REACH shifts the burden to industry, such that all actors in the supply chain are obliged to ensure the safety of the chemical substances they handle.

REACH will require a registration of some 30,000 chemical substances. The registration process requires the manufacturers and importers to generate data for all chemicals substances produced or imported into the EU above one tonne per year. This data should be filed in a registration dossier, which should be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

For substances of very high concern, authorisation will be necessary. These substances will be prioritised and over time included in Annex XIV. Once they are included, industry will have to submit applications to the Commission for authorisation on continued use of these substances. In addition, EU authorities may impose restrictions on the manufacture, use or placing on the market of substances causing an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

Safety Data Sheets will have to be provided to downstream users by manufacturers and importers, to inform them about the potential risks of the concerning substance.

The European Chemicals Agency is in charge of the day-to-day management of REACH.