REACH Regulation Needs Greater Awareness

REACH - Guidance for ManufacturersEEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has called on British firms to get up to speed on the European Regulation that restricts or bans the use of certain chemicals.

Under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) Regulation, British manufacturers could be fined for failing to comply or, in the worst case scenario, even imprisoned.

The failure so far to comply with REACH has apparently been down to the fact that many manufacturers are either unaware of the regulation or simply don’t believe that the rules apply to them and they are aimed at chemical companies.

The findings were the result of a survey conducted by EEF and, worryingly, it found that small business manufacturers were the least aware of the REACH Regulation.

The rules are seeing the gradual restriction and even bans on certain hazardous chemicals and require that far-reaching actions are taken.

Aimed at protecting human health and the environment, REACH requires that manufacturers, importers and users of hazardous chemicals are aware of the risks of the products they produce and use and that they inform those parties who are "downstream" in the supply chain.

The urgency of the matter is that companies can still use banned substances but in order to do so must inform the European Commission; that deadline is just one month away.

By June 2013 companies must register their use of chemicals and EEF is urging manufacturers,large and small, to be aware of and familiarise themselves with REACH.

EEF have stated that the cost of compliance with the regulation could be as much as €2billion with payments for continuing to use certain substances of between €50,000 and €200,000.

Failure to comply with REACH is actually a criminal offence and could result in unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison.

Gareth Stace, EEF Head of Climate & Environment, said of the EU rules:

“REACH continues to be the ‘Elephant in the Room’ for many companies who are either unaware of the implications or, still believe it is a chemicals only issue. In contrast the regulations have serious requirements for all manufacturers who are facing either the restricted use or banning altogether of some substances.”

“For many companies there is the very real risk of lost business if they are unable to advise their customers whether their products contain certain materials and, where they are, how their use is being monitored. Furthermore, if companies don’t plan for substance bans, it could prevent production entirely.”

Businesses needing further information should take a look at the EEF’s extensive coverage of the regulations at www.eef.org.uk/REACH where they can read a copy of EEF’s REACH – Guidance for Manufacturers.

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