Purchasing

Follow the REACH requirements and best safety practices when purchasing chemicals:

1. Registration number

  • Ensure that the substances you purchase are registered under REACH (registration number assigned according to Article 20(3) of regulation).

Try to find this information in Safety Data Sheets (SDS). It should be indicated in Section1. If SDS does not give information about registration, then ask your suppliers about the REACH registration status or find it on ECHA's website. Registered substances are listed on ECHA's website. You can also see who has registered them. It is a responsibility of a manufacturer or an importer to register those chemical substances.

2. Safety data sheet

  •     Ensure that a manufacturer or a supplier provides Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical you purchase (it is required by law, except for few cases).

A hard copy of SDS may be provided but it is more common that  suppliers maintain an online version of it in a database.  If an online system is used, all concerned workers have to know how to use it.  Ensure that the SDS or information about hazards and safe handling is accessible for workers who may be exposed to hazardous substances.

  • Review SDS before purchasing

Check if the chemicals have specific storage requirements, (e.g. temperature-sensitivity requiring an explosion-proof refrigerator, specific shelf-life or expiration date) or usage (e.g. strict requirements to use a substance in closed systems) requirements..

3. Regulated chemicals

  • Check whether there are restriction on use of the chemical you acquire

If any restriction applies you may only continue to use the chemical when you comply with conditions of the restriction. Suppliers must include information on whether a substance they supply is a subject to a restriction in Section 15 of the safety data sheet. The Annex XVII of REACH regulation contains a list of restrictions of hazardous substances, mixtures and articles for their marketing and use on the European market.

Annex XIV of REACH is a list of substances subject that have to be authorised (Authorisation List). If you use a substance that is on the Authorisation List, you should try to substitute it with a safer alternative.

  • Check whether your intended use needs authorisation

In the case your substance is in the authorisation list check that your uses are covered with the authorisation decision. Otherwise you need to ensure that the necessary authorisation has been sought prior to ordering the chemical. Finding a safer substitute can be a challenging task – the SUBSPORT web portal with information on alternative substances and technologies could help.

4. Minimize chemical use

  • Purchase only the amount you need

Purchasing and using less chemicals means you generate smaller volumes of chemical waste. Think sustainably!  Order only what you expect to use in one year or the smallest container available. Buy only what can be safely stored in a space you have separated. This includes checking that there is sufficient space to properly segregate and store the chemicals. 

5. Use less toxic or less hazardous alternatives if you can

  • Find a safer alternative that could possibly be used

Investigate other chemicals, methods and procedures that may not require the use of a hazardous substance.

6. Chemical inventory

Chemical inventory containing information of all hazardous chemicals used and storaged in the company must be maintained and available. It should at least include information of the name and volume of the substance, but also its location.