The legislation that gives effect to Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH), is the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008, SI 2852.
Local authorities now have a very limited role enforcing REACH where a Part A2 or B installation:
- manufactures a relevant chemical for its own-use, or to supply to others, or
- uses a relevant chemical at levels above specified thresholds.
The role has been given to authorities as a better regulation measure: to minimise the extent to which the Environment Agency also has a function at A2 and B-regulated installations.
In particular, there is no expectation that authorities will either
- identify A2 and B installations which manufacturer REACH chemicals, or users of >1 tonne of such chemicals, or
- check the data sheets of A2 and B installations for REACH-related information.
Notwithstanding the above, it is recognised that local authorities can have a valuable part to play in support of the Environment Agency, including obtaining information on high-risk sites and discussing action.
Operators of A2 or B installations ought to check with their chemicals suppliers to find out whether the chemicals they use are covered by REACH. The supplier ought to be able to supply either a pre-registration or registration number where this is the case. Once a chemical is registered, the registration number should appear on the safety data sheets.
If a Part A2 or B installation uses a chemical covered by REACH it is described as a “downstream user”. The main requirement on these users is to prepare a chemical safety report; but this is only needed if the installation uses 1 tonne or more of the chemical a year.
It is very unlikely that any A2 or B installation will manufacture any chemicals covered by REACH.
Several short guidance leaflets, tailored to different aspects of REACH, can be found on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.