NCEC (National Chemical Emergency Centre)

Burden of regulatory matters also felt by experts

NCEC, the UK’s national response unit for chemical emergencies and part of energy and climate change consultancy, AEA, carried out a survey at SHE (Safety Health Expo) 2009, as well as among existing customers, asking H&S professionals key questions on regulatory matters.

Among the most significant results was the one on burden of regulatory matters, now felt by 79% of all respondents. Of these companies less than one third had made any additional financial provision for legislative compliance, despite acute awareness (also 79%) that non-compliance could be leading to heavy fines. Boris Salle, Director of Sales NCEC, comments: “It looks like further evidence that companies are trying to do more with less; whether greater regulatory compliance can be achieved at no additional cost, however minimal, remains to be seen”.

Perhaps also significant was the fact that while most organisations handling chemical products were aware and had implemented REACH, less than a third had considered the implications of GHS. Boris Salle adds: “Although some aspects of REACH and GHS go hand in hand, it’s worrying that only 33% of polled experts admit to understand GHS. Taking into account margin for errors and a slightly more realistic interpretation of the answer, this might lead to a scenario where only 2 out of 10 regulatory experts would feel comfortable with GHS – a very serious situation indeed.”

The National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) remains committed to provide unbiased support on compliance matters and has now launched a series of courses on GHS, backed by online resources, in an attempt to meet the needs highlighted by the survey.

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