A major part of REACH is the requirement for manufacturers or importers of substances to register them with a central European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). A registration package will be supported by a standard set of data on that substance. The amount of data required is proportionate to the amount of substance manufactured or supplied.
If you do not register your substances, then the data on them will not be available and as a result, you will no longer be able to manufacture or supply them legally, i.e. no data, no market!
It is estimated that there are around 30,000 substances on the European Market in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year. Registering all of these at once would be a huge task for both industry and regulators. To overcome this, the registration of those substances already being manufactured or supplied is to take place in three phases. These phases are spread over 11 years:
To benefit from these phased-in deadlines manufacturers or importers need to pre-register their substances from 1st June to 1st December 2008.
Although pre-registration is not a formal legal requirement of REACH, it is strongly advised by the UK Competent Authority as without a pre-registration the registration duties apply immediately.
For more information on pre-registration see the 'what do I need to do?' page.
Registration is a requirement on industry (manufacturers/importers) to collect and collate specified sets of information on the properties of those substances they manufacture or supply at or above 1 tonne per year. This information is used to perform an assessment of the hazards and risks that a substance may pose and how those risks can be controlled. This information and its assessment is submitted to the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki. Further information on registration can be found on the ECHA website.
For further information on timing, see the when do I have to comply with REACH page.
This is the principle that for any one substance, a single set of information on its intrinsic properties is produced that is shared by all those companies that manufacture or supply that substance. Business specific (e.g. company name) and business sensitive (e.g. how it is used) information is submitted separately by each company. The Companies will work together to get an agreement on information sharing through a Substance Information Exchange Forum (SIEF). The details of how this information is shared is the responsibility of the businesses involved in the SIEF. A role for national authorities in this aspect of REACH is not foreseen.
Companies who submit joint registrations via a SIEF benefit from a reduced registration fee.