If you are working with chemicals, and especially if you are working with quantities over 1 tonne and purchasing from an EU company (or a company based outside Great Britain) it is vital that you are aware of the obligations under REACH and the impact of the transition to UK REACH.
The GGF has been raising awareness regarding UK REACH for a few months now with little feedback however it has come to our attention that there are significant business risks that a lot of members may not be aware of, therefore we have produced this short guide for members to review and if applicable we advise you to act immediately.
What is UK REACH?
The EU REACH Regulation was brought into UK law on 1 January 2021 and this regulation is now in operation; it is known as UK REACH. This was triggered by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the EU legislation has been replicated in the UK with the necessary changes to make it operable in a domestic context. The key principles of the EU REACH Regulation have been retained. UK REACH maintains EU REACH’s aims and principles. These include:
To provide a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the use of chemicals.
the ‘no data, no market’ principle
the ‘last resort’ principle on animal testing
access to information for workers
the precautionary principle
UK REACH and the EU REACH regulations operate independently from each other. Companies that are supplying and purchasing substances, mixtures, or articles to and from the EU/EEA/Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) will need to ensure that the relevant duties are met under both pieces of legislation.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol the EU REACH Regulation continues to apply to Northern Ireland, while UK REACH provides the regulatory framework for chemicals in GB.
Who is UK REACH applicable to?
Businesses that manufacture or import (from outside GB) 1 tonne or more of any given substance each year are responsible for ‘registering’ that substance with ‘The Agency’ which is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Downstream users of adhesives or sealants who purchase these ‘mixtures of chemicals’ in large enough quantities to exceed the 1T per annum individual substance limit from a non-GB supplier will assume these UK REACH obligations for the chemical substances in the mixtures they are purchasing (unless that non-GB supplier has appointed a UK legal entity to take care of the UK REACH obligations).
Registration involves submitting a dossier of information about the substance and its uses to the HSE. Substances in mixtures will also require registration and substances in articles may also require registration (if these substances are intended to be released during use).
Manufacturers: produce or extract a substance either through chemical synthesis, smelting or extraction. They are required to hold a valid registration for these substances under UK REACH.
Importers: bring chemical substances into GB from either the EU/EEA or NI or from the rest of the world. They have responsibilities to hold registrations for these substances unless their non-GB suppliers, where applicable, have appointed an Only Representative to take on the duties on behalf of the GB importers
Downstream users: are companies or individual workers who directly handle chemical substances in the course of their business activities and are not themselves the GB-based manufacturer or importer of the substances. Some businesses who were classed as downstream users under EU REACH may find that they are classed as importers under UK REACH if they are sourcing substances directly from the EU/EEA. This will mean they may have new registration
Importers under UK REACH who were downstream users under EU REACH: GB downstream users (who before the end of the transition period imported chemicals from EU/EEA and relied on an EU REACH registration held further up the supply chain) will become importers under UK REACH. They must ensure that the substances they import are covered by a valid UK REACH registration.
Downstream User Notification
If you are any of the following you will need to submit a Downstream User Notification before the 28th October 2021 deadline (this is within 300 days after the end of the 1st January 2021 transition period) enabling you to defer your UK REACH registration for up to 6 years plus 300 days. This would apply to members that are;
GB-based legal entities that were importing substances and mixtures into GB from the EU and intend to continue after the end of the transition period. Or;
GB-based legal entities that were importing substances and mixtures into GB from outside of the EU, under an OR agreement held by an EU-based entity and intend to continue post-TP.
Manufacturers, formulators, and article producers based outside of GB that wish to appoint a GB-based OR (after the end of the transition period) to notify on behalf of their GB-based importers.
If you were not previously a registrant, downstream user or distributor under EU REACH, and you wish to import chemicals into GB for the first time, you will be required to submit a new registration under UK REACH.
How to register chemicals
You can register and manage your chemicals on the “Comply with UK REACH” system, CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE for guidance on the Fees and Charges
Registration Deadlines as they currently stand. For full guidance CLICK HERE
Below we have provided a flowchart to help guide you through the process however if you are purchasing chemicals from a company that is based outside of Great Britain you must immediately engage with your provider and ask them what they are doing regarding UK REACH.