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Our work

Enforcement activities of the UK REACH Competent Authority

The UK REACH Competent Authority (CA) has a number of responsibilities, one of which is to enforce the registration-related duties of REACH across the UK. You will find details of our enforcement activities below, along with what we are planning to do in the future.

The UK REACH CA enforces registration related duties within the wider framework of HSE's enforcement policy. 'Enforcement' is a broad term, and includes a variety of different approaches to securing compliance with the law and managing risks, which are HSE's overall enforcement aims. Enforcement can involve prosecution, but more usually it involves less forceful approaches. These include issuing enforcement notices to change behaviour, as well as approaches to help companies understand what their legal duties are and how they can be met.

You can find out more about enforcement notices served and prosecutions taken under REACH and the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 by visiting the enforcement section of HSE's website.

Current work

Forum enforcement project - REACH-EN-FORCE-1

REACH-EN-FORCE-1 is the first of a number of EU-wide REACH enforcement projects and began across Europe in May 2009. The UK is participating, along with the vast majority of the other Member States.

The project is designed to enforce the core principle of REACH: 'no data, no market'. Inspectors in the participating countries will check (through inspections) whether companies have a valid pre-registration or registration and, where appropriate, that adequate safety data sheets are compiled and provided.

The project originally ran to January 2010 but its success resulted in it being extended - it will now continue to April 2011.

Pre-registration enforcement campaign

The UK REACH CA launched a pre-registration enforcement project in December 2009. Pre-registration is voluntary, although only 'phase-in' substances may be pre-registered.

The majority of phase-in substances are those listed on EINECS, although REACH recognises the need to grant phase-in status to some other substances, such as those manufactured but not placed on the market, or those that are so-called 'no longer polymers'.

The UK REACH CA has identified a significant number of companies that have pre-registered substances not listed on EINECS and suspects that a number of these pre-registrations involve substances that do not qualify for phase-in status. This means that their continued manufacture, import and/or supply without full registration would contravene Article 5 of REACH ('no data, no market').

We are approaching the companies concerned, in order to assess whether they are compliant with the requirements of Article 5 of REACH.

Reactive work

The UK REACH CA has also established on-going reactive processes with a view to securing registration-related compliance. Our "REACH Compliance" contact point, separate to the UK REACH CA Helpdesk, caters for:

You can contact the REACH Compliance Team:

Future work

Targeted inspection campaigns

This year sees the launch of a series of substance-specific inspection campaigns. These campaigns will identify dutyholders on the basis of detailed intelligence on supply chain activity surrounding the substances subject to inspection. By comparing this intelligence to records of registration and pre-registration, we will be able to target and approach those dutyholders that appear to be in breach of the core requirements in REACH to register substances ('no data, no market'). In addition, this will present us with opportunities to assess compliance with other aspects of REACH.

Our first inspection campaigns will focus on the following substances:

Forum enforcement project on restrictions - PAHs in tyres

Restriction no. 50 in Annex XVII of REACH limits the amount of polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can be present within extender oils and tyres placed on the market after 1 January 2010. PAHs are a group of over 100 organic chemical substances, eight of which are carcinogenic. They are known to have impacts upon both the environment and human health.

At its May 2010 meeting, the Forum agreed a common enforcement project focusing on this restriction, with inspections commencing this summer. The UK, along with a significant number of other Member States, will participate.

Forum enforcement project - REACH-EN-FORCE-2

The Forum is preparing its second large-scale, EU-wide enforcement project. The project is currently being planned and its operational phase will commence in April 2011.

The project will target formulators of mixtures, as a natural continuation of the first EU-wide enforcement project REACH-EN-FORCE-1 (see above for details). Although the project is still being developed, it is likely to focus on downstream user obligations relating to compliance with REACH safety data sheet requirements and use-related duties.

Updated 2015-08-20