The REACH Chemical Regulation and occupational safety and health

Photo: Blue barrels stacked on pallets

Drums for storage of chemical substances
Source: -

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) is the regulation underpinning chemicals legislation in the European Union (EU). REACH has harmonized EU legislation governing chemicals throughout Europe.

REACH was phased in from 1 June 2007 onwards. All pre-registration phases and transitional provisions expired on 1 June 2018.

The information compiled here is intended to provide an introductory overview of the current REACH provisions. For detailed, legally binding information, please consult the website of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

What does REACH mean?

REACH is intended to provide the best possible protection for human beings and the environment against harmful effects arising during the production and use of chemicals. It is based on the principle that before placing them on the market for the first time, manufacturers, importers and downstream users must prove that the chemicals they produce or distribute can be used safely.

Attainment of the objectives of the REACH Regulation is based on the following pillars:

  1. Registration
    In accordance with the principle of "no data – no market", you may manufacture chemical substances in the EU or import chemical substances into the EU in quantities of one ton per year or higher only if you have registered them beforehand with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. You must register substances in articles if they are to be released in quantities exceeding 1 t when used as intended.
  2. Evaluation
    A distinction is drawn between dossier evaluation and substance evaluation.
    • In the dossier evaluation (Compliance Check, CCH), ECHA checks the registration dossiers for completeness.
    • The substance evaluation is conducted by the relevant national authorities. The substances to be evaluated are set out by ECHA and the EU Member States in a joint action plan. The national authorities then check the registrations and chemical safety reports of the companies responsible. They check:
      • Whether additional information is required for assessment of the risks,
      • Whether the risk management measures described by the companies are appropriate,
      • Whether further regulatory measures for protection of the environment and health are required.
  3. Authorisation
    You apply for authorisation for use of a substance of very high concern (SVHC). The SVHCs for which authorisation is required are listed in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation.
  4. Restriction
    Under REACH, a restriction is a prohibition on the manufacture, marketing or use of substances that pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. All substances subject to restrictions are listed in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation.


Dr Caroline von Oppen

Exposure and Risk Assessment

Tel: +49 30 13001-3145
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001