About Chemexchange ICT, Materials, Production

Background

The identification and evaluation of relevant European and National legislation is an important element of the ChemXchange project, in order to identify legislation relevant for the definition of content and functionality in the ChemXchange system and to ensure that the solutions meet the specific legislative requirements.

EU has categorized their approximately 3000 different items of legislation into 32 different subject areas corresponding to the related activities of the European Union.

The ChemXchange project has focused especially on EU legislation within the area of “Employment and Social Policy” and Environment”.

In addition, REACH regulations were especially evaluated in order to ensure that the ChemXchange solutions fully comply with the requirements in REACH.

EU legislation identified as having direct consequences for content and/or key functionalities of the ChemXchange system represent important inputs to the specifications of the chemical management system and to the software tool to be developed in the project. In addition, this information provides the basis for establishment of best practice and procedure with regards to safe handling of chemicals in this sector.

The project will prepare a specific report describing EU legislation considered relevant for handling of chemicals in the Building and Construction sector, including a compliance table identifying the most relevant legislation and how it is addressed in the ChemXchange project. The report will also include a description of best practices and procedures developed.

Project Details

The objective of ChemXchange is to offer the European construction sector a tailor-made, low-priced, fully digitalised system for collecting Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and information on Building Products. The system will ensure communication up and down the supply chain and effective chemical management, including risk assessment and substitution. The ChemXchange project addresses the challenges in the European Construction and Building sector and will ensure compliance with existing and new chemical legislation.

It is important to keep in mind that 97 per cent of the European construction sector consists of a mass of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The sector is Europe’s largest industrial employer, and is a major downstream user of chemicals and chemical containing products. Workers in this sector can be exposed to some of the most dangerous substances in commerce, including those that are harmful, toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or harmful to reproduction. It has been estimated that chemical exposure costs the construction industry almost two million cases of illness every year and at least 98 million days of work absences. Associated direct costs are estimated to be nearly €75 billion/year.

Effective risk communication between the different actors involved in the use of dangerous substances, from manufacturer through intermediaries to end user, is crucial for the prevention of hazards and risks. The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is the most important tool for supplying downstream chemical users with essential information regarding health, environment and safety (HES) risks and risk management. SDS contains essential background information enabling companies to perform legally required chemical risk assessment and management. Poor quality SDS is reported to be a major problem throughout Europe.

Various studies show that between 50% and 65 % of all delivered SDS fail to pass quality control according to EU law. Experiences from Norway show that construction SMEs have major problems complying with SDS requirements and as many as 69% of construction companies were instructed by authorities to comply with the regulations. Practical problems include lack of delivery, different formats and different supplier distribution procedures.

In order to address these issues related to Safety Data Sheets and the lack of reliable information regarding chemicals in the workplace, the ChemXchange project will develop a common platform integrating all relevant chemical information primarily dominated by Safety Data Sheets.

Key content and functionalities:

  • Safety Data Sheets (from the SDS database)
  • Exposure scenarios (from the SDS database)
  • Company profile and hierarchy (workplace structure)
  • Register of chemical products used
  • General workplace information and workplace waste plan
  • Generate specific instructions/procedures for use of chemicals
  • Risk assessment and sub-station
  • Generate filters (list of prohibited and unwanted substances/products) and compare chemical register with filters
  • Provide transfer of information and ensure transfer of knowledge
  • Exposure and health surveillance register
  • Generate reports/provide historic data and archives

Project Outcome

The IT-tool developed will make it easy to collect relevant product information from all partners in the project. Depending on how the project is organized, the system will make it easy to get product information from any company delivering services or products. It is possible to set up the system to collect product information automatically when purchasing electronically. Then you can start collecting SDS and information on products when purchasing.