Environment and Safety:
Put to the test

Regu­la­tions permeate the chem­ical industry. At Brügge­mann, the Depart­ment for envir­on­ment and safety ensures that substances are prop­erly clas­si­fied and colleagues are provided with the right know-how. ASAP if you please!

2018. The last REACH dead­line fits in well with Brügge­mann’s anniversary. The European “Regu­la­tion concerning the regis­tra­tion, eval­u­ation, author­iz­a­tion and restric­tion of chem­icals” is one of the most strin­gent chem­icals laws in the world. It calls on manu­fac­turers and users to take respons­ib­ility for their mater­ials and substances without compromise.

Oper­ating Manuals for Chem­icals

The regu­la­tion stand­ard­izes the protec­tion of the envir­on­ment and human health through regis­tra­tion, eval­u­ation, author­iz­a­tion and restric­tion proced­ures. For Dr. Isabella Hebeiß and her colleagues in the Depart­ment for Envir­on­ment and Safety, this means a lot of work. For two years, they have been looking after, among other things, the ordering, produc­tion and delivery of products. They always keep Brügge­mann up to date and know the regu­la­tions for each raw material used. They commis­sion tests, eval­uate test reports, update regis­tra­tion dossiers and are respons­ible for timely data trans­mis­sion. All existing substances must be registered in Europe this year in order to comply with REACH. When it comes to the eval­u­ation of devel­op­ment products in the test phase, as well, the ladies of the Depart­ment of Envir­on­ment and Safety must be there. They eval­uate and prepare the safety data sheets for every new substance that is born at Brügge­mann. The safety data sheets are some­thing like a user manual or pack­aging insert for chem­icals.

They describe what the product looks like, its phys­ical data and its poten­tial dangers. For this purpose, the clas­si­fic­a­tion is taken from the H and P data, the hazards and precau­tionary state­ments in English which are set out in a glob­ally harmon­ized system for the clas­si­fic­a­tion and labeling of chem­icals (GHS). They describe how mater­ials are to be handled: How is it to be extin­guished when it is burning? Does the user need personal protective equip­ment? How should the material be disposed of? Are there provi­sions for its trans­port? How is it legally clas­si­fied? Is it registered at all in the country where it is to be used?

“Our expertise is to appraise substances.
As soon as the substance becomes more important in Devel­op­ment, tests are performed.”

Dr. Isabella Hebeiß

Abso­lutely Error-Free

“Our customer needs to know how to handle our product. That’s why it’s important that we get involved,” says Dr. Isabella Hebeiß. Clas­si­fying the risks of new devel­op­ments? For this PhD in Chem­istry, the cautious approach to new substances is on the agenda. “Our expertise is in eval­u­ating substances. As soon as the substance becomes more important in the devel­op­ment, tests are made.” The safety data sheets allow Dr. Isabella Hebeiß to check with at least two people. The product managers have a look as well. “Four eyes see more. The aim of our depart­ment is abso­lute flaw­less­ness.” It is not enough with the safety data sheet alone.  The depart­ment compil­ates the safety data sheets and ensures that the inform­a­tion stored there – hazard and trans­port symbols, H and P data – is also included on the product labels. “We provide the produc­tion labels so that the products can be labeled accord­ingly. Also in coordin­a­tion with Mater­ials Manage­ment, we check whether everything is correct,” says Cornelia Friedrich. In general, the depart­ment is well connected within the company. Orders and inquiries come not only from Produc­tion, but also from Sales, Purchasing, Product Manage­ment and, of course, from the Research and Devel­op­ment Depart­ment. The ladies from Envir­on­ment and Safety also approach their colleagues with other issues, for example in the field of Emis­sions and Water Protec­tion, Waste and Fire Protec­tion and occu­pa­tional safety.

In general, the Depart­ment of Envir­on­ment and Safety is seldom allowed to idle for long.  New regu­la­tions and legis­lative changes give it new work to do almost every day. As a team, they are more effi­cient, says Dr. Isabella Hebeiß. That not only bene­fits their depart­ment, but the entire company. “Flex­ib­ility is important for a mid-sized company. We are often faster than the big companies.” Their co-workers also know: The ladies from Envir­on­ment and Safety can be trusted. “I just quickly need... We can do that,” smiles Dr. Isabella Hebeiß.

Addi­tional Stories