Chemicals Act

Passed 6 Mai 1998

Chapter 1

General Provisions

§ 1. Scope of application of Act

(1) This Act provides the legal basis for organisation of the handling of chemicals and for the restriction of economic activities involving the handling of chemicals, and provides the principal safety requirements for the handling of chemicals and the procedure for notification of chemicals.

(2) The provisions of this Act also apply in areas concerning the handling of chemicals which are regulated by other Acts in so far as such areas are not regulated by the other Acts.

§ 2. Definition of chemical

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a chemical is a substance or preparation in the natural state or obtained by any production process.

(2) A substance is composed of one chemical element or of a compound of chemical elements.

(3) A preparation is a mixture composed of two or more substances.

§ 3. Identification of chemicals

(1) Chemicals are identified by the name of the substance or preparation and by internationally recognised codes.

(2) The name of a substance shall characterise the composition and structure of the substance.

(3) The manufacturer or importer of a preparation shall name the preparation.

(4) The names of chemicals handled in Estonia shall be written using the Latin alphabet.

(5) Internationally recognised codes shall be brought into use by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs.

§ 4. Handling of chemicals

The handling of chemicals is the manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, carriage, sale and use of chemicals or any other activity concerning chemicals.

§ 5. Dangerous chemicals

(1) Dangerous chemicals are chemicals which due to their intrinsic properties may cause damage to health, the environment or property.

(2) Dangerous chemicals are classified pursuant to the nature of the hazard and the method of handling.

(3) #9; The threshold quantity of a dangerous chemical is the quantity at which the handling of such chemical in an enclosed area may cause loss of life or a major accident with widespread damage to health.

(4) Organisation of the handling of dangerous chemicals shall be based on:

1) the minimum combined hazard level of the chemicals handled;

2) the permitted combined hazard level of the chemicals handled;

3) the maximum quantity of the chemical permitted for handling.

§ 6. Dangerous enterprises and enterprises liable to be affected by major accident

(1) Dangerous enterprises are enterprises where chemicals are handled in greater quantities than the minimum combined hazard level.

(2) Upon the categorisation of dangerous enterprises, the maximum permitted combined hazard level of the chemicals handled shall be established.

(3) Enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident are enterprises where dangerous chemicals are handled in greater quantities than the threshold quantities.

(4) Enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident are informed of the maximum quantities of dangerous chemicals which may be handled, and the handling of greater quantities is prohibited.

§ 7. Competent state agency

(1) The Government of the Republic shall found a Chemicals Notification Centre in the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

(2) The Chemicals Notification Centre is the competent state agency whose duties are to:

1) collect information concerning dangerous chemicals which are imported into Estonia or produced in Estonia by high or lower volume production or which contain a new substance;

2) assess the risks arising from notified chemicals and the conformity of information with international and Estonian legislation, and, if necessary, request additional information and make proposals for the reduction of risks;

3) to give notice of agreement for the import of banned and severely restricted chemicals if such import is effected in compliance with international and Estonian legislation;

4) exchange information with the competent state agencies of other states and international organisations.

(3) The Rescue Service Administration organises the collection of information concerning compliance with the requirements imposed upon the activities of enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident and the exchange of information with the competent state agencies of other states and international organisations.

§ 8. Chemical Safety Commission

(1) The Government of the Republic shall form a Chemical Safety Commission in the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs and comprising representatives of government agencies and other experts.

(2) The duties of the Chemical Safety Commission are to:

1) assess current problems concerning chemical safety and make proposals to government agencies for the prevention or reduction of hazards arising from chemicals;

2) make proposals to the Government of the Republic for the drafting or amendment of legislation regulating the handling of chemicals;

3) provide expert analyses of bills concerning chemical safety and draft legislation related thereto;

4) provide expert advice and consultations to government agencies in the field of chemical safety;

5) make proposals for the conduct of research, the publication of printed matter, the organisation of training and in-service training and the harmonisation of terminology in the field of chemical safety;

6) plan and co-ordinate the organisation of discussions on chemical safety;

7) draft a chemical safety development plan.

