline under the EU’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). By May 31, 2018, companies that manufacture, import, or use chemicals in volumes between 1 and 100 tonnes per year in the EU, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein are required to register them with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Companies must also gather all available information about the properties of the substances and update associated safety data sheets. A leaflet published jointly by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and ECHA states that companies with substances to register by May 2018 should gather all available information about the properties of the substances and share information with other manufacturers and importers of the same substances. Companies should then determine if, as co-registrants, they have all information needed for registration. If not, companies should work together to fill in the gaps. Finally, the information should be documented in a registration dossier. According to the agencies, these requirements will benefit employers and workers by “enhancing the safe use of chemicals, reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals, and avoiding occupational diseases” caused by chemicals. For more information on REACH, visit the ECHA Web page on addressing chemicals of concern.