Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and professional users of chemical substances must meet safety standards. Is your company established in the Netherlands or another EU country? You must meet the REACH requirements.
What is REACH?
REACH is the European regulation on chemicals. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals. Chemical substances may cause pollution or harm human health. For this reason the production, use, and selling of these substances is limited and strictly regulated. The REACH regulation requires companies among others to:
- collect, register, and provide information on the substances;
- classify the chemicals by hazard level;
- register chemicals;
- take safety measures.
It depends on the nature and use of the chemicals which requirements you must fulfil. This also depends on your business' role in the supply chain. Are you for instance a manufacturer or a professional user (downstream user)? The Dutch REACH and CLP Helpdesk’s infographic shows the obligations for the different (types of) companies. You can use the European Chemicals Agency ECHA's overview of roles to find out which steps you need to take.
Manufacturers and importers must register
Do you manufacture or import chemical substances into the European Union (EU)? You must register the properties of these chemicals with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). You only need to register if you manufacture or import at least 1,000 kilograms of these chemical substances per year. With your registration you specify among others the dangers of the substances, or the measures to minimise the risks.
Issuing and checking the safety data sheet (SDS)
When marketing chemicals, you must issue professional users with a safety data sheet (SDS), in Dutch this is called veiligheidsinformatieblad (VIB). In this SDS you provide information about the risks of the chemical for employees and the environment. The SDS must also set out the necessary measures to protect health, safety, and the environment. You can consult ECHA's information on safety data sheets to find out if your safety data sheet is up to standards.
Safe use of chemicals
Industrial users and professional users must apply the measures and precautions included in the SDS. They also need to inform their suppliers, for instance, if the SDS is not or no longer correct or complete. The responsibility for safe and healthy working procedures lies with the companies that use the chemicals.
Selling explosive substances
Do you sell explosives precursors (substances that can be used to manufacture explosives)? You may only sell these to private individuals who have the proper licence. Also, private individuals must have official documents for import, possession, or use of these substances. You have a duty to report any suspicious transaction, disappearance, or theft of these substances to the Suspicious Transactions of Chemicals Hotline (+31 (0)88 - 154 00 00).