Are your safety data sheets compliant with classification and labelling obligations?

Are your safety data sheets compliant with classification and labelling obligations?
12 February 2020

Recently, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launched a project to tackle non-compliance in the classification and labelling of mixtures. This project was known as REF-6, referring to the six EU-wide enforcement forum projects.

It revealed that 44% of hazardous mixtures are not compliant with classification and labelling obligations.

The project considered the more common mixtures such as coatings, adhesives and sealants; and scrutinised exemptions from the classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) obligations. Exemptions from the CLP Regulation included, but were not limited to, harmonised classification, biocides and liquid laundry detergent capsules (LLDC). 

The data collated and checked by the REF-6 project consisted of 3,391 mixtures and inspected 1,620 companies. A breakdown of the main findings are shown in Figure 1. 

By analysing the data and conducting a thorough review of the main findings of the report, it is evident that the whole supply chain, including manufacturers and importers, must take responsibility  for ensuring that mixtures are correctly classified. This will minimise further errors in safety datasheets (SDS) and labelling and improve the information they provide. REF-6 also highlighted the importance of effective quality assurance (QA) procedures. This will mean that information flow through the supply chain is improved. 

The report  should be considered an invaluable source of information on the understanding of the CLP Regulation. It highlighted the need for biocide legislation to be reviewed and updated as the lack of knowledge around this legislation is leading to non-compliances with the CLP Regulation. 

The project also raised awareness on the variety of legal provisions under the CLP Regulation. Poison centres are a prime example of where correct implementation of the CLP Regulation is imperative. When a poison centre is contacted concerning an exposure to a mixture, it is crucial that it can provide accurate information on the constituents of that mixture and, subsequently, their damaging effects. Only then can appropriate advice be given to provide a remedy to the situation. This means having expert knowledge on how to classify mixtures and how to meet the regulatory obligations is required. Additionally, poison centres will be moving their notification system to a harmonised one and the deadline for notification of the consumer-use mixtures was recently extended to 1 January 2021. NCEC still believes that the best way to benefit from the transition period ending in January 2025 and to enable more time for the workability issues to be solved, is to do your notifications now. You can read more about what the consumer-use deadline extension could mean for your business here.

If you have any doubts on whether your SDSs are compliant, require help in checking against the ECHA lists, have any queries regarding poison centre notifications or have any regulatory compliance query in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us