Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

B23 – Optimizing the benefit of REACH worker exposure assessments: ensuring meaningful health risk communication

Principal Investigator

Dr Wouter Fransman
Utrechtseweg 48
3700 AJ Zeist
The Netherlands
wouter.fransman@tno.nl
Tel: 0031 88 8661733

Collaborators

Hans Marquart, Triskelion B.V., Zeist, NL, hans.marquart@triskelion.nl

Description

REACH is the basic chemicals legislation in the EU. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describes on their website the legislation regarding REACH and provides tools and practical guidance to companies which have responsibilities under REACH. It includes the processes, products and stakeholders. For instance, a supplier should create an extended Safety Data Sheet and provide this e-SDS to the downstream user. The downstream user can provide, via their sector organisations, information on specific safe use conditions in their sector by use maps and Sector-Specific Worker Exposure Determinants (SWEDs). This portrays a two-way interaction between supplier and downstream user. Concerns are raised about whether the present processes and tools result in appropriate real-life implementation, that is, downstream users using chemicals safely at the workplace.

In this project it is studied how up- and downstream communication on (safe) use conditions regarding REACH chemicals legislation is actually understood and acted on within workplaces, and how it can be improved.

The main objective of the project is to provide a substantial contribution to optimisation of information on (safe) use conditions, specifically in REACH.

The project is divided in the following 4 work packages:

  1. WP1: Analysis of existing information related to present up and downstream communication of information on (safe) use conditions of chemicals. This will include already published information on the ‘prescribed’ (how it should be done) and ‘described’ (how it is done) situations.
    Activities mainly involve desk research to collect and examine the relevant documents.
  1. WP2: Gathering and analysing in-depth knowledge on up- and downstream communication on use conditions. This includes the perception of the ‘ideal situation’ (how you want it to be done), the knowledge, understanding and use of the ‘prescribed’ tools and methods and of the present ‘described’ situation. Additionally, the needs of stakeholders (in the supply chain, but also e.g. authorities) are analysed to optimise the implementation of safe use conditions to reach the ideal situation. Also drivers and barriers of the communication and implementation process to promote safe use conditions are studied.
    Six downstream users are selected to represent the variety of downstream users. These six cases will be extensively studied by interviewing stakeholders and studying relevant documents to describe and evaluate the downstream communication on safe use. Also three registrants and two sector organisations are interviewed to collect information regarding upstream communication.
  1. WP3: Develop suggestions for improvement of tools and methods for exposure tools and communicating (safe) use conditions up and down the supply chain, to ultimately improve implementation and sustained use at the workplace. In other words: suggestions to enable a move from the ‘described’ to the ‘ideal situation’, (partly) by modifying the ‘prescribed’ tools and methods.
    In three workshops the results of WP 1 and 2 are discussed with (a) experts in communication, behaviour, chemicals and toxicology from different EU countries, (b) users and developers of exposure models, and (c) both groups together.
  1. WP4: Report the project in (a) a scientific report and (b) manuscript for publication as well as via (c) presentation or poster at a relevant conference or workshop.

Timeline: April 2020 > September 2021

LRI funding: € 215 340

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