COSHH and Reach Work Together to Regulate Chemical Safety
Updated: May 4
We have already talked about COSHH, what it does for chemical safety and why it's imperative that we continue to follow and improve upon those regulations.
Today I want to talk about REACH and how it complements COSHH to further improve health and safety. Both COSHH and REACH call for risk assessments to be taken, just at different times and by different people.
COSHH would call for the employer to assess the risk when using chemicals in the workplace, whereas the REACH regulations call for the manufacturer or importer of said chemicals to carry out a risk assessment to transport those hazardous substances.
So, what exactly is REACH?
Reach, or the regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals, is a European Union regulation put into place in on the 1st of June 2007. It replaced several previous European Regulations and Directives with a single, more comprehensive system.
REACH was created to:
Provide a high level of protection for the health of mankind and our environment from the use and transport of hazardous substances,
Allow free movement of substances throughout the European market,
Ensure the manufacturers or importers of hazardous substances are held responsible for understanding and controlling the risks associated with the transport and storage of said chemicals,
Promote the use of alternative, safer methods for assessing hazardous properties in a substance,
Bring about innovation and competitiveness in the European chemicals market.
Do I need to do anything?
It's unlikely that the company you run, or work for, is not registered for REACH by now. It's been around for a lot of years, and 2018 was the deadline for businesses to have phased in and be totally compliant with REACH.
Registration of a hazardous substance is a requirement for manufacturers and importers and should be a collated package containing specified sets of information on the properties of a given substance that they supply or manufacture.
The information provided can then be used to perform a proper risk assessment of the hazards and risks that the hazardous substance poses, allowing you to decide on control measures to control the risk.
All of this information, including the risk assessment, is then submitted to the European Chemicals Agency.
This must be done for every hazardous chemical a business manufactures or imports.
Should I be using COSHH or REACH?
You should be using both!
As I said earlier, both COSHH and REACH aim to bring about greater safety when dealing with chemicals, but they go about it in different ways.
COSHH is meant to keep you and the workers safe when working with chemicals, and REACH is designed to keep people and the environment safe when importing and exporting large quantities of these hazardous substances.
If you're not sure whether you should be following COSHH or REACH, or you're not certain how to safely transport and store hazardous substances you can take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™.