Report on the second part of the ECHA program published

The Second Enforcement Project-REACH-EN-FORCE 2 established by the ECHA Forum to verify the correct application of REACH and CLP Regulations is concluded.
The institution has been created under Art. 86 of the REACH Regulation and is constituted of Member States, highly expert on the subject of chemical legislation.
The principal aim of participants in the Forum is to organize and maintain contact with the relative Authorities of individual Member States, if necessary aided by experts in the sector.

The tasks of the group are listed in Art. 77 paragraph 4:
> Diffuse good habits.
> Highlight problems of Community interest.
> Propose, coordinate and promote harmonized application and inspection projects
> Coordinate exchange of inspectors
> Develop work instruments and methods for the use of local inspectors
> Prepare a procedure of computerized information exchange
> Act as go-between for the industry with particular attention to specific needs of SME (small and medium firms) and other stakeholders, including pertinent international Reach organizations.

This second series of inspections began in May 2012 and has involved 29 Member States. Over 1000 controls were carried out and about 7000 substances checked.
Some 86% of Firms inspected belong to the SME category (according to Recommendation 2003/361/EC) made up more or less equally of tiny, small and medium ones. The main purpose of this control stage was to verify whether initial users (in particular those formulating compounds) conform to the Reach Regulation and CLP but in actual fact over half turned out to cover other roles (for example producers, importers, distributors, exclusive representatives).

In this program inspectors were called upon to examine and evaluate compliance to the following articles of the Reach Regulation:
Art. 31 SDS: safety data sheets issued to downstream users
Art. 32 Information applicable in cases where SDS are not requested
Art. 34 Obligation to communicate up and down the chain of provenance
Art. 35 Possibility and clear access to information for workers
Art. 36 Dealing with obligation to retain information for at least 10 years of Art 37 (5) application of suitable steps to control risks identified.

As regards CLP Regulation controls have been focused on the following:
Art. 40 Producers and importers notifying ECHA of classification and labeling
Art. 49 Keeping information on file for 10 years after the last issue

Most checks showed one or more points listed above did not conform (67%). The following graph highlights the majority. The most significant data is perhaps that on standard of safety even if the inspectors themselves recognize a sharp improvement compared to previous years.

This inevitably points to an important conclusion: any chemical firm, small or large, definitely needs highly qualified personnel to deal with safety measures and everything connected with these (estimating risks, applying relative measures of prevention and protection, monitoring awareness of presence of chemical substances…).
What emerges, not only from these inspections, is that it is no longer possible to entrust this task to those working part-time or employed in other fields. The report published by ECHA clearly shows the need for growing awareness on the part of firms for more specialized staff, also because the responsibilities, both legal and administrative, have increased enormously.

The full report is available at

So now we are waiting for the third part of the inspection to begin, aimed at checking out importers, to be carried out in collaboration with Customs forces even if at present inspections follow the usual protocol.

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