North America Central & Latin America Europe
Africa Middle East Asia-Pacific

INTERNATIONAL: UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME (UNEP)

Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will take effect from 1 January 2019 for hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) phase-down
Starting from 1 January 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer ("Montreal Protocol") will take effect to phase-down the production and consumption of 18 types of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under Annex F. Developed countries (Non-Article 5 Parties) will start the phase-down process from 2019, while other developing countries will commence either from 2024 (for Group 1 Article 5 Parties) or 2028 (Group 2 Article 5 Parties). The phase-down is intended to achieve an 80% or 85% reduction in comparison with the baseline years set for each country, by 2036 for developed countries, or by 2045 for Group 1 Article 5 Parties or 2047 for Group 2 Article 5 Parties. 

 

North America

 

UNITED STATES

FEDERAL
Trump's EPA proposes repeal of Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating GHG emissions from existing electric generating units
Fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs) producing electric output of more than 25 megawatts (MW) would no longer be subject to long-term emission limitations on carbon dioxide (CO2) under the Clean Power Plan (CPP), if the proposed rule is adopted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to repeal the CPP, which was issued under the Obama Administration to control CO2 emissions from existing power plants. This action is an important policy development reflecting the Trump Administration's intent to dismantle Obama-era climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) policies.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated most areas in the United States as unclassifiable/attainment for the 2015 primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone.
Effective 16 January 2018, companies operating or planning to construct or modify a source of ozone precursor emissions (i.e., NOx and VOCs) in those areas will only be impacted by EPA's designations to the extent that they may need to comply with revised emission limitations in their permits in the long term. EPA plans to address areas not designated in this final rule in a separate future action.

Companies that manufacture, import or intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process may have to report certain information concerning their activities to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The reporting process would be completed using an online format at EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) starting on 1 July 2019 and every three years thereafter. A company's reporting requirement would differ according to the activity it engages in and the amount of mercury it manufactures or imports. Finally, companies who would need to report information under these proposed amendments would also have to maintain all relevant records for a period of three years.

The first part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), the Climate Science Special Report (Climate Report) is published
Published on 3 November 2017, the Climate Report concludes that it is extremely likely that human activities are the dominant cause of global warming. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released Volume I of the quadrennial NCA, which is an authoritative assessment of climate science from scientists across various federal agencies and academia.

CALIFORNIA
Manufacturers of designated cleaning products sold in California must disclose hazardous chemicals on labels and online
Effective 1 January 2020, companies manufacturing designated cleaning products for sale in California must list their hazardous chemical ingredients online or risk exclusion from the state marketplace. As of 1 January 2021, companies also must include this information as part of their on-package product labeling disclosures. On 15 October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 (SB-258 or Act), which makes California the first state in the United States to require manufacturers of designated cleaning products used by millions of consumers and workers to list known hazardous chemical ingredients both on labels and online. 

DTSC proposes listing paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride as a priority product
Companies that manufacture paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride that are placed into commerce in California would be required to notify the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and conduct an alternatives assessment under the proposed rule. Based on the assessment, DTSC would have discretion to impose a wide range of regulatory restrictions on the product, which could include a total sales prohibition. This is DTSC's third proposed rule to designate a priority product under California's progressive Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program. 

ILLINOIS
Senate establishes task force to recommend best practices for preventing and responding to sexual discrimination and harassment ID 68524]
Companies may see a change to regulations and policies on sexual discrimination and harassment. The Illinois Senate enacted Senate Resolution 1076 to create the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention (Task Force). The Task Force must conduct a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment, in both the public and private sectors. In addition, the Task Force must study and make recommendations on combating sexual discrimination and harassment in Illinois, including in workplaces, no later than 31 December 2018. This legislation does not impose any additional requirements on industry; however, companies may see a change in municipal regulations, if the recommendations are adopted.

CANADA

Government announces framework against workplace harassment and sexual violence [ID 68624]
Companies could see a change to provisional occupational health and safety regulations and policies on sexual harassment and violence. On 7 November 2017, the Government of Canada announced a proposed framework to address workplace harassment and sexual violence issues. Bill C-65, introduced by Parliament, would amend existing provisions in the Canada Labor Code, which affect both private-sector and public-sector federally regulated workplaces. While the proposed framework would only apply to workplaces under federal jurisdiction (such as federal public service offices), and therefore does not affect or impose any additional requirements on private industry, companies may see a change in requirements in the future, if provinces begin to adopt similar frameworks.

Canada ratifies amended Montreal Protocol to continue phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) production and consumption [ID 68499]
Environment and Climate Change Canada recently announced that the Canadian Government has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer ("Montreal Protocol"). The Kigali Amendment reviews the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Under the Kigali Amendment, HFCs consumption is to be phased down by 2019 in developed countries and either 2024 or 2028 in developing countries. Canada already has regulations to meet the goals of the Amendment. The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019, provided that at least 20 Parties have deposited instruments of ratification.

