Better chemicals management

The Surface Engineering Association represents companies across the whole supply chain of the industry sector who contribute strongly to competitiveness, economic growth and jobs in the UK. Indeed, we manufacture and/or use substances which are often indispensable enablers for key technologies, such as advanced materials, innovative production technologies and biotechnology, necessary for major UK policies, including environmental and health objectives.

While REACH is rightly established as the regulatory pillar of EU chemicals management and has contributed to unrivalled data collection about the use and effects of substances, we believe that REACH Candidate Listing and Authorisation should not be considered as the preferred option when potential risks from a substance have found to be limited to the workplace and can be more effectively addressed by workplace-specific legislation. We would like to stress that Risk Management Option Assessments (RMOAs) are rightly aimed at identifying the best regulatory option to manage the risk “either in REACH […] or outside of REACH

In our view, workplace legislation:

• More holistically addresses potential risks at the workplace by also covering uses which are not in scope of REACH Authorisation;

• Prescribes the principle of substitution for hazardous substances; and

• Directs investment towards enhanced protection of workers, instead of allocating these resources to the preparation of complex applications and the payment of application fees – and is in this respect more cost-efficient than REACH Authorisation.


Adding REACH Authorisation on top of workplace legislation would not add any layer of protection for workers and would instead, inter alia have detrimental impacts on the competitiveness of production sites, Research and Development, the recycling sector, etc.

We would therefore like to call for a tailor-made and targeted use of REACH Authorisation for relevant substances. It should not be applied to cases where it would duplicate other existing legislation when that already offers a more effective and proportionate risk management option.

We propose that the European Commission and Member States:

i) recognise workplace legislation including EU-wide Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) as the most effective risk management option for substances where there is a need to address a risk limited to the workplace;

ii) review how to strengthen EU capacities for the swifter setting and/or review of EU-wide OELs;

iii) proceed to set EU-wide OELs for substances, where a risk is identified at the workplace; and

iv) ensure that in the described cases no additional and unnecessary regulatory measures (e.g. Candidate Listing, Authorisation) are applied, i.e.:

a. when the identified risk for all uses of a substance can be more effectively addressed by workplace legislation, the substance should not be included in the Candidate List5; and

b. when the identified risk for some uses of a substance can be more effectively addressed by workplace legislation, those uses should be exempted from REACH Authorisation pursuant to Article 58(2) of the REACH Regulation. 

Why the contribution is important

The REACH Regulation is a regulatory barrier to innovation as companies have to adopt a defensive R&D postion instread of focussing on developing and innovating new processes. This regulatory burden is also making the UK less competitive in the global marketplace.

by Davee on December 17, 2015 at 02:31PM

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