Specialist knowledge for chemical sales

The sale of certain dangerous chemical products requires an obligation to provide advice. “Specialist knowledge” training is required to do this.

What is specialist knowledge?

The term “specialist knowledge” denotes on the one hand an awareness of labelling, the contents of safety data sheets, information sources as well as legal bases. On the other hand there must be a specific awareness of chemicals in the in-house product range.

When is specialist knowledge needed?

The obligation for specialist knowledge is a consequence of the labelling of chemicals and to the customers to whom the chemicals are sold. Specialist knowledge is needed: 

  1. when dangerous chemicals of Group 2 are supplied to the general public (private persons)
  2. when dangerous chemicals of Group 1 are supplied to a professional end user

Further information:

Requirements concerning sellers / suppliers 

  1. Proof of basic knowledge
    Suppliers must be able to prove basic knowledge in accordance with Annex 1 of the Specialist Knowledge Ordinance. This general knowledge of labelling, safety data sheets, supply provisions and general properties of chemicals must then be applied to the in-house product range.

  2. Ability to advise customers
    Sales personnel must inform customers of the following 6 topics:
  • The intended uses (e.g. application indoors/outside…)
  • Dangers to humans and the environment (e.g. chemical burn hazard, hazardous to the aquatic environment…)
  • Handling and protection measures (e.g. hygiene, safety glasses…)
  • Storage (e.g. temperature, ventilation, separate from foods…)
  • Correct disposal (e.g. take-back at the point of sale, regional disposal sites…)
  • First aid measures and emergency phone numbers (e.g. in case of skin contact rinse with water…)

Proof of specialist knowledge

Product-specific knowledge for advising customers must be gained by self-study. The so-called “basic knowledge” can be proved by passing an examination. Preparatory courses are offered by the recognised examination centres.

Further information:

Professional experience may also be recognised for sales personnel in managerial functions. Current further training e.g. on GHS and the verification of guidance by a person with proven specialist knowledge are available.
Further information on request.

Some completed training courses are deemed to be evidence of basic knowledge.

Further information:

Recognition as an examination centre

Institutions may have their courses and examinations recognised by the FOPH.

Further information:

Material for self-study

Vademecum for the supply regulations and for specialist knowledge. The document provides a short but still thorough introduction.

Further information:

Obligation for further training for persons with specialist knowledge:

In accordance with the Chemicals Ordinance (ChemO) persons with specialist knowledge are obliged to regularly undergo further training. The recognised examination centres regularly offer courses.

Further information:

Last modification 17.01.2017

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