When you buy and use a piece of software to help with a problem, most of the time it’s a big improvement on trying to do things by yourself, and CLP classification and Safety Data Sheet software packages are no exception.

However, some software packages appear to have a glitch which can lead to under-classification of a substance, whether you’re classifying the substance itself, or as a component substance in a mixture.

Where a substance holds a Harmonised Classification, many (if not all) software companies will automatically provide that classification information for you.

The difficulty is that most Harmonised Classifications are partial classifications, that is they only cover the hazards they publish (apart from pesticides and biocides, which are complete classifications covering every potential hazard).

This means that if you are classifying that substance, you need to research whether there are any other relevant hazards, and include these in your CLP classification.

The good news is that most Harmonised Classification have now gone through the REACH registration process, meaning that all their hazards have been considered, and in most cases the REACH dossier classification includes the extra hazards which may be missing from the Harmonised Classification.

But if your software package automatically gives you the Harmonised Classification, but doesn’t provide the REACH classification information as well, you may not have the full, up to date published classification information for those substances.

If you are using a software package which does not provide access to the REACH dossier classifications, we recommend that you check whether your substances (particularly those with Harmonised Classifications) have been registered for REACH, and use this additional information in your CLP classifications.

This manual work-around may seem a bit of a hassle, but is a small price to pay to ensure you are using up to date classification information.

We understand that there have been technical difficulties for software companies who want to access the REACH dossier CLP classifications at ECHA, and with a bit of luck every classification software package will eventually include this important information.