REACH will impact most businesses in the UK in some way. It is important to understand what your role is in REACH, and what you can do now to be sure you are ready. If you import/manufacture substances at 1 tonne or more per year, you will have additional registration duties to consider.
If your company is new to REACH, it is important that you build an inventory of every chemical that comes into, is part of, or goes out of the business - what feedstocks, intermediates (isolated or otherwise), and products are used or created?
You need to know all the substances you use; for mixtures you need to find out what the ingredients are. Keep a record of each one, and include essential information for example the name of the chemical and the percentage in any preparations. You can use this information to determine the tonnage per year. If you obtain your substances from another EU based company, you could contact them to check that they have fulfilled any registration duties appropriate to them.
Additionally you need to know whether you produce or import articles. If you do, establish if any substance (which is intended to be released under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use) is present in these articles in quantities totalling over 1 tonne. An example of an article that intentionally releases substances is a fragranced bin liner (which intentionally releases the substances that create the fragrance)
Once this inventory has been established, you can begin to understand what substances you rely on, and consider the impact on your business should REACH influence the supply (or for registrants, the production or import) of a substance. Consider contingencies, for example alternative supply, routes, chemicals or processes, or supporting suppliers in their REACH obligations, etc.
We have leaflets on articles and how to prepare an inventory on our bitesized advice page.
Every business making use of chemicals that aren't exempt from REACH needs to understand how valuable these substances are to them, and plan to make effective business decisions based on this knowledge. Consider the importance of each substance to your business. Ask yourself the following sorts of question:
Establish a relationship with your suppliers and any downstream users. You need to know how REACH is going to impact on your supply chain before you can decide what to do about it. Identify an appropriate person as the main REACH contact in your organisation and make them the focus for communications with suppliers and customers.