chemicalsThe European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Industrial European Trade Union, the new European trade union that represents seven million workers from a variety of sectors, have launched an informational campaign on REACH, the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use.

The campaign's chief objective is to draw employers' attention to their obligations under this European legislation, which has regulated trade in chemical substances in the European Union since 2007.

The trade unions are concerned that "too many companies in the EU, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are not always aware of these obligations and may end up being penalised or having some of their production lines shut down by the national supervisory authority if they do not comply in time."

To raise awareness among employers, members and representatives of the two trade unions will be distributing a fact sheet in several languages in companies.

This campaign is being conducted in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

REACH deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. It is aimed at improving the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, REACH aims to enhance innovation and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.