REACh and Automated Documentation Management

Posted by Brian Everett April 27, 2009

The ability to track, trace, and provide visibility to chemicals in industry is becoming increasingly important.  Companies are faced daily with challenges on developing products that conform to a customer’s needs and that satisfies the safety standards required for the industry.  New governmental/country regulations in the European Union (EU) are having a significant impact on not only chemical companies within the EU, but also those companies that operate globally.  One of the most significant pieces of legislation to be developed and passed involves REACh (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals).  This legislation, which became law in 2007, will have a tremendous impact on Chemical companies in the next ten to fifteen years.

REACh legislation requires companies to disclose to the European Chemical Agency documentation on the use and processing of chemicals that will be either used or shipped to and through the European Union.  The estimated financial impact on the chemical industry (as a result of this requirement) will amount to over two billion dollars and will require over 30,000 substances to be registered.  As a result, companies must embark upon implementing a best practices approach surrounding information gathering, data management, collaboration with other organization, and integration of information within and between organizations.

The process of registering chemicals as part of REACh involves the submission of or a technical dossier for each chemical produced and/or imported (into the EU) in excess of ton per year.  Additional documents, such as chemical safety test reports and risk factor reports may be required depending on the volume of the substance used each year.  What this means is that organizations need a structured approach to manage, gather, and report information.

A REACh compliant solution will  help customers satisfy registration requirements with the EU and help manage the process from submission to approval to ongoing maintenance/provision of documents to customers/authorities.  Implementation of such a solution, plus collaboration with other organizations in substance information exchange forums (SIEFs) will help a company manage and share costs.  For example, if there are four different companies that use the same substance, these companies can form a SIEF and register the chemical one time.  Beyond controlling the cost of registration, these groups will also provide the potential benefit of tighter integration across the supply chain.

REACh regulations are continuing to evolve, even to the present day.  As such it is very important for a company to implement a solution that will be able to adapt and evolve as regulations continue to emerge.  SAP’s REACh Compliance Workbench incorporates functions in SAP’s Environmental Health and Safety module and provides integration with the IUCLID5 database which is required for submission of all documentation to the EU.  This approach will allow customers to leverage their existing information in SAP for REACh and will provide a stable platform for customers to manage and maintain their documentation required for registration.

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