CHCS  Chemical Hazards Communication Society  Promoting the awareness of chemical hazards & improvements in their identification & communication


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The UK has negotiated another withdrawal agreement with the EU in principle, which is subject to ratification by the UK parliament. However, the future relationship with the EU will now likely depend on the outcome of the general election.

If the withdrawal agreement is signed by the UK and the EU, detailed arrangements for the future relationship can be fully negotiated, which will affect all areas of UK business. The negotiations are critical to the chemical industry, particularly with regard to regulatory processes.

If The Withdrawal Agreement Is Signed

In a negotiated departure, there will be a transition period, known as the implementation period, before full separation comes into force. During this time, EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK. This means that UK businesses can continue to trade with the EU, and goods placed on the EU/UK markets before the end of the implementation period can carry on through supply chains, under the rules that were in force at the start of the movement. Under a common rulebook, the UK would commit to ongoing harmonisation with those EU rules “necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border” during this period. This transition period is currently foreseen to last until 31st December 2020, but potentially could be extended if negotiations on a future trading agreement are still ongoing at the end of this period.

The political declaration, that accompanies the withdrawal agreement, indicates that the UK and the EU would like to explore possibilities for regulatory alignment as part of their future trade agreement to come into effect after the end of the transition period, including co-operation with EU agencies such as ECHA. The current UK Government intended to seek agreement on associate membership of ECHA to ensure that REACH registrations undertaken by UK companies remain valid in the EU and UK markets, post Brexit. Furthermore, the UK would seek agreement for future EU-REACH registrations to be undertaken by UK companies, the proposed options for which are as follows:

  • REACH registrations would be made directly to ECHA, without the need for an Only Representative (OR);

  • REACH registrations undertaken in the UK would be recognised within the EU;

  • Both the above options become possible.

Conversely, EU REACH registrations obtained by EU/EEA entities, would be accepted by UK authorities for the purposes of supply to the UK market.

Current Position

At the current time, the EU position is that only EEA-based companies can REACH register a substance (deal or no deal). As a third country, UK companies will be unable to register substances directly and will lose registrations already completed. UK suppliers to the EU market will have to appoint an OR, or rely on the importer to conduct registration, where required. An alternative option is to move operations to the EU, or transfer registrations to an EU based OR. In the case of substances already registered, this must be completed before the withdrawal date and notified to ECHA.

Conversely, UK importers of substances, mixtures and certain articles from the EEA will lose downstream user status, unless an EEA supplier is willing to engage the services of a UK-based OR. Without this, importers will be burdened with UK-REACH registration duties, according to reciprocal regulation already enacted in the UK to facilitate Brexit. UK-REACH registration will be costly, time consuming and may become the responsibility of organisations inexperienced in REACH regulatory processes. It is estimated that UK companies have already spent around £250 million on REACH registration.

UK REACH Following No Deal (or a deal that does not include REACH)

In order to ensure existing levels of protection for workers, consumer and the environment are maintained, the UK government has put in place legislation to replace EU chemicals regulations. This includes legislation to replace REACH, CLP, BPR and PIC.

The UK-REACH legislation provides transitional arrangements for UK Importers, by allowing an interim notification (rather than immediate registration) of chemicals imported from the EEA, or Third Countries covered by a registration made by an EEA based OR. This interim notification will need to be made within 180 days of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period, followed by the full registration within 2 years of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period.

Existing REACH registrations completed by UK entities will be grandfathered into the new UK REACH system. Registrants will need to take timely action by opening a UK REACH-IT account and providing information on the existing EU registration within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU/end of the transition period. The technical information for the tonnage band registered must be provided within 2 years of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period.

Grandfathering will apply to all registrations (including intermediates) held by UK-based entities, including importers and UK-based ORs, and to sole, lead or joint registrants at the time of exit. It also applies to all registrations held by UK companies at any point since 29 March 2017, which is important as registrations transferred to an EU/EEA based entity will be carried over into the UK system.

Grandfathering will not apply to registrations held by organisations established outside of the UK, regardless of whether they are part of a group of companies with a UK presence. In this instance, only registrations that have been transferred to a UK-based entity before the UK leaves the EU will be grandfathered into the system.

A number of scenarios are explored in UK Guidance covering a no Brexit deal:


Regardless of whether a deal on Brexit is achieved between the UK and the EU-27, there is no certainty on how the REACH relationship will work. Switzerland recognises REACH, but Swiss companies selling chemical products to the EU market must register substances through an OR based in the EU. The EEA Countries Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland have full membership of ECHA, but no voting rights.

CHCS will keep members informed and is ready to deliver training, depending on the outcome of Brexit.

See for more information and guidance covering other important exit scenario topics.


 CHCS Training

CHCS offers Modular Training Courses on the writing of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), and related issues such as classification, labelling and other documentation.

For more information see CHCS Training

If you have any queries about our training, please Contact CHCS.

