A.I.S.E - prioritising the safe use of products and safety of workers

15th of July 2022
A.I.S.E - prioritising the safe use of products and safety of workers

A.I.S.E. is the umbrella organisation representing the European detergents and maintenance products industry. Its professional cleaning and hygiene sector manager Aisling O’Kane tells us more about its work.

Professional cleaning product and service providers have an important legal responsibility to provide accurate, up to date safe use information to customers so that they can be informed about the precautions required in handling and storing products. The Safety Data Sheets and Product Information Sheets are the standardised way to do this.

Companies will often go further, providing environmental safety information and advice on cleaning techniques and training of personnel, as well as working closely with their customers to develop and document their hygiene routines and procedures, putting in place targeted occupational health and safety measures to address a customer’s specific situation and helping them to conform to applicable legislation.

Communicating safe use

Professional cleaning products companies in Europe have been proactively communicating safe use information to their customers for decades and, in partnership with A.I.S.E. pioneered the development and use of safety pictograms over 20 years ago, a practice that has since spread to the consumer products side of the industry.

The A.I.S.E. application pictograms for professional cleaning are a harmonised and consistent industry tool allowing rapid identification of the intended use of a product. This is of high importance given the number of niche products and variety of applications. The 31 pictograms are available to be used by all suppliers to professional cleaning on product labels and were developed based on the experience of manufacturers and end-users.

The icons support appropriate, safe and sustainable use of products according to their intended end use or application. In multicultural environments where language can sometimes be a barrier, visuals are an important communication tool.

As with all voluntary initiatives by the industry association, the use of the icons is open to all companies placing products on the market - for more and to downloaded the files, go to: www.aise.eu/professionalcleaning

Clear safe use instructions

Detergent manufacturers are required to take account of safe use information received from their suppliers and pass relevant information down the supply chain to customers via their product Safety Data Sheets.

In collaboration with other downstream user sectors, A.I.S.E. has developed a tool to help manufacturers communicate this safe use information as prescribed by REACH, known as Safe Use of Mixtures Information (SUMI) documents. SUMIs offer manufacturers supplying the industrial and professional cleaning industry a standardised way to provide clear and accessible information to cleaners on how to use the products safely. The SUMIs are written for the intended end user who may not have a deep chemical knowledge or be familiar with legislative jargon, but is responsible for creating specific workplace instructions.

As an example, cleaners working with products on a daily basis should be able to determine easily and intuitively whether wearing gloves is necessary or how long they can be exposed to a cleaning agent safely. The information that a cleaning company needs is provided in the SUMI and communicated by the detergent manufacturer for the ultimate benefit of the end-user.

This approach, initially developed at association level, has been presented to representatives from the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and positively viewed by authorities.

The SUMI documents for 62 uses are available to all companies in multiple languages together with guidance and can be downloaded at: www.aise.eu/sumi

Guidance for the industry

The European association has an important role in guiding the industry in the correct interpretation and implementation of EU legislation, as well as ensuring that all actors in the supply chain have the necessary information to comply with legislative requirements and thereby ensure the safe use of products. Two examples of industry guidance follow.

Use Maps and guidance for ingredient registration

A.I.S.E. compiles information on all uses of a substance in products to ensure that REACH risk assessment is appropriate and accurate - a good quality registration needs to be based on up-to-date and reliable information on how products are used in practice. A.I.S.E. assists the supply chain with the publication of its Use Maps, which cover the vast majority (over 80 per cent) of the uses and applications of products.

To accompany the Use Maps, A.I.S.E.’s REACH Guidance supports suppliers, formulators and end-users in the supply chain to generate and communicate safe use information for cleaning and maintenance products.

Industry guidance on medical devices

This guidance is a collaboration between experts from IHO, the German national association for professional cleaning products, and A.I.S.E. and aims to support our industry in implementing the EU Regulation on Medical Devices (MDR). The guidelines are of particular relevance for companies manufacturing products that are used for the cleaning and disinfection of medical devices, since these now fall under the scope of the MDR. The guidance can be read here or found on www.aise.eu.

For more information contact the A.I.S.E. secretariat: aisling.okane@aise.eu 


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