If your organisation uses or supplies chemical products you should know about CHIP and the requirement for safety data sheets.
CHIP, which stands for the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for supply) Regulations 2002 requires suppliers to identify the hazards (or dangers) of the chemicals they supply. This is called classification. If a chemical is classified as dangerous under CHIP, your supplier must provide you with information about the hazards that the chemical presents.
Some hazard information will be provided on the labels, but an important requirement of CHIP is that your supplier must provide you with more detailed hazard information on a safety data sheet.
Safety data sheets are important in helping you, or anyone you supply, to make the workplace safe and to protect the environment.
More specifically, a safety data sheet contains information to help you make a risk assessment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
The safety sheet itself is an assessment. However, it will describe the hazards, helping you access the probability of those hazards (i.e. the risk) arising in the workplace.
Your supplier is responsible for providing accurate safety data sheets with dangerous chemicals. The supplier might be the manufacturer, an importer, distributor or sub-distributor.
As well as receiving dangerous chemicals you may supply them on to others. It is important that you also pass on safety data sheets containing enough information to make sure that the chemicals can continue to be used safely.
CHIP does not cover all hazardous chemicals. Some groups of chemicals, such as medicines and cosmetics, are covered by other legislation and have different rules for packaging and labelling.
Retailers do not have to supply safety data sheets to the general public. But if you buy a dangerous chemical from a retailer for the use at work, the retailer must provide a safety data sheet if you ask for one.
CHIP list 16 headings which must appear on a safety data sheet. The information included under these headings will help you make sure that the product is used safely. For example, the safety data sheet should describe the hazards the chemical may present, provide information on how it should be handled, stored and disposed of and explain what should be done in the case of an accident. I.e. first aid.
Although these headings are obligatory, CHIP does not specify exactly what information that should be included under them.
For further information about health and safety contact HSE's information line:
Tel: 08701 545 5000
Fax: 02920 859 260
Tel: 01923 839039