Safety Data Sheets face new levels of quality enforcement

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has announced Safety Data Sheet (SDS) compliance will be a key focus of their enforcement going forward after recent information suggests many are dangerously deficient, according to a new press release.   

Safety Data Sheets are a crucial way of communicating the risks posed when working with particularly risky chemicals. Despite this, many are regularly found to be substandard in information presented. To combat this issue, ECHA will begin higher levels of SDS scrutiny in 2023 to ensure better quality enforcement.  

Despite the obligation facing chemical manufacturers when it comes to effectively communicating the risks posed by certain substances, a huge portion of Safety Data Sheets are missing information. In 2019, the European Chemicals Agency reported that 44% of hazardous mixtures were not compliant with classification and labelling guidelines. To combat this issue, ECHA will begin the enforcement project in 2022, with inspections scheduled to commence in 2023. This greater level of enforcement and scrutiny when it comes to the Safety Data Sheets will supplement the SDS enforcement that already exists at a national level via member state competent authorities. 

In the report from 2019, ECHA worryingly discovered how almost a fifth of chemical mixtures were using an incorrect classification. This could lead to incorrect labelling, which in turn would lead to incorrect safe use advice and would put people handling the chemical at risk. As a consultancy firm within the industry, this is something Deenamic Ltd often notices. Our consultants frequently encounter this issue during our SDS review phase for various regulatory submissions. 

Starting an audit on Safety Data Sheet quality now can help your organistration prepare for a potential ECHA inspection. In order to elucidate whether your organization is in line with regulatory standards, a review of the SDSs in your product portfolio should be done sooner rather than later since the nature of obtaining critical information from the supply chain requires time and detailed professional review.

ECHA’s new project will expand the number of analytical methods recommended for checking compliance with REACH restrictions. The goal of this project is not only to create a higher standard of enforcement when it comes to Safety Data Sheets, but also to make it easier for companies to establish whether or not their Safety Data Sheets are compliant with the law.  

The most prevalent issues in Safety Data Sheets are incorrect layout and formatting of subheadings/text, misuse of hazard and precautionary statements & incorrect pictograms and toxicological information, according to our regulatory consultant Jennifer. She says expert judgement is necessary to correctly fill out a Safety Data Sheet and that it takes an experienced toxicologist to determine what information is correct. 

At Deenamic Ltd, we offer services in order to ensure your Safety Data Sheets are up to regulatory standards and promote a safe working environment. Our organization is able to review the ingredients within a substance, detect issues in SDSs when it comes to impurities and specification and take into account end uses and exposure for the mixture. Ultimately we can provide SDS review reports and when necessary author a new SDS to correct earlier issues of non-compliance. 

Safety Data Sheets are a core part of the industry and reforming your SDS creation process before new levels of enforcement come in next year allows you to stay ahead of the curve and at the top of the industry. Reach out to Deenamic Ltd at our email for a preliminary consultation or check out more at our website to see what services we provide. 

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