Chemicals Legislation Support From CHCS

We provide a range of pages on this website to give you an introduction to different aspects of chemicals legislation / regulation:

Legislation (Introduction) Brexit Transport: Modal Regulations
International Legislation GHS Pictograms Transport: Model Regulations
European Legislation EU Law Making Process Transport: UK Requirements
UK Legislation EH40  

For CHCS members only: 

REACH Regulation Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Seveso III Directive
CLP Regulation The Cosmetics Regulation Tracking Substances

Page updated December 2019


CHCS AGM & Annual Lectures: Presentations Now Available
CHCS members can now download copies of the presentations given at our 8th Annual Lectures on 20 November 2019. Visit our "Past Events" page. [Posted on 21 November 2019]

Commission Directive (EU) 2019/1831 Establishes  A 5th List Of Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs)
CHCS members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings  page. [Posted on 21 November 2019]

ECHA publishes draft CoRAP for 2020-2022
ECHA has announced a draft plan incorporating 74 substances proposed for evaluation by Member States (MS) during 2020-2022, under the Community rolling action plan (CoRAP).   CHCS members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings  page. [Posted on 12 November 2019]

CHCS October 2019 Newsletter Now Published
Our October 2019 Newsletter is now available, which includes an in-depth, special report titled "Titanium Dioxide - Stakeholders Demand An Impact Assessment". See our CHCS Newsletters page for more details [Posted on 20 October 2019]

GHS Revision 8
Globally Harmonised System (GHS) Revision 8 has been published and is available online in both English and French. CHCS members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings  page. [Posted on 22 October 2019]

Model Regulations, 21st Revised Edition The United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations, 21st Revised edition is now available in English and French. CHCS Members can read more on the page. CHCS News Briefings  [Posted on 21 October 2019]

IATA Publishes Significant Changes To The 61st Edition Of The Dangerous Goods Regulations  
CHCS Members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings page.   [Posted on 20 October 2019]

CHCS & SCHC Sign New MoU
We are delighted to have signed a new MoU with the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication, outlining the relationship between both Societies and the benefits to members of both. For more information visit our SCHC web page [Posted on 18 October 2019]

CHCS AGM & Annual Lectures - Celebrating 25 Years of CHCS
We are delighted to publish our draft program for the event, including speakers and presentation titles. 

There is still plenty of time to register for the event, which takes place on 20 November at Hilton Hotel, NEC, Birmingham. Free of charge for CHCS members. 

To find out more, download the flier or reserve your place please visit the CHCS 25th AGM event page [Posted on 8 October 2019]

Draft amendment to REACH Annex II
A consultation has been opened on the draft amendment to Annex II of REACH. The draft has also been notified to the World Trade Organisation – G/TBT/N/EU/680.  

CHCS Members can read more on the CHCS News Briefings page.  [Posted on 1 October 2019]

Webinar Series: "Introduction to Chemical Management in Latin America"
Our colleagues in the US-based Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC), have developed a series of webinars, each covering a different country. CHCS members can register at SCHC-member prices. For more details, see our SCHC web page.  
[Posted on 25 September 2019]

Endocrine Disruptors - 1st CHCS Video
We have produced our first video for members: "Endocrine Disruptors", which is available to members free-of-charge.

This introductory video explains the various components of the human endocrine system and how they interact, to help understand the mechanisms of endocrine disruptors on human systems.

The video is just over 10 minutes long.

To register for access to the video, please visit our video registration page: Endocrine Disruptors Video Registration.

[Posted on 1 July 2019]

News Briefings Summary
  • 30 September 2019
    Poison Centre First Deadline To Be Postponed

  • 23 September 2019
    Updated advice for UK-based companies intending to export chemicals listed in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation to EU countries in the period immediately following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

  • 28 August 2019
    14th ATP To CLP: Outcomes For TiO2, Cobalt & DPTA

  • 22 July 2019
    Draft Amendment To "Poison Centre" Regulations

  • 22 July 2019
    Possible Annex VIII to CLP Extension?

  • 29 June 2019
    Workability Issues: Notification to Poison Centres

  • 24 June 2019
    Eurotunnel publishes 2019 guidance

  • 24 April 2019
    HSE Consultation on revision of Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for a range of carcinogens

  • 28 March 2019
    Poison Centre Guidance Document Published

  • 22 March 2019
    Poison Centre Guidance Document Published

  • 23 January 2019
    Links To Guidance & Legislation Recently Laid Before Parliament

  • 23 January 2019
    RPA Seeks Input From Companies In Chemicals Supply Chain To Assess Impacts Of Brexit

  • 11 January 2019
    Preparing For A Potential 'No-Deal' Brexit

    CHCS Members can read these News items, and older posts, on the CHCS News Briefings page.

    9  July 2018 - CHCS Needs Your Help!

    CHCS has a number of vacancies on our committees and are looking for volunteers to fill them. For more information please see: CHCS Vacancies.

    Next 3 CHCS Training Courses:

    For a full list of our CHCS Training Courses, please visit our Training page. 



    CHCS Membership is open to any person with an interest in chemical hazard communications. You can join by completing the simple on-line form at Join CHCS. Membership is currently £85.00 (+ £17.00 VAT where applicable; a total of £102.00). 

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