Guide

Chemical manufacturing hazardous substance regulations

Classifying and labelling chemicals

The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (CHIP) regulate how chemicals must be classified, labelled and packaged. Certain products, for example medicines, food and cosmetics, are exempt from CHIP.

How you classify, label and package your chemicals is changing as the EC Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP) takes effect. CLP introduces the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

If you manufacture or supply chemical substances, products or mixtures, you must classify and label them according to CHIP before you put them on the market. Since 1 December 2010 you must also have been using CLP for some activities.

Classify your chemicals

You must determine whether chemicals or chemical products (eg paints or inks) you manufacture or supply are hazardous. This process is known as classification.

You must identify what kind of hazards your chemical or product has, including its physical and chemical properties, its effects on human health and what happens to it in the environment.

Under CHIP, chemical hazard classifications include:

  • explosive
  • oxidising
  • flammable
  • toxic
  • irritant
  • corrosive
  • dangerous for the environment

CLP covers a similar range of hazards although it introduces new hazard classes and categories.

Label your chemicals

If the chemicals or chemical products you manufacture or supply are classified as hazardous, you must tell users about the hazards and how they can use the chemical or product safely to help protect themselves and the environment.

You must package and label your chemical or chemical product with appropriate hazard warning labels. Find hazard warning information on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

Changes to how you classify and label chemicals

You must now use both CHIP and CLP to classify your substances, including chemical elements (eg arsenic) or compounds (eg acetone). You must label and package your substances according to CLP only.

You must classify, label and package your substances and mixtures or solutions (eg paints or inks) using CLP only by 1 June 2015.

Read guidance on classification and labelling under the CLP Regulation on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website.

Notify ECHA

If you are a chemical manufacturer or importer, you may need to notify ECHA if you place a hazardous substance on the market by itself or in a mixture no matter what the quantity.

Manufacturers and importers may also need to notify ECHA about substances which have to be registered under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.

You must notify ECHA within one month of placing a substance on the market - seeĀ chemical registration and notification for chemical manufacturers.

Use safety data sheets (SDS)

If you manufacture or supply chemicals or chemical products (as substances or mixtures) which contain hazardous substances, you may need to provide a SDS with your products. This must identify the chemical or chemical product's dangers, what precautionary measures to take and how to deal with emergencies.

Providing a SDS is now a requirement of the REACH Regulation. Download guidance on when to provide a SDS from the HSE website (PDF, 158K).

If you use chemicals or chemical products, you must make all staff aware of the SDS for any hazardous substance or mixtures that they handle, store or dispose of. If you receive a chemical without a SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one.