The purpose of the REACH (Registration, Evalution and Authorisation of CHemicals) European directive is to reduce health risks associated with the use of chemical substances. It requires firms to register information on the safety of substances and to replace hazardous ones, if necessary.
Firms that produce or import more than one tonne of chemicals a year are encouraged to pre-register these substances by 1st December 2008.
The purpose of pre-registration is to help firms identify and contact other firms that are planning to register the same chemical substance and allow them to set up a forum for the exchange of information.
Firms are allowed up until 1st December 2010 for final registration and authorisation to market all the chemicals produced or imported in quantities of 1,000 tonnes per year and over, and up until 1st June 2018 for chemicals produced or imported in lower quantities. All firms based in the European Union that manufacture or import chemicals are required to pre-register if they handle one or more tonnes a year of chemicals.
Firms that do not produce chemicals, but purchase them to convert them into products, are considered an active part of the supply chain and are required to conduct a survey of all their products and suppliers, in order of importance, make sure their suppliers are aware of this requirement and obtain documentary evidence of how they became aware of, implement and will continue to implement the REACH directive.
Metal Work falls into the latter category, so it has completed the necessary formalities and concluded the survey, leading to certification in May 2009.