Facts about substance registry


A substance registry is your company's electronic registry of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals used in your company. The registry must also contain information sheets for other harmful substances and hazardous biological material.


Why do you need a substance registry?

Employers in companies that manufacture, package, use or store hazardous chemicals in the EU are required to create a substance registry. The requirement for a substance registry arises as a result of employees being exposed to substances that can cause health hazards.

The main purpose of the substance registry is to reduce the risks associated with the use of chemicals and harmful substances, both for the health and safety of employees and the environment. Knowledge of chemicals makes it possible to work safely and preventively, so that the risk of injuries and negative environmental impact is reduced. A substance registry must be created before hazardous chemicals are used. All work involving exposure to hazardous chemicals must not be initiated until the necessary information about the chemicals (or contaminants) is obtained. If an accident happens, the substance registry is an important source of quick information on how the damage can be handled and restricted.


Design and updating of the substance registry

The most important basis in an updated substance registry is the correct information and safety data sheets that must accompany the products from the supplier. The routines must ensure that it's the latest version of the safety data sheets and information sheets for all substances in use within the business. To ensure this, the responsibility of the substance registry should be clarified. It is wise if a person or entity in the company is given the responsibility for the purchase of all chemicals, and ensure that information in the substance registry is updated at all times.

According to Article 31 of the REACH Regulation on "Requirements for Safety Data Sheets", the supplier shall update the information when there is substantial new knowledge. The updated edition must have the "Revision: (date)" and be delivered free of charge to anyone who has received these hazardous substances during the previous twelve months. The employer should establish routines for regular updating of the substance registry.

The safety data sheet and information sheet for chemicals that are no longer in use should be removed from the registry. The discontinued datasheets should be filed for themselves and kept in the event of any later professional injuries being discovered.


Use of the substance registry

The employer must use the information to map and assess health risks, implement necessary protective measures and / or prepare special work instructions and establish good work routines. The information in the safety data sheet and information sheet is indicative of which protective measures must be implemented in the workplace.

The safety data sheet contains information on composition, health hazards of each chemical, inherent properties such as physical and chemical properties, stability, reactivity and toxicological information. This is information that must be used in the risk assessment and in which safety measures that must be implemented. Safety Data Sheets contain specific information on measures for handling & storing chemicals, measures for accidental release of chemicals (spills), fire-fighting measures, and first aid measures


Access to the substance registry

The substance registry must be easily accessible so that employees and others at any time have access to the information on the dangerous chemicals they are involved with. Safety data sheets and information sheets for chemicals should be readily available at the workplaces they are used and where workers may be exposed them.

Students who come in contact with hazardous chemicals and biological material in tuition must have access to the school's substance registry.


Employee Training

In order for the information in the substance register to be used and understood, employees must be given training in the purpose of the substance registry and it's content and meaning. The training shall ensure that the employees who work with chemicals:
1) are able to find the information they need in the substance registry, know and understand the content of a safety data sheet and / or information sheet
2) use the information to prevent injuries in the workplace.