Regulatory Changes in the Global Chemical Industry

Companies in the chemical industry are subjected to some of the most extensive regulatory rules in the industry. They must ensure that they are meeting health and safety guidelines in the handling of the substances. Through regulatory changes such as ‘Reach, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals’ (REACH) which went into effect in 2007 and ‘Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals’ (GHS) which was implemented in 2008, regulators work to ensure safety in healthy working conditions and handling of chemicals for workers and consumers.

REACH satisfies and manages risks that are associated with chemicals by providing information regarding their safety to those who use the substances. GHS is a classification system in the industry to ensure safety in the handling, using and transporting of chemicals. However, a new regulatory change is facing companies and implementation looms on a 2020 deadline. This may seem like a long time away, but the ‘Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management’ (SAICM) requires companies to reduce the negative impact to the environment and human health. Developed during the Johannesburg World Summit in 2002, chemical industry many felt that a better accountability in the chemical industry was needed to protect the environment and those who come in contact with or work with the chemicals.

Chemical companies in the United States are held to high regulatory compliance levels as in the ‘Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards’ (CFATS). This standard, mandated by Homeland Security, requires those sites to maintain comprehensive guidelines and audits to address any possible gaps within their safety and security policies and procedures. The CFATS act required sites to create vulnerability assessments in order to reduce possible breeches with security that could jeopardize the American people. This process alone takes months to complete including the time and effort put into focus and support of this program.

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