Chapter 2

Organisation of Handling of Chemicals

§ 9. Procedure for import, export and handling of banned and severely restricted chemicals

(1) Banned and severely restricted chemicals are chemicals the handling of which is either prohibited, or permitted for specified purposes in specified areas of activity or during a specified term.

(2) The permitted purposes, terms and areas of activity for the handling of banned and severely restricted chemicals, the procedure for import, export and handling of such chemicals and a prohibition on handling such chemicals shall be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

(3) Lists of banned and severely restricted chemicals shall be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

§ 10. Identification, classification, packaging, labelling and recording of dangerous chemicals

The procedures for identification, classification, packaging, labelling and recording of dangerous chemicals in dangerous enterprises shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs.

§ 11. Organisation of handling of dangerous chemicals

(1) The following shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs:

1) a list of dangerous substances;

2) maximum limits for dangerous substances in work environments;

3) restrictions on the handling of chemicals that are dangerous to the population and the environment.

(2) The following shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Economic Affairs:

1) requirements for equipment used in the handling of chemicals based on the hazards and method of handling of the chemicals;

2) categories of hazard for dangerous enterprises and instructions for the calculation of the minimum combined hazard levels of chemicals;

3) the threshold quantities and maximum quantities of dangerous chemicals for enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident.

(3) The following shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Transport and Communications, based on the hazards of a chemical:

1) requirements for the storages for and places of loading, unloading and transhipment of the chemical, and for other structures necessary for the handling of the chemical in ports, road transport terminals, railway stations and airports;

2) requirements for means of transport;

3) requirements for the monitoring of cargoes and for carriage by road, internal waterway, sea, air or post which will allow for prevention of or a reduction in damage to health, property or the environment which may arise from the chemical.

(4) The following shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs:

1) the procedure for risk assessment in dangerous enterprises and requirements for the prevention of accidents and for action in the event of an accident;

2) the procedure for preparation and submission of data sheets, safety reports and emergency plans in enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident;

3) a list of enterprises liable to be affected by a major accident.

§ 12. Maximum limits for dangerous substances in the wild

Maximum limits for dangerous substances in the wild are established by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment.

§ 13. Restrictions on handling dangerous chemicals in enterprises liable to be affected by major accident

(1) Determination of the quantity of dangerous chemicals which may be handled in an enterprise liable to be affected by a major accident is based on the following:

1) data sheets or safety reports;

2) the previous experience of the enterprise in handling dangerous chemicals;

3) the hazards of the chemicals handled and the potential for a combination of such hazards;

4) the level of qualification of the employees;

5) the readiness of the enterprise to act in the event of a major accident;

6) assessment of the risk in the event of a major accident with the worst possible consequences;

7) the amount guaranteed for compensation for damage caused by a major accident with the worst possible consequences.

(2) The quantities of dangerous chemicals which may be handled in an enterprise liable to be affected by a major accident are subject to review in the following circumstances:

1) significant changes occur with regard to clauses (1) 1), 4), 5) and 7) of this section;

2) a dangerous chemical which has previously not been recorded or a new method of handling is introduced in the enterprise;

3) the handling of a greater quantity of a dangerous chemical than the maximum permitted quantity is planned in the enterprise.

(3) The Government of the Republic may prohibit or restrict the activities of an enterprise liable to be affected by a major accident or a dangerous enterprise in the following circumstances:

1) the activities of the enterprise cause the foreseeable risk of a major accident;

2) the government agencies which have supervisory authority file a justified application;

3) the rural municipality or city council in whose administrative territory the dangerous enterprise is located files a justified application through the Ministry of Internal Affairs;

4) a major accident concerning a dangerous chemical occurs in the enterprise;

5) the trader submits false information in respect of subsection (1) of this section;

6) the trader submits false information to the Chemicals Notification Centre concerning the properties and quantities of chemicals handled;

7) the trader fails to submit a data sheet or safety report and emergency plan pursuant to the procedure established by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

(4) If the prevention of a major accident requires swift action, a supervisory agency has the right, according to its competence, to suspend temporarily the activities of an enterprise and to impose prohibitions and restrictions, of which it shall promptly inform the Government of the Republic.

(5) The suspension, prohibitions and restrictions specified in subsection (4) of this section remain in force until the Government of the Republic passes a corresponding resolution.

§ 14. Seat of enterprise liable to be affected by major accident

A rural municipality or city council decides on the location in its administrative territory of a new enterprise liable to be affected by a major accident on the basis of the safety reports submitted by the trader.

§ 15. Conditions for handling chemicals

(1) A trader is required to:

1) implement the necessary measures for the prevention of damage which may arise from chemicals during handling, taking into account the quantity and hazards of the chemicals;

2) maintain records on chemicals handled;

3) inform the Chemicals Notification Centre of chemicals subject to notification;

4) inform promptly the rescue service agency and the local government of pollution and accidents;

5) ensure compliance with the requirements and restrictions imposed upon a dangerous enterprise and its activities.

(2) The maintenance of records on chemicals specified in clause (1) 2) of this section shall indicate the movement of each chemical in an enterprise from the acquisition of the chemical to the processing, delivery or rendering harmless of the chemical. Records on dangerous chemicals shall be preserved for at least ten years.

(3) The right to import or handle a chemical subject to notification arises when the Chemicals Notification Centre has:

1) given the importer information concerning the permissibility of import;

2) confirmed the conformity of the information submitted.

(4) A trader shall perform a risk assessment and plan measures for the prevention of accidents arising from dangerous chemicals and for action in the event of an accident on the basis of legislation established pursuant to subsection 11 (4) of this Act, and shall inform the local government and rescue service agency thereof.

(5) In the event of an accident, a trader shall compensate for damage caused by the trader.

(6) In order to compensate for possible damage, the owner of a dangerous enterprise shall insure against liability of the owner for damage which may arise from a major accident.

(7) In the event of termination of activities, a trader is liable for the safety of the chemicals in the possession of the trader until such chemicals are transferred to a new possessor, to whom the requirements of this Act apply from the moment of acceptance of the chemicals.

§ 16. Restriction on storage and acquisition of chemicals

(1) If a natural person is not registered in the commercial register as a trader, he or she may only acquire and store chemicals that are available in retail trade.

(2) The storage and handling of chemicals specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not cause danger to the storer, the handler, fellow human beings, property or the environment.

(3) The procedure for retail sale of dangerous chemicals shall be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

Chapter 3

Safety Requirements

§ 17. General safety requirements

(1) The handler of a chemical shall have the necessary information concerning the physico-chemical properties, hazards, safety requirements and rendering harmless of such chemical.

(2) The handler of a chemical shall adhere to the safety requirements established for the handling of the chemical. A trader is required to create the conditions in the enterprise for adherence to the safety requirements.

(3) The qualifications of persons engaged in the handling of dangerous chemicals shall include:

1) knowledge of the properties of the chemical being handled based on the method of handling;

2) the ability to identify the hazards of a chemical on the basis of safety data sheets, the labelling on packaging and other information;

3) knowledge of the dangers related to the handling of a chemical;

4) the ability to use primary emergency equipment in practice and to provide first aid;

5) knowledge of technical safety measures and measures for the protection of health and the environment.

(4) A trader is liable for the qualifications of persons in the service of the trader who are engaged in the handling of dangerous chemicals.

(5) In the event of pollution arising from a chemical, the handler shall eliminate the pollution, remedy the cause of the pollution, inform an environmental supervision agency and compensate for the damage caused.

§ 18. Requirements for packaging and labelling of chemicals

(1) The packaging of a chemical shall be durable and ensure the safe handling of the chemical.

(2) The following information shall be clearly legible on the labelling of the packaging of a dangerous chemical:

1) the trade name of the chemical and the names of its components;

2) the name and address of the manufacturer or importer;

3) a danger symbol;

4) a description of the risk;

5) a description of the safety requirements;

6) the quantity of the chemical.

(3) If the packaging of a chemical or information concerning a chemical does not enable the safe handling of the chemical, the chemical shall be rendered harmless on the initiative and at the expense of the owner.

(4) A chemical may only be retailed in sealed original packaging labelled pursuant to requirements or with equipment prescribed for such purpose.

§ 19. Chemical safety data sheet

The manufacturer or importer of a dangerous chemical shall prepare and, before the delivery of the chemical to the handler, deliver a safety data sheet which contains the following

information concerning the chemical:

1) identification;

2) composition;

3) hazards;

4) method of providing first aid;

5) action in the event of fire;

6) measures for the prevention of an accident;

7) handling and storage;

8) effects on man, and personal protective equipment;

9) physico-chemical properties;

10) stability and reactivity;

11) health hazards;

12) environmental risk;

13) method of waste management;

14) requirements for carriage;

15) regulatory legislation;

16) other information.

Chapter 4

Notification of Chemicals

§ 20. Notification of chemicals

(1) The notification of a chemical is a written submission to the Chemicals Notification Centre concerning the name, properties, quantity and purpose of the handling of a chemical that is imported into or produced in Estonia by high or lower volume production and which is banned or severely restricted, or which contains a new substance.

(2) The information submitted shall enable the assessment of the dangers relating to the chemical and the implementation of measures for the safe handling of the chemical.

(3) The procedure for notification of chemicals shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs, which shall provide:

1) the requirements for the notifier and for the information submitted, depending on the quantity and purpose of handling;

2) the terms for responding to a notifier and commencement of handling;

3) the procedure for exchange of information with international organisations;

4) exceptions to the notification of chemicals, if a chemical is used only in scientific or process-orientated research and development;

5) high or lower volume production levels.

(4) A chemical subject to notification may be marketed only once the requisite conditions for notification have been met and sixty days or a shorter term provided pursuant to clause (3) 2) of this section has passed since registration of the notification.

(5) If the purpose of handling a chemical changes or if additional information concerning the hazards of a chemical become known, the handler of such chemical shall inform the Chemicals Notification Centre promptly.

§ 21. Notification of new substance

(1) A substance is new if it is not registered in the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS).

(2) The importer or manufacturer shall submit the requisite information concerning a new substance to the Chemicals Notification Centre.

(3) The European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances shall be brought into force in Estonia by a regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs.

§ 22. Access to information and protection of business secrets

(1) Information concerning the hazards and safe handling of chemicals registered with the Chemicals Notification Centre is public.

(2) The Chemicals Notification Centre is required to preserve and protect business secrets pursuant to the procedure provided by law.

(3) The following are not business secrets:

1) the trade name of a substance or preparation;

2) the name of the notifier, manufacturer or importer;

3) the physico-chemical properties;

4) information on the safety data sheet and additional information on the hazards of a chemical;

5) the summary results of toxicological and ecotoxicological tests;

6) the analytical methods for identification of a dangerous substance;

7) dangerous additives;

8) safety measures;

9) methods of rendering a chemical harmless.

Chapter 5

Supervision and Liability for Violation of Act

§ 23. Liability of natural and legal persons

Natural persons bear civil liability and administrative or criminal liability for a violation of this Act or of legislation established on the basis of this Act, and legal persons bear civil and administrative liability, pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law.

§ 24. Supervision

Supervision over compliance with the requirements of this Act and legislation established on the basis of this Act is exercised by environmental supervision agencies and rescue service agencies according to their competence and by the Boards and Inspectorates in the areas of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Chapter 6

Implementing Provisions

§ 25. Entry into force of Act

Clause 15 (1) 3) and §§ 18, 20 and 21 of this Act enter into force two years after the entry into force of this Act.

 

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