ECHA releases guidance on REACH downstream chemical user safety assessments

10-Sep-2015

Suggestions on gathering information, performing a chemical safety assessment, documenting downstream user chemical safety reports and reporting

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has issued guidance to enable cleanroom managers and their suppliers to generate safety assessments of downstream usage of chemicals, as required by REACH.

The guidance makes suggestions on gathering information, including from different suppliers; performing a chemical safety assessment (regarding the environment and human health); documenting downstream user chemical safety reports; and reporting to customers and ECHA. There is guidance on characterising risk, including quantitative, semi-quantitative, qualitative and combine assessments.

The report also clarifies which users are exempt from making such reports, such as those using substances in quantities below one tonne per year; users of chemicals for research and development purposes; and those handling chemicals that have small proportions of hazardous and toxic elements.

An example of the level of detail required by ECHA is given. A case study report noted that:

  • Operators wear Tyvek suits.
  • Nitrile gloves and eye protection are available if any unintended contact is likely.
  • Good housekeeping practices are implemented.
  • There is regular inspection of workers’ skin as part of a site-wide health monitoring programme.
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The guidance also includes advice on generating exposure scenarios, exposure limit values and specifying risk management measures.