REACH out to Chemical Safety; the Issue
SMALL business owners have just days to comply with one of Europe's most far-reaching pieces of legislation - or face substantial fines or even a prison sentence.
By December 1 firms must register hazardous substances they buy, sell or use under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations, which govern the manufacturing, importation and use of chemical substances.
If they fail to register by this date, they will be forced to stop manufacturing and importing chemicals until they have signed up.
Some smaller downstream users of chemicals have not registered because they believe - wrongly - that they are unaffected by the scope of the laws, which also target large chemical producers.
The North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) has recruited REACH ambassador Phil Hollowood to help local firms comply with the law.
About 200 North-east businesses have benefited from the service, but there are fears many others could be caught out.
REACH was introduced to control the production and movement of hazardous substances and simplify widely varying regulation across EU member states.
To date, 30,000 companies across the EU have pre-registered 1.36 million substances.
NEPIC's Phil Hollowood says a lack of compliance could potentially disrupt business throughout the supply chain. …