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Implementation of the chemicals regulation REACH: Exploring the impact on occupational health and safety management among Swedish downstream users
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy. Karolinska Institute, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3799-4814
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering. IVL - Swedish Environment Research Institute, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4185-8113
2015 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, E-ISSN 1879-1042, Vol. 80, 233-242 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present study we have examined how the European chemicals regulation Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has influenced occupational risk management of chemicals at Swedish downstream user companies. The data were collected through interviews with occupational health and safety professionals, safety representatives and authority employees. The results show that most of the informants had scarce knowledge about REACH and that REACH implementation has not had any major impacts on downstream users’ occupational risk management, but the impacts the regulation has had were perceived as positive. For instance, clear substance identification and increased hazard information were appreciated improvements of safety data sheets (SDS). However, with regards to identifying how to safely use a substance or product neither the SDSs nor the attached exposure scenarios were perceived as sufficient. REACH was not perceived as a major driver for substitution but has had some impact on substitution, either by requiring it for certain substances as through the authorisation procedure or facilitating the identification of relevant substances to substitute as more information on hazards has become available. The obstacles to REACH implementation are similar to those of occupational health and safety legislation; lack of awareness, understanding and/or incentives to take action. Especially smaller companies with their limited resources lag behind. Reaching the full potential of REACH requires more work on motivating and supporting downstream users to fulfil their REACH obligations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 80, 233-242 p.
Keyword [en]
REACH, Occupational health and safety, Policy implementation, Safety data sheets, Exposure scenario
National Category
Work Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172655DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2015.08.001ISI: 000361920600024ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84939791473OAI: diva2:849084
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

QC 20150901

Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2015-10-27Bibliographically approved

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