Anyone that uses chemical cleaning products will be familiar with the labelling and logos on the pack that show important health and safety information. The rules governing these are changing under a process known across Europe as CLP or, more formally, the Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulations. What does this mean for you, your employees and the products you use?
Guest article - Sealed Air, Diversey Care
The regulations covering the labelling of chemical products – not just cleaning products – have evolved over many years. Many countries – and some economic areas including the EU – already had well-developed standards including the Dangerous Preparation Directive (DPD). While there was some commonality there was in reality no consistency between regions.
Some time ago the United Nations agreed that there should be greater uniformity around the world. The reasoning was that standardised pack information and labelling would support improved health and safety for users, increased sustainability, simplify compliance for stakeholders, support an increasingly globalised economy and mobile workforce, and simplify processes and reduce costs for companies that operate in multiple countries. The process, known as Global Harmonisation, was planned over an agreed time frame. Despite some delays CLP is coming into force from June 2015 when it will replace DPD.
For many, the most visible aspect of CLP is the adoption of new pictograms (logos) for each classification. They are easily identified because designs are a white diamond with a red border containing a black icon representing the potential hazard. The old format pictograms had orange backgrounds with black icons, some of which are different to the new CLP designs. Another major change is the use of stronger and clearer signal words including “Warning” and “Danger” to replace phrases used in DPD. New Hazard and Precautionary Statements replace the old Risk and Safety terminology and CLP outer label is now required for any product not classified for transport. The aim throughout has been to make information stricter with less potential for confusion.
Diversey Care, as an industry leader with a global presence, has been at the forefront of the transition. The company has been working hard to make sure that its product range, which extends to thousands of different items when taking into account all formulations, formats and pack size, is compliant with CLP. Recent innovations have incorporated the new labelling from the start and the majority of existing products have also been changed. The remaining few will complete the transition in the next few months to ensure all Diversey Care products are fully compliant. After June 2015 all new products must have the new labelling although any products manufactured (and delivered to distributors etc) before this date with the old labelling can still be sold and used until June 2017.
Planning for CLP is no easy task because it involves more than simply relabeling products with the equivalent new information and pictogram. This is because different information must now be included on the pack and the pictograms are all new. The changes also mean that each product requires a new Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
A further challenge is that some products might fall into a different classification under CLP even if the formulation (the chemical composition) is the same because the definitions have changed. This means, for example, that some products previously labelled as “irritant” might now be classified as “corrosive”. The product is the same, has the same performance and remains safe to use as directed. Nothing has changed except the criteria for labelling but even so this can have implications for customers in the form of training, documentation, storage and other forms of compliance.
Diversey Care offers all of the support, training and documentation needed to ensure users are aware of any changes – whether labelling, processes or formulation – to make a smooth transition to the CLP era.
If you are already a Beacon customer and have concerns about how this can impact your business, please contact your Beacon Account Manager.