This regulation concerns the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals.

REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals which came into force on 1 June 2007. It replaces a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system.

REACH has several aims but principally:

  • to provide a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the use of chemicals 
  • to prevent chemicals without health and safety data being placed on the market

Competent authority

In the UK, the Competent Authority is hosted by the Health and Safety Executive, working with the Environment Agency and other government departments.

The Competent Authority's responsibilities under REACH are to:

  • provide advice to interested parties on their respective responsibilities under REACH through a helpdesk
  • enforce compliance with registration
  • conduct in depth evaluation of selected prioritised substances and prepare draft decisions
  • consider the identification of substances of very high concern for authorisation
  • consider whether substances need to be managed through restrictions
  • nominate candidates to membership of ECHA committees on risk assessment and socio-economic analysis
  • appoint members of the Member State committee
  • appoint a member to the Forum for Information Exchange and meet to discuss enforcement matters

They also liaise as appropriate with relevant enforcing organisations in relation to downstream responsibilites under REACH, for example, the implementation by users of the risk management measures designed by suppliers; the adherence to restrictions or to the refusal of authorisation.

UK REACH CA Helpdesk
2.3 Redgrave Court
L20 7HS

For the most up-to-date information relating to REACH visit the HSE REACH topic page:

For the most up-to-date information relating to how Brexit might affect REACH visit the HSE Brexit topic page:

GB's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have some useful information regarding Brexit:

Key deadlines

The key deadlines for REACH registration are:

REACH registration deadlines
Key deadline Type and quantity of chemical substance to be registered
1 June 2013 100 tonnes or more per year of any chemical substance 
1 June 2018 1 tonne or more per year of any chemical substance

You must register chemicals online and submit data using the ECHA REACH-IT application:

If you manufacture or import into the EU one tonne or more of a chemical substance in a year, you may need to carry out a chemical safety assessment. You must produce a chemical safety report to show the results of your assessment and submit it to ECHA as part of your registration application. REACH specifies that your safety assessment must include a:

  • human health hazard assessment
  • human health hazard assessment of physicochemical properties
  • environmental hazard assessment
  • persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT), and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (VPVB) assessment

For some substances, you should also carry out an:

  • exposure assessment (including a generation of exposure scenarios/or the identification of relevant use and exposure categories)
  • exposure estimation
  • risk characterisation

Bitesize leaflets

The UK REACH Competent Authority places Bitesize Advice leaflets on the HSE(GB) website:


Key legislation

Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.