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Software support for SDS and PCN for distributors of hazardous substances

Published On: 9 May 2022By Categories: SDB-Profi, PCNTags: , , ,
Schematic representation of various hazardous substance products on sales shelves.

© Ekaterina Mikhailova -

The challenges for distributors of hazardous substances under REACH in the European Union are mostly not apparent through direct obligations. For example, in contrast to the manufacturer/importer, a distributor does not have to meet certain requirements (like compiling a safety data sheet). Still, distributors have to ensure indirectly that the products they distribute are legally compliant.

Role of the distributor

The role of the distributor, according to REACH, is differentiated from the role of the importer and the downstream user. Depending on the legal situation, a further distinction is made as to whether the product has been repackaged and/or rebranded. You can find details on the definition of the role in this article. [1]

Safety data sheet for hazardous substances

A distributor himself has no obligation to prepare safety data sheets. However, certain requirements must still be met, which is why it can make sense to provide your own safety data sheets.

First and foremost, the manufacturer’s safety data sheet lists his contact information. Under certain circumstances, a product can be sold with a different name, which the safety data sheet does not yet list.

There are further requirements for a safety data sheet on the international market: a translation. This is a challenge, especially if the destination of the product is a country to which the manufacturer does not deliver himself. [2]

Poison Centre Notification (PCN)

The Poison Centre Notification (PCN) is another point to consider. A PCN is mandatory for almost all liquid or solid hazardous substances. Exceptions are gases under pressure without further hazards and exclusively environmentally hazardous substances.

Also, the PCN does not directly affect distributors, but the UFI, that is supposed to be on the label, does. This unique formulation identifier (UFI) has a direct relation to the notification and to the countries for which you made this notification. As a distributor, there is no direct notification obligation under CLP Regulation, Article 45. Nevertheless, PCNs for all dangerous substances must be available for all target countries before placing on the market. [3]

Packaging requirements

There are further packaging requirements, when products are made available for the general public. These are requirements, that products for professional use do not have to take into account. It may therefore be necessary to repackage products to make them legally compliant with, for example, tactile warnings or child-proof opening mechanisms. [3]

Software-supported work on the challenges for distributors

The information for distributors logically comes from the manufacturer, especially in the form of the safety data sheet.

Specialised software can point out challenges, such as the obligation for UFI and PCN. It is possible to detect certain hazards to determine, if a product meets packaging requirements for the general public.

Safety data sheet software already specialises in the creation and translation of safety data sheets anyway. Therefore, the distributors can also create their safety data sheets on the basis of the manufacturer’s information and provide them in several languages. It is important to keep in mind to pass on all manufacturer information to your own customers and forward enquiries accordingly.


[1]        ECHA Guidance for Downstream Users, Version 2.1 European Chemicals Agency, October 2014, ISBN 978-92-9244-148-7, in particular Annex 1

[2]        Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH Regulation), consolidated version of 01.03.2022

[3]        Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP Regulation), consolidated version REACH-CLP Biocide Helpdesk (DE), as of 10.05.2021

With GeSi³ you can quickly and automatically create plausible, multilingual REACH and CLP-compliant safety data sheets.
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