Recommendations by an EU-wide cross-industry initiative for better regulation in chemicals management

Executive summary: 

Better regulation in chemicals management requires identification, implementations and enforcement of the most effective risk management option, tailored to tackle a specific risk. 

When authorities identify a risk, but find that it is limited to the workplace, then workplace-specific legislation offers the most targeted, effective and proportionate regulatory risk management approach. 

Adding Candidate Listing and REACH Authorisation will not improve workers’ protection; it may instead have a negative impact on, or even prevent, the achievement of key environmental and other policy objectives. 

The co-signatories of this paper submit a concrete set of proposals aimed at achieving better regulation when managing chemicals in the workplace. 

The undersigned organisations represent industry sectors and technologies which contribute strongly to competitiveness, economic growth and jobs in the European Union (EU). Indeed, we manufacture and/or use substances which are often indispensable enablers for key technologies, such as advanced materials, innovative production technologies and biotechnology, necessary for major EU policies, including environmental and health objectives. 

Collectively, our organisations are very supportive of the Better Regulation policy2 in general, and the regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme3 in particular. In this Position Paper, we provide a concrete case on how better regulation can be applied in the field of chemicals management. 

While REACH is rightly established as the regulatory pillar of EU chemicals management and has contributed to unrivalled data collection about the use and effects of substances, our organisations believe that REACH Candidate Listing and Authorisation should not be considered as the preferred option when potential risks from a substance have found to be limited to the workplace and can be more effectively addressed by workplace-specific legislation. Referring to the Commission’s Roadmap on Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC Roadmap), we would like to stress that Risk Management Option Assessments (RMOAs) are rightly aimed at identifying the best regulatory option to manage the risk “either in REACH […] or outside of REACH4.

In our view, workplace legislation: 

• More holistically addresses potential risks at the workplace by also covering uses which are not in scope of REACH Authorisation; 

• Prescribes the principle of substitution for hazardous substances; and 

• Directs investment towards enhanced protection of workers, instead of allocating these resources to the preparation of complex applications and the payment of application fees – and is in this respect more cost-efficient than REACH Authorisation


Adding REACH Authorisation on top of workplace legislation would not add any layer of protection for workers and would instead, inter alia have detrimental impacts on the competitiveness of production sites, Research and Development, the recycling sector, etc. 

Our organisations would therefore like to call for a tailor-made and targeted use of REACH Authorisation for relevant substances. It should not be applied to cases where it would duplicate other existing legislation when that already offers a more effective and proportionate risk management option. 

We propose that the European Commission and Member States: 

i) recognise workplace legislation including EU-wide Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) as the most effective risk management option for substances where there is a need to address a risk limited to the workplace; 

ii) review how to strengthen EU capacities for the swifter setting and/or review of EU-wide OELs

iii) proceed to set EU-wide OELs for substances, where a risk is identified at the workplace; and 

iv) ensure that in the described cases no additional and unnecessary regulatory measures (e.g. Candidate Listing, Authorisation) are applied, i.e.: 

a. when the identified risk for all uses of a substance can be more effectively addressed by workplace legislation, the substance should not be included in the Candidate List5; and 

b. when the identified risk for some uses of a substance can be more effectively addressed by workplace legislation, those uses should be exempted from REACH Authorisation pursuant to Article 58(2) of the REACH Regulation. 

We look forward to cooperating with the Commission, other public authorities and stakeholders on this subject, as a positive move for ensuring the safe use of substances as well as Europe’s competitiveness and employment

Signatory organisations 

European and global associations and platforms 

ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association 

ADCA Taskforce

AmCham EU 

BeST – Beryllium Science and Technology Association 

Cadmium Consortium 

CAEF – European Foundry Association 

CDI – Cobalt Development Institute 

CECOF - The European Committee of Industrial Furnace and Heating Equipment Associations 

CEMBUREAU – The European Cement Association 

CerameUnie – The European Ceramic Industry Association 

CETS – European Committee for Surface Treatment 

CheMi – European Platform for Chemicals Using Manufacturing Industries 

ChemLeg PharmaNet

CPME – Committee of PET Manufacturers in Europe 

EAA – European Aluminium Association 

EBA – European Borates Association 

ECFIA – Representing the High Temperature Insulation Wool Industry 

ECGA – European Carbon and Graphite Association 

ECMA – European Catalyst Manufacturers Association 

EDMA – European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association 

EPMF – European Precious Metals Federation 

ETRMA – European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association 


Euroalliages – Association of European Ferro-alloy Producers 





FEPA – Federation of European Producers of Abrasives products 

Frit consortium 

Glass Alliance Europe 

ICdA – International Cadmium Association 

IIMA – International Iron Metallics Association 

IMAT – Innovative Materials for Sustainable High-Tech Electronics, Photonics and Related Industries 


Lead REACH Consortium 

Nickel Institute 

PRE – The European Refractories Producers Federation 

RECHARGE – European Association for Advanced Rechargeable Batteries 

UEAPME – European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises 

UNIFE – The European Rail Industry 

National associations 

A3M – Alliance des Minerais, Minéraux et Métaux (French Ores, Minerals and Metals Association) 

BVKIBundesverband Keramische Industrie e.V. (German Association of the Ceramic Industry) 

NFA – Non-Ferrous Alliance 

SEA – Surface Engineering Association 

VDAVerband der Automobilindustrie (German Automotive Industry Association) 

VDFFI – Verband der Deutschen Feuerfest-Industrie e.V. (German Association of the Refractory Industry) 

WKÖWirtschaftskammer Österreich (Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) 

WVMWirtschaftsvereinigung Metalle (German Metals Trade Association) 

ZVO – Zentralverband Oberflächentechnik e.V. (Central Association of Surface Technology) 




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2 The Commission’s “Better regulation” policy is intended at designing EU policies and laws so that they achieve their objectives at minimum cost. 

3 The REFIT programme is aimed at making EU law simpler and reducing regulatory costs. 

4 Roadmap on Substances of Very High Concern, 5 February 2013:

5 In the event of a substance that has already been included in the Candidate List but meets the criteria established in this position paper, it should not be prioritised for Authorisation


16 November 2015

Our contact details: 

For further details about our policy recommendations, you can refer to the complementing documents: 

1. Flowcharts: Our proposal – an application of the principles of the Commission’s SVHC Roadmap 

2. Detailed proposal and responses to questions raised on workplace legislation 

3. Setting indicative and binding OELs / Outlook on a possible revision of OSH