Product safety law

Packaging safety rules

Guide

Packaging includes all products used to contain, protect, handle, deliver or present goods. It includes returnable and non-returnable items such as boxes, pallets, labels, containers, tubes, bags, sacks, timber, glass, metals, plastics and ceramics. It can also include tape, wrapping, binding and tying materials.

You should check that your packaging is designed with safety in mind. The packaging should protect your product in transit and protect your customer from potential injury.

By opting to use a safety-led choice of packaging, your business will benefit from meeting legal demands, saving money and promoting an efficient image to suppliers and customers.

Packaging Safety rules 

The labelling and packaging of hazardous/dangerous chemicals is governed by:

  • the EU-wide Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures Regulation (CLP) 
  • Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) (Northern Ireland) 2003 (CHIP (NI))

Suppliers must:

  • identify the hazards of the chemical
  • give information to their customers about the hazards/dangers, usually on the package itself (such as a label) and provide a safety data sheet (SDS) if the chemicals are to be used at work (provision of an SDS comes under the EU-wide Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals Regulation - REACH)
  • package the chemical safely

The CHIP Regulations were amended to bring them into line with the EU-wide CLP and REACH regulations. The eventual aim is to have a globally harmonised system for the classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals. Once the CLP requirements for mixtures apply, it is anticipated that the CHIP regulations will be repealed.

You must take further action if you want to transport dangerous goods. Read more about how to move goods by road.

Food packaging and labelling is strictly controlled to protect consumers and provide traceability.

You must keep your use of packaging to a minimum, avoid the use of heavy metals and enable packaging to be recovered. If your business handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging in a year and has a turnover of more than £2 million, you must recover and recycle set amounts of packaging. Read more about packaging and packaging waste management.