According to a survey by the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, manufacturers are unaware how they are affected by the new EU laws governing hazardous chemicals, and are at risk of large fines or even prison sentences.
The survey showed that awareness of the implications of REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) regulations for chemical use, particularly among smaller companies, remains low.
Even where smaller companies are aware of REACH, half are not monitoring developments. This compares with 72% of large companies and 83% of medium-sized firms that say they are keeping up with the changes.
It found that 20% of companies still believe REACH is not applicable to them, while a further 30% claim it is not important to their business.
The findings support long-standing fears that companies have failed to recognise the full scope and significance of the REACH regulation in relation to their own use of certain substances, along with the misconception that it is limited to chemical companies.
The next major deadline for registration of chemicals is June 2013, which could result in certain substances being withdrawn from the market.
If you are unsure of how REACH affects your business and would like advice or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us.