New CHIP regulations 2008 and their impact on COMAH and Environmental Permits.

The latest CHIP amendment came into force on 1st October 2008, There are a variety of changes, including a change in the rules for classifying and labelling preparations containing carcinogens, mutagens and toxic for reproduction substances; and also a change in the generic concentration limits to be used for evaluating hazards to the aquatic environment.

Apart from the need to ensure your suppliers are giving you up to date MSDSs and that your MSDSs are compliant with the latest guidance, the consequence of this is that some substances may be reclassified, and they are likely to be classified more stringently than before. This is particularly a problem with aquatic toxicity, as it may mean substances which were not COMAH-liable suddenly come into the COMAH regulations.

HSE’s guidance mentions the potential knock-on effect for COMAH-liable sites, where substances which have changed classification may mean that existing COMAH sites need to reduce their overall inventory to keep within their allowed limits.

However, it’s not just sites within the COMAH envelope which are affected – anybody who handles COMAH substances, or is using inventory control to ensure they keep out of COMAH (or within the Lower Tier state) should check whether any of their substances have changed, and redo their COMAH calculations if necessary. It may mean reducing inventory still further, or even considering whether to go into the COMAH regime.

There is a further knock-on effect with Low Impact PPC/ Environmental Permit holders. In order to be Low Impact, permit holders must have COMAH substances within their installation boundary at not more than 10% of the Lower Tier COMAH threshold.

Where Low Impact sites are handling COMAH substances as part of their permitted operations, we advise that once you have obtained up to date MSDSs, you should also re-do your COMAH calculations to ensure you can keep below the 10% limit, or adjust inventory to make sure this happens. Top tip – don’t forget that many Low Impact sites only have part of the site within the “installation boundary”, and it’s this area that’s relevant for PPC/ Environmental Permit.

If you need help carrying out your COMAH calculation, we would be happy to help, please click here to request.

News article Dec/2008/16