The Health and Safety Executive's REACH enforcement team has identified its first inspection targets.
It will trace ammonium dichromate and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) through the supply chain to identify companies that have not pre-registered or registered the substances as they should have under REACH (ENDS Report, May 2010). Substances that that have not been pre-registered or registered cannot legally be sold.
Ammonium dichromate is used mainly as a chemical reagent and intermediate in the production of pigments, catalysts and magnetic tapes, and in dyeing, according to the HSE. It is classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction (CMR) and is very toxic to aquatic organisms. MDI is used, among other things, to produce rigid polyurethane foams. It will be subject to restriction under REACH from 28 December.
The Environment Agency, which is also responsible for enforcing some aspects of REACH, already takes this substance-based approach (ENDS Report, May 2009).
The HSE is also part of a cross-European enforcement project called REACH-en-force which has chosen to focus this year on polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in extender oils and tyres. These are also restricted under REACH. The forum’s first project found a quarter of firms were failing to comply with REACH (ENDS Report, June 2010).
Most of the HSE's early enforcement activity has been reactive, responding to complaints from other companies. It has also run a project identifying substances that have been pre-registered when they may not have been eligible (ENDS Report, February 2010).
The HSE has a REACH compliance contact point, separate from its REACH helpdesk, to handle complaints about other firms, self-referrals from companies that think they are in breach, and referrals from other enforcing agencies in the UK and EU.