Classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals
UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information
As of 30 March 2019, all EU law will cease to apply to the UK, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, or the European Council and the UK decide unanimously to extend the two-year negotiation period. For more information about the legal repercussions for businesses:
If you supply any hazardous chemicals within the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway), you must abide by the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation. It complements the REACH Regulation and ensures that the hazards of chemicals are clearly communicated to workers and consumers through pictograms and standard statements on labels and safety data sheets.
The new system for classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) took effect on 1 June 2015. All businesses supplying hazardous chemicals anywhere within the European Economic Area (EEA) must comply.
If you are a newcomer to EU laws on chemicals, have a look at the Guide to chemical safety for small and medium-sized businesses. You should take account of the processes associated with REACH and of legislation on biocides and pesticides, if applicable, when planning CLP procedures.
Before placing chemical substances or mixtures of such substances on the market, you must
- establish any risk they may pose to human health and the environment and classify them according to the hazards you identify
- label and package hazardous chemicals using the standardised system set out in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation so that workers and consumers know about their effects before they handle them.
If you place a hazardous substance on the market (whether on its own or mixed with other substances), you must notifyits classification and labelling to the Classification and Labelling Inventory set up by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Notifications are free of charge must be completed within one month of placing the substance/mixture on the market for the first time. If you are an importer, the deadline is counted from the day when a substance (or mixture of substances) enters EU customs territory.
How to classify, label and package chemicals
Since June 2015 you must follow 2 rules:
- Classify, label and package chemical substances in line with the new CLP system and inform your users of the classification.
- Label and package mixtures of substances in line with the new CLP system only.
The deadline for relabelling and repacking mixtures already on the shelves before June 2015 is 1 June 2017.
How to comply with CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) Regulation
The CLP Regulation applies to a wide range of companies:
- importers & re-importers of substances or mixtures
- producers of specific articles
- formulators & distributors
Your obligations depend on your role in the supply chain.
- Identify your role and obligations under the regulation - you may have more than one role.
- Update your inventory of substances and mixtures (including substances contained in mixtures) and substances contained in articles.
- Check whether any of your substances are subject to harmonised classification at EU level.
- Familiarise yourself with the Guidance and IT tools available on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website.
- Check how other companies have notified the same substance in the C&L Inventory database.
The EU has incorporated the new worldwide rules (Globally Harmonised System - GHS) developed by the United Nations into the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation. The aim is to make global trading easier and help consumers.