ONTARIO
Building code places emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Companies altering or constructing buildings in Ontario, would have to comply with a new building code that places an emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA) has proposed to repeal the current building code and replace it with a new version that includes requirements to implement the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). Proposed requirements include requiring roof designs and conduits for new buildings that facilitate future solar technology installation.

 

Central & Latin America

 

PERU

Infractions and sanctions for noncompliance with manufactured products labeling requirements published
Since 10 October 2017, manufacturers, importers, and retailers of industrially manufactured products can be subject to fines from 1 to 500 UIT (for 2017 1 UIT = S/4.050 = around 1199 USA Dollars) if their products do not display a label written in Spanish containing information on, among other things, the products name or trade mark, country of manufacture, and net weight when making them available to end users. This follows from the approval of Supreme Decree 015-2017-PRODUCE approving the Regulation of Legislative Decree 1304 of 2016. As the label content will remain unchanged in terms of currently applicable requirements, products already on the market will not have to be relabeled or recalled.

MEXICO

FEDERAL
Manufacturers of the listed electronic equipment to include energy efficiency information
As of 13 January 2018, manufacturers, importers, distributors, and those putting on the market any of the products listed in the Catalog must not only attach or affix to the product the energy consumption information but also submit such information among other pieces of information to the Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (Comisión Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía - CONNUEE). This follows from the publication of the Catalog of equipment and devices for which manufacturers, importers, distributors, and commercializes must include information on the energy consumption of such equipment or devices, which include 44 products, among which are industrial washing machines, dishwashers, computer screens, boilers, and lathes (torno). The previous Catalog contained 186 products.

STATE OF MEXICO

Treatment and final disposal sites specifically set up for construction waste generated by the earthquakes of September 2017
Facilities willing to set up treatment and final disposal sites for the waste from demolition work and from the buildings damaged by the earthquakes of 7 and 19 September 2017 in the State of Mexico can benefit from less regulation. For example, only a Single Feasibility Opinion (dictamen Único de Factibilidad - DUF) issued by the Secretariat of Urban and Metropolitan Development (Secretaría del Desarrollo Urbano y Metropolitano del Estado) is required and not an environmental impact assessment. Such facilities must also comply with some other requirements, such as having a logbook for the waste generated, treated, and disposed of and submitting every month a report to the Secretariat of Environment of the State of Mexico (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente del Estado de México).

COLOMBIA

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) would be adopted
In the future, manufacturers and/or importers of chemicals would have to classify, label and compile the respective safety data sheets following the requirements established in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Manufacturers and/or importers of chemicals would have to guarantee access to the scientific and technical support used to make the label to the competent authorities the Ministry of Labor (Ministerio del Trabajo), Ministry of Health and Social Protection (Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social), and Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura). The GHS would apply to the transport of chemical products, chemical pesticides for agricultural use, chemicals products used at the workplace, and chemical products intended for consumers.

Production, use, import, or marketing of asbestos or products containing asbestos would be prohibited
In the future, companies would not be able to produce, use, import, export or market asbestos or products containing asbestos. A transition period of five years before a general prohibition is imposed. Once the transitional period has passed, the Ministry of Labor (Ministerio del Trabajo) could grant a special and temporal permit of up to five years to industries that prove the scientific and technical impossibility to substitute asbestos. During this period the respective industry would have to take all necessary measures to overcome the impossibility.

Tighter national air quality standards adopted
As of 1 January 2018, operators could be subject to restrictions on air pollutant emissions following the adoption of Resolution 2254 of 2017 establishing national environmental air quality standards. The Resolution reduces maximum permissible levels of contaminants in the air for particulate matter and substances such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. The Resolution is addressed to governmental environmental authorities and does not directly impose requirements on companies. However, its approval can lead to the adoption of stricter air emissions for operators.

COSTA RICA

Inventory and labelling of equipment with Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) required for the first time
As of 10 February 2018, companies having or using equipment (such as transformers and capacitors), oils, or waste that contain, are contaminated or could be contaminated with Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) must register. Companies must label such equipment in order to identify which ones are contaminated, might be contaminated or are free of PCB. By 10 August 2020 companies must submit an inventory of equipment and materials containing or contaminated with PCB.

Registration and notification of chemical products updated
As of 1 May 2018, manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemical products have to classify them and make the respective label and safety data sheets (SDS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), sixth version in Spanish. Manufacturers or importers must also notify the Ministry of Health about the import or marketing of a chemical product that due to its characteristics is not considered as hazardous. Moreover, companies have to provide additional information to register explosive and pyrotechnics products, products with enzymes and non-pathogenic bacteria.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Proposal on a technical regulation on air quality
In the future, companies emitting pollutants listed in a draft regulation would have to comply with maximum permissible limits. Some of the new pollutants that would be controlled are cadmium, vanadium, toluene, ammonia, chlorophenol, sulfur dichloride, and nickel. Also, burning solid waste in the open air would be prohibited. Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) would be able to conduct random inspections to check companies without previous notice.

BRAZIL - RIO DE JANEIRO

Fines for environmental infractions can now be converted into environmental services
Companies can now request the conversion of fines for environmental infractions into environmental services or projects designed to preserve, improve and recover environmental quality.

Enterprises that cause acid rain in areas located close to the Atlantic Forest Biome could be denied licensing
The Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro issued a Law proposal that, if adopted, will deny licensing to companies planning to operate projects that would cause acid rain (operations using nitrogen and sulfur oxides which are converted into nitric and sulfuric acid) in areas located up to 20km from the Atlantic Forest Biome.

 

Europe

 

EUROPEAN UNION

Criteria to identify endocrine disrupters in biocidal products adopted
As of 7 June 2018, companies placing on the market biocidal products must refer to criteria established in the Annex to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/2100 to assess if their products contain substances with endocrine disrupting properties. These criteria are based on the WHO definitions for endocrine disrupters and adverse effects developed. According to the Biocidal Products Regulation EU/528/2012, companies cannot use substances having endocrine disruptor properties in biocidal products they place on the market in the EU.

Member States would evaluate 107 substances during 2018-2020
Companies with registration obligations under the REACH Regulation should review the draft Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) for 2018-2020, listing 107 substances to be evaluated by Member States between 2018 and 2020. 16 of these substances would be new compared to the CoRAP 2017-2019. In addition to the chemical substance name, the draft CoRAP would list the substance identifier (CAS- and EC-numbers), the foreseen year of evaluation, the contact details of the evaluating Member State, and the initial grounds for concern. The draft CoRAP would also identify groups of structurally similar substances that potentially could be evaluated together. Registrants could be required to update their registration dossier with additional information, if the evaluation of a substance in the draft CoRAP would consider that more information is necessary to clarify risks related to a substance.

List of CMR substances restricted under Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation to be aligned with current harmonized classification under CLP Regulation
As of 1 December 2018, manufacturers and importers of further substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxicant (CMR) of categories 1A or 1B would not be allowed to place them on the market or supply them to general public. In the case of ‘formaldehyde . . . %’, the restriction would apply 20 days after the draft Regulation publication in the Official Journal. This would follow from a draft Regulation amending Appendices 2, 4 and 6 of Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation, to align the list of restricted CMR substances with the current version of Part 3 of Annex VI the CLP Regulation.

Restriction on the manufacture, marketing and use of 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) proposed
In the future, companies would not be allowed to manufacture, place on the market or use 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) (CAS 872-50-4) as a substance on its own or in mixtures in a concentration equal to or greater than 0.3%, according to a draft Regulation amending Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation. This restriction would not apply if workers’ exposure would not exceed Derived No-Effect Levels (DNELS) of 14.4 mg/m3, for inhalation, and 4.8 mg/kg/day, for dermal exposure. The restriction would apply 2 years after the draft Regulation entry into force (6 years for NMP for use or used as a solvent or reactant in the process of coating wires).

EU/INTERNATIONAL
Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) enters into force on 1 January 2019
The Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, which will bring about a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is ratified by 20 parties and, thus, will enter into force on 1 January 2019. According to the Ozone Secretariat, by the late 2040s, all Parties are expected to consume no more than 15-20 % of their respective baselines. A freeze year is a year that the HFCs phase-down will start. The Kigali Amendment does not impact companies based in the EU as Regulation EU/517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases already foresees significant cuts on the production of HFCs. Under this Regulation, the number of products with HFCs placed on the EU market has to be reduced by 79% by 2030, compared to year 2015.

EEU (EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION)

A list of standards to be used to ensure requirements of Technical regulation on restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in EEE adopted
Facilities can use the adopted list of 9 standards containing methods of tests and measurements, which should be used for insuring electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) compliance with the requirements of Technical regulation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in EEE.  According to the TR, EEE with concentration of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers above the concentration limits provided in Annex 2 of the TR are prohibited on the EEU market from 1 March 2020.

BELGIUM

Instrument for employers to measure burnout, based on a new definition, available as of January 2018
As of 1 January 2018, employers will be able to use a new instrument to diagnose if their employees, for example, have a burnout. On 27 October 2017, the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue (Federale Overheidsdienst Werkgelegenheid, Arbeid en Sociaal Overleg – Service Public Fédéral Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale) published an article about a new diagnose instrument for burnout. A team of researches of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) developed this instrument to diagnose and measure burnout, based on a new definition of burnout. The instrument is called the “Burnout Assessment Tool” (BAT). With the introduction of the BAT, the number of employees with a burnout should decrease. It could also be a tool for dealing with the detection, treatment of patients (which treatments work well and which ones should be deleted) and burnout prevention.

THE NETHERLANDS

Report of Health Council states that night work causes health problems on short term and long term
On 24 October 2017, the Health Council (Gezondheidsraad) published its advice on the newest scientific insights in the area of health risks caused by night work. The main advice is that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid) should limit night work where it is possible, because it has a lot of negative effects on the health of the employees. Night work causes health problems on short term, such as sleeping problems, and on long term, such as diabetes mellitus (type 2) and hart and vain deceases. The more years a person works at night, the higher the risk. This report could lead to the adoption of a new law or a limit on night work.

ITALY

Simplified and harmonized rules on the management of excavated material
Companies carrying out works that require excavations and creating excavated material benefit from a simplified and systematic legal framework concerning the management of such materials, in particular for using them as a by-product. This results from the adoption of the Decree of the President of the Republic 13 June 2017, n. 120 on simplified rules on management of excavated rocks and ground, which sets the criteria to be fulfilled in order to consider excavated materials as by-products and establishes different procedures for using such material depending to the size of the company.

Adoption of the National Strategy for sustainable development by the government
Following the adoption of the National Strategy for sustainable development approved on the 2 October 2017, companies may expect the government to adopt measures in favor of waste prevention and recycling, green energy and reduction of gas emissions in the near future.  The strategy and sets the action priorities for the period 2017-2030, implementing, among others, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development goals. The National Strategy is divided in five pillars: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, each of which has generic strategic national goals to be attained and the description of the current situation in each field that requires interventions. A comparison with the summary of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals per each section is also provided. 

LUXEMBOURG

Stricter rules on water management
Companies operating with surface and underground waters are required to comply with stricter rules due to the adoption of Law 20 July 2017 editing the modified law 19 December 2008 on water. The reform maintains the majority of the current provisions unchanged and modifies specific parts such as those related to taxation, drinking water protection, water abstraction and sanctions. Powers and prerogatives of the public authorities are also extended, enhanced and detailed.

Stricter legal framework concerning fuels for road vehicles and machinery
Companies involved in the manufacturing and distribution of fuels other than biofuels are subject to a new obligation of reducing life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy from fuel and energy supplied according to updated methods of calculation due to the adoption of Grand Ducal Regulation of 29 August 2017. The goal is to reduce emissions down to at least 6% within 31 December 2020, comparing with the standard rules for fossil fuels set in 2010. The key element of the calculation is the intensity of greenhouse gases of a distributor: the Grand Ducal Regulation provides the method of calculation and declaration of the intensity of greenhouse emissions. The reform also establishes detailed provisions addressed to public authorities for carrying out inspections and for achieving a better implementation.

SWITZERLAND

Revised harmonized standards for personal protective equipment (PPE)
Manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) can refer to an updated set of harmonized European standards (published by the Secretariat for Economic Affairs - SECO) to profit from the presumption of compliance with the essential health and safety requirements, where their products are manufactured according to these standards. The application of these harmonized standards is not mandatory. Users of PPE can also use the harmonized standards as selection criteria for acquiring PPE, if it is indicated on the PPE or its packaging. The text of such harmonized standards is available upon payment of a fee.

Revised harmonized standards for equipment and protective systems in potentially explosive atmospheres
Companies manufacturing equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres are subject to updated harmonized standards published by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, which implement in the Swiss legislation the latest development of EU provisions on the issue. The text of such harmonized standards is available upon payment of a fee.

UNITED KINGDOM

Guidance documents issued in relation to numerous products
Companies manufacturing, supplying or using a number of different products can consult guidance documents issued by the UK Government on Regulations which are part of the ‘New legislative Framework’(NLF). The NLF introduces common administrative requirements and clarifies the duties of those in the supply chain. The guidance documents can be consulted to determine whether a product meets essential requirements of the legislation. Guidance has been issued for a range of products including, electrical equipment, equipment designed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, lifts and pressure equipment.

Proposals for a revised system of energy and carbon reporting open for comments
Companies can submit their views on proposals to streamline the energy and carbon reporting framework. Currently in the UK, a number of reporting schemes are running concurrently. These include the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, and Greenhouse Gas Reporting. The UK government has proposed to abolish the CRC scheme and allow for the reporting requirements of the other schemes to be met within the annual reporting requirements of the Companies Act 2006. Comments can be submitted until 4 January 2018.

NORTHERN IRELAND

First aid qualifications no longer need approval from the Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland
Companies no longer need to