On December 14, 2021, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) released a draft on the “Regulations on the Management of Safety Information Codes for Hazardous Chemicals (Trial)” and began soliciting comments from relevant organizations. Since June 2021, China’s Guangdong Province has been the first province in the country to experiment with the use of safety information codes (2D codes) for hazardous chemicals, and since October 1, 2021, shipments of hazardous chemicals that do not bear these codes have been prohibited. On the basis of the pilot project in Guangdong Province, the above-mentioned management regulations were formulated. According to Article 17 of the draft, the regulations are expected to come into effect in 2022.
The outline of the regulation is as follows.
Safety information code (2D code)
The abbreviation “MEM” for Ministry of Emergency Management must be displayed in the center of the packaging of hazardous chemicals, and the registration number (17 digits) for hazardous chemicals must be displayed at the bottom. The 2D code consists of a URL, a classification identification code, etc. The safety information code will be the only code that corresponds to the hazardous chemicals produced or imported by each company. When the code is scanned, information such as the name of the hazardous chemical, registration number, hazard description, first-aid measures, leakage first-aid measures, fire-fighting methods, company name, emergency contact information, etc. is displayed, and technical descriptions of chemical safety and safety labels can be downloaded.
Target chemical products
The following chemicals are subject to the draft regulation by safety information codes
(1) Chemicals listed in the Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals (2015).
(2) Other chemicals that meet the principles for identifying hazardous chemicals.
Hazardous chemicals that are handled or used in China must have a safety information code. Production enterprises exporting hazardous chemicals into China can apply for a safety information code, but they must designate a registered production or import enterprise in China as their agent. The relevant duties and responsibilities are to be assumed jointly with the agent.
Regulations for Labeling Safety Information Codes
In the case of hazardous chemicals produced in China with internal or external packaging, the safety information code must be printed or affixed on the internal or external packaging before shipment, and in the case of hazardous chemicals imported from abroad with internal or external packaging, the safety information code must be printed or affixed on the internal or external packaging before proceeding to the distribution stage. In addition, if the following conditions are met, affixing of the code is exempted.
- Hazardous chemicals with a volume of 100 mL or less in a single package (However, the safety information code must be printed or affixed on the external packaging).
- Hazardous chemicals imported only for self-use.