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Overview of Hazchem QR Code Application in China

China’s “One enterprise, One chemical product, One QR code” policy for hazardous chemical management has gained significant attention in the global supply chain. In this article, ChemLinked will navigate you through the development and requirements regarding Hazchem management based on QR codes.

The use of quick response (QR) codes, a type of barcode that stores information and can be easily read by digital devices, has become prevalent in tracking product information in the supply chain. Recognizing the convenience of this technique, the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) of China introduced the “One enterprise, One chemical product, One QR code” policy to enhance the digital and intelligent management of hazardous chemicals (Hazchem). This policy was introduced in the National Plan for Centralized Management of Safety Risks of Hazardous Chemicals issued in January 2022. 

The pilot project for the Hazchem QR code application commenced in Guangdong, a province designated by the State, in June 2021. Since October 2021, the Hazchem QR code has been mandatory on hazardous chemical labels, packaging, containers and vehicles before hazardous chemicals leave the factory or warehouse in Guangdong. On January 29, 2022, Guangdong issued its Local Plan for Centralized Management of Safety Risks of Hazardous Chemicals, fully implementing the “One enterprise, One chemical product, One QR code” policy in the province. 

Drawing from Guangdong’s experience, the MEM launched in February 2022 the new online platform - Hazardous Chemical Registration Comprehensive Service System to support the automatic generation of QR codes for registered hazardous chemicals nationwide. Several other provinces and cities in China, e.g., Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, etc., have also initiated relevant plans or pilot projects to push forward the Hazchem QR code application (see the map below). Details can be accessed here.

Currently, pilot provinces and cities are studying their own pilot projects based on local conditions to push forward the “One enterprise, One chemical product, One QR code” policy. At the national level, the policy has not yet been fully implemented so far.

The major requirements for the Hazchem QR code application are as follows.

Who shall comply?

Manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals that fall under either of the following:

  • Chemicals listed in the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals;

  • Non-listed chemicals that meet the determination principles specified in the Inventory.

Each hazardous chemical of each enterprise is assigned a unique Hazchem QR code.

How to generate the Hazchem QR code?

Obliged manufacturers or importers should complete the Hazchem registration via the Hazardous Chemical Registration Comprehensive Service System, thereby generating the Hazchem QR Code online automatically. Required information and materials for Hazchem registration include:

  • Chemical name,

  • CAS number,

  • Hazchem registration number,

  • Enterprise name,

  • Label elements (signal words, hazard pictograms, hazard statement),

  • First aid measures,

  • Emergency response for leakage,

  • Firefighting methods,

  • SDS and label, etc.

The Hazchem QR code cannot be generated if the registration information is incomplete. Local registration offices may require additional information, such as product batch and specification, due to localized pilot policies.

How to display the Hazchem QR code?

Enterprises should affix the generated Hazchem QR code on the bottom right (preferred) or other blank space of the label, or next to the label on the packaging if there is no room on the label. The minimum dimension of the QR code is 1 cm by 1 cm, and it shall not be smaller than the pictogram. For transportation, the QR code also needs to be affixed on the outer packaging, containers, vehicles, etc. The position of the Hazchem QR code on the label should be consistent for the same product of the same enterprise.

The Hazchem QR code can be scanned using WeChat or Alipay, providing the public with quick and easy access to the basic information automatically extracted from the Hazchem registration application as the figure below shows.

Overseas suppliers exporting hazardous chemicals to China are not obliged to affix the Hazchem QR codes. However, they should assist Chinese importers in obtaining and affixing the Hazchem QR codes before road transport of the goods from ports. At present, the MEM is the competent authority responsible for the implementation of the Hazchem QR code application. The Customs authorities have not yet included the Hazchem QR code within their supervision scope. However, according to some localized pilot projects, if the Hazchem QR code is affixed to the goods before customs clearance, there is a high likelihood that the Customs will expedite the clearance process for such goods.

Notably, at the current stage, fully implementing the “One enterprise, One chemical product, One QR code” policy for Hazchem management remains challenging due to issues such as cross-provincial and cross-authority collaboration, the lack of legislative support, and more. To regulate the management and utilization of the Hazchem QR Code and promote the effective transfer of the corresponding Hazchem information, the MEM has drafted the Regulations on the Management of Hazardous Chemical Safety Information Codes (Trial) in 2022. It’s still under development and has not been finalized so far. Additionally, the China Chemical Safety Association issued a draft group standard, T/CCSAS 0XX—202X: Technical specification for coding and labeling of hazardous chemicals, for public consultation, providing technical specifications for enterprises using the Hazchem QR Code.

All parties are actively participating in the promotion of the Hazchem QR code application. Our company REACH24H Consulting Group, along with local authorities, remains deeply involved in the Hazchem QR code pilot projects in certain provinces and cities, such as Guangdong and Shanghai, as well as the formulation of this group standard. ChemLinked will keep a close eye on any updates in this regard. Please stay tuned.

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