The REACH and CLP Regulation have given rise to a rich source of information on chemicals and introduced new mechanisms for regulatory control of hazardous chemicals. Occupational health and hygiene practitioners (OHPs) can contribute to the regulatory decision making and can use the increased information and regulatory control to promote the safe use of chemicals in the workplace.
The registration element of REACH has received most attention to date and the final registration deadline under the REACH Regulation for chemical substances manufactured or imported into Europe is imminent, 31 st May 2018. The registration process generates an immense amount of information on the hazardous properties of substances and on how they can be used safely. Some of this information is provided with safety data sheets, such as DNELs (Derived No Effect Levels) and exposure scenarios. Much more information, including toxicological data, is available on the website of ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency.
REACH and the CLP Regulation provide for the regulatory control mechanisms of authorisation, restriction and harmonised classification and labelling. These mechanisms are intended to protect workers, consumers and the environment. OHPs can engage with these processes to ensure that decisions are made with reliable, up-to-date information on what is happening in the field. By knowing the regulatory status of chemicals used on site, OHPs can ensure regulatory compliance and promote the safe use of chemicals in their company.