Who is responsible for classifying and labelling a product

The person or company who places a product on the market is responsible for its classification and labelling (and for producing the SDS, if one is required).  Although liability initially rests with the manufacturer or importer, it is passed to the company who resells it.

For example, Company A makes a surfactant, and sells it in IBCs to Company B.  The surfactant will need to be classified and labelled by Company A, and an SDS provided.  Company B resells the surfactant to a company in France, which means that the supply label and SDS should be in French.  This is the responsibility of Company B, not Company A.  Company B can use the classification information supplied by Company A, but will need to relabel the IBCs with the correct supply label.

In France, Company C formulates the surfactant into washing up liquid, by adding water, other surfactants, colour and fragrances.  Company C is responsible for classifying the newly manufactured formulation.  They must label the new bottles they use for the washing up liquid, and provide a new SDS for professional users on request.  The label and SDS must be in the language of the country where their customer is.

In some circumstances, a distributor may want to show who the original manufacturer of a product is on the label and the SDS.  This can be particularly important where the original manufacturer is going to provide emergency information in the case of an accident or incident.

In the UK, this scenario has been checked with the HSE, who will accept more than one set of supplier information on the label (eg company name company address etc), as the minimum legal requirement is for the company selling the material’s identity to be clear.  This also applies to the SDS, where two sets of company details can be included in Section 1.3, Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet.  However, if you are outside the UK, you should check whether this is acceptable to your Competent Authority, see https://echa.europa.eu/contacts-of-the-member-state-competent-authorities .


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