Obligations when using chemicals

Labels and safety data sheets should be respected in order to ensure safe use. Some uses require a specific training (special licence), and a designated contact person must be communicated to the cantonal authorities.

Obligation to exercise due care

The obligation to exercise due care applies to all who use chemicals. The hazardous properties of chemicals should be observed and the necessary measures implemented to protect people and the environment. The bases for ensuring the duty of care are provided by the manufacturer’s data on the packaging (label, instructions for use) and in the safety data sheet or the instructions in that respect from the supplier when a chemical is purchased.

Pay attention to the label

The label of chemical products contains the following data:

  • Hazard symbols
  • Hazard Statements (H-Phrases)
  • Precautionary Statements (P-Phrases)

Pay attention to the safety data sheet (professional or commercial users)

Every professional user has the right to obtain a safety data sheet from the supplier. It contains 16 chapters with extensive information on safe handling which should be observed before the first use. Safety data sheets contain information on:

  • Intended use e.g. paint for indoor application, insecticide against flying insects
  • Type of protection equipment: e.g. Material of the protective gloves, safety glasses, filters for breathing protection
  • General usage e.g. ventilation, MAC value, storage
  • Emergency measures e.g. first aid, antidotes, binders, extinguishing agents
  • Product disposal e.g. waste code, OMW number
  • Authorisation number for biocidal products and plant protection agents
  • Transport regulations e.g. UN number, applicable limits for transport

Uses requiring obligatory special licences, training

Certain professional and commercial uses of chemicals on behalf of customers (for “third parties”) may only be carried out by persons, who hold a special licence. Training courses and examinations are offered by various Institutes.

The following are subject to the obligation of a special licence:

  • Disinfection of bathing water in public baths;
  • Pest control for customers;
  • Pest control with fumigants e.g. hydrogen phosphide;
  • Use of plant protection agents in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, track and sports facilities or commercial zones;
  • Use of wood preservatives for the preservation of wood cut in sawmills;
  • Use of coolants when maintaining or disposing of equipment (e.g. air-conditioning units or cooling systems)

Further information:

Chemicals contact person

Companies and educational establishments that use hazardous chemicals must internally nominate a chemicals contact person. If a person is required to hold a special licence or specialist knowledge for the handling of chemicals the chemicals contact person must be spontaneously disclosed to the competent cantonal enforcement authority. All other companies and educational establishments must supply the name of their chemicals contact person when asked. The chemicals contact person is the link between the establishment and the cantonal enforcement authority and in this regard must have an overview of the chemical legal obligations of the establishment.

Further information:

Last modification 19.01.2017

Top of page