Protecting workers through enforcement
EU Member States and EEA countries work together in an Enforcement Forum to make sure that companies comply with the EU chemicals legislation and help ensure worker safety. Inspectors may issue fines, warnings or written advice to companies that fail to meet their obligations.
Communicating safe use information is essential for building a culture of safety at the workplace. To make sure that all users of a hazardous chemical can use it safely, suppliers must communicate safety information to others in the supply chain.
Companies use safety data sheets to provide information to workers on how they can protect themselves when working with hazardous chemicals. The safety data sheet also contains information on what makes the chemical dangerous, i.e. the physical, health and environmental hazards of the substance.
The information needs to be reliable, complete and of high quality. Companies have a legal obligation to make sure that this information is accurate and up to date.
Regulatory enforcement – ensuring worker safety
The Forum for Enforcement is carrying out several enforcement projects. Some of them are directly related to worker safety such as the 2017 REF-5 project on checking how companies communicate safety information on hazardous chemicals to their customers and whether the customers implement the safety advice. 18 % of the inspected companies were non-compliant with at least one of the requirements checked.
During this project, enforcement authorities from 29 EU and EEA countries conducted 898 inspections for 1 435 chemical substances.
Inspectors from all over Europe dealing with REACH, occupational health and safety as well as the environment worked together in this project. In total, 296 infringements were reported and 665 enforcement measures were taken.
Visit the Enforcement Forum’s web pages to learn more about enforcement and to keep up to date with the Forum’s current and upcoming projects.
Who is responsible?
Employers, suppliers, authorities and Member States all have a role to play in making sure your workplace is safe from the dangers of harmful chemicals. Knowing what these responsibilities are and where to find more information, helps you to understand your rights as a worker.
Safety precautions and exposure
Safety data sheets and exposure scenarios help you to handle chemicals safely and protect yourself. Suppliers of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace need to provide this safety information and you can get it from your employer.