Brexit factsheet: REACH regulation and your business

Your health and safety responsibilities will not change if the UK leaves the EU. What impact will Brexit have on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of supply chain chemicals and your business?

What is REACH?

REACH is the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals, termed ‘Substances of Very High Concern’, i.e. substances with serious consequences.

Examples of substances are:

  • coatings:  paints, varnishes, enamels
  • pigments, dyes or inks
  • cleaning products
  • photographic processing chemicals
  • chemicals used to produce man-made fibres

Why is REACH important?

These substances are harmful to human health, animals and the environment.

What types of businesses will use these substances?

There are many businesses that are impacted by REACH including businesses in energy, life and chemical sciences, technology and textiles.

Does REACH affect my business?

Any business which uses, supplies or manufactures these substances must comply with REACH Regulation.

If you manufacture or import chemical substances in quantities of more than one tonne per calendar year, you may have to register them.

It's an offence if you do not pre-register or register chemical substances covered by REACH.

How does Brexit affect REACH?

Currently REACH registration only applies to trade outside the European Union.

If you buy chemicals from the EU, you will need to register on the new UK REACH system before the end of the transition period. You may not be able to bring chemicals into the UK if you do not register. Registration can take up to 6 weeks. 

Any business which uses, supplies or manufactures chemicals will need to comply with REACH regulations after Brexit for 'substances of very high concern'.

To enable EU registration and access, UK companies will require to appoint an approved representative within the EU or register from their EU based legal entity.

What should Scottish companies do?

Companies must determine ‘their role’ in REACH and contact HSE (Health and Safety Executive):

Get REACH guidance on a no-deal Brexit

You'll need to open an account on the new IT system for UK REACH which will be launched in time for the UK's exit from the European Union.

When should I do this by? Immediately.

Find out more on the HSE - REACH website

You can also listen to a specific Brexit webinar for Scottish companies on regulations and standards.

Search our Brexit webinars


Got a Brexit planning question?

Get in touch with our export advisers for full details of how we can help your business grow in EU markets and beyond.