Hazard Symbols are changing….
You may have noticed some hazard symbols have changed on your cleaning chemicals either at work or at home. I thought it might be useful to note down a few key points as to why the changes are happening and the intended aims behind it.
As of 1st June 2015 the old CHIP regulation (Chemicals, Hazard Information and Packaging for supply) is replaced by the CLP Legislation (Classification, Labelling & Packaging of substances and mixtures regulations EC no 1272/2008.) Manufacturers of product cannot dispatch old Hazard symbols after 1st June 2015, Distributors have 2 years (to 1st June 2017) to allow for movement of stock so it is likely as a user you will see this being gradual.
The aims of this are to make labelling and hazard identification Data of a universal standard globally and to raise awareness of the risks when handling hazardous chemicals especially biocides and concentrated chemicals along with perfumes and preservatives.
So what changes?
The hazard symbol on products will change and a lot more products will be classed as hazardous as the way chemicals are classified has changed. Where previously chemicals were classified by the single most harmful ingredient they contained they are now measured by the ‘cocktail’ of all ingredients, thus ‘lowering the bar’ on a lot of products. This lower threshold means that it is likely your cleaning chemical formulation will not have changed but the product will now carry a hazard symbol and warning.
A lot of this is to reduce instances of eye irritation and raise awareness with users that the products being handled have a risk of causing damage to the skin and eyes. One may well ask why don’t Lemons carry a warning symbol and the local barman be required to don safety glasses before he slices one for your Gin and tonic! The answer to this is that foods and cosmetics are outside the legislation, it only applies to cleaning chemicals.
Another change that will be noticeable is that all biocides will carry a dangerous to the environment symbol. This is to prevent large quantities of concentrated sanitiser being washed into drainage systems or rivers for example in the event of a Road Traffic incident; this would be harmful to aquatic life. It is worth realising that the legislation has to cover the entire life of the product from it leaves the factory in bulk shipments until it reaches the cleaners store for use. Once diluted and used correctly these products will have no detrimental effect. Beware of concentrated biocides that do not carry the symbol as they are unlikely to be effective and certainly won’t pass the likes of BS1276 or EN1040 standard.
What do I need to do?
Risk assessments need to be redone as the hazards have changed. This must be done by the business using the products as the law states you must know and understand he risks from using chemicals and manage that risk. Suppliers of chemicals can offer advice but if your generous supplier offers to complete your risk assessment for you don’t accept it as you won’t be covered if there is an incident. Risks assessments can be undertaken by a member of staff/management/ownership OR a paid consultant/adviser with no commercial interest.
Safety Data sheets should be reissued by your supplier of chemicals, there will be new SDS sheets to match the new labelling, note that new product and old SDS or vice-versa cannot be mixed!
This is a very brief outline of some of the key points, your chemical supplier should be aware of the changes and how they will affect you as a user. The simplified legislative document is 800 pages long! At Cleancare we are committed to assist our customers as much as possible with the effects of CLP, should you have any queries whatever regardless of whether you’re a customer or not please be free to drop me a line.