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SAWS Publishes the Measures for the Administration of HC Safe Use Permit (SAWS Order 57)

Almost 14 months after China’s public consultation on a draft proposal regarding the application of hazardous chemicals (HC) safe use permit, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) has published on 16 November 2012 the final version, entitled as SAWS Order 57: Measures for the Administration of Hazardous Chemicals Safe Use Permit (2012). The final version was approved upon discussions through the SAWS chief office meeting in October and will come into force as of 1 May 2013.

What companies will be affected?

Pursuant to SAWS Order 57, companies are obliged to obtain the HC Safe Use Permit, if they are 1) included in the national “Catalogue of applicable industries for Hazardous Chemicals Safe Use Permit” and 2) are using HCs (for the purpose of production) with use quantities reaching the minimum annual tonnage specified in the “Use quantities standard for hazardous chemicals”. Yet the Measures are not applicable to companies using hazardous chemicals as fuels, nor hazardous chemical manufacturers/producers.

Important chapters to potential applicants

Chemical downstream users can refer to the legal text for interpretations on application pre-conditions (Chapter Two), submitted documents (Chapter Three), license issuance & modification (Chapter Four) regarding the HC Safe Use Permit. Chapter Six of SAWS Order 57 defines the legal liabilities in case of any possible inconformity with the Measures. Companies that take the liberty to use any listed hazardous chemicals for production and reach the set minimum use quantity could face economic penalties, ranging from 100, 000 to 200,000 RMB. Failure to submit the required license modification application according to specific provisions of SAWS Order 57 will also be imposed with a fine between 10,000 and 30,000 RMB.

Major changes in the final version

Compared with last year’s draft proposal, SAWS Order 57 has maintained the main legal content except for some minor adjustment in provision sequence and clause combinations.  With respect to the application documents, the final version requires that applicants should submit the Safe Data Sheet and the precautionary label for the concerned hazardous chemical from the supplier. If the applicant is a newly-built HC company, they are additionally required to provide the documentary evidence (in copies) that the company location is in conformity with national industry policies and the local government’s layout planning.

Special notice for affected companies

The biggest amendment to the draft proposal lies in the Supplementary Provisions part. Affected companies are strongly advised to take special notice of the re-definition of “use quantities” in SAWS Order 57: it may be the annual designed consumption or the actual consumption, whichever is larger. (Yet in the draft version, it means only the designed tonnage.) Chemical users that have been engaged in the production prior to the enforcement of SAWS Order 57 have a grace period up till to 1.5 years following the date of its entry into force, i.e. 1 December 2014.

More information about the application scope

The “Catalogue of applicable industries for Hazardous Chemicals Safe Use Permit (hereinafter as the Catalogue)” and the “Use quantities standard for hazardous chemicals (hereinafter as the Standard)” were released on the SAWs website in Oct 2011 when the draft proposal of SAWS Order 57 was issued for public comments simultaneously. The first batch of Use Quantities Standard listed 62 hazardous chemicals with minimum designed use quantity per annual and CAS number. The Catalogue comprises three general categories (chemical raw materials & chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and chemical fibers) and 38 sub-sectors. In brief, chemical downstream users falling under the specified 38 sub-sectors and engaged in the processing or re-production of one of the listed 62 hazardous chemicals should pay attention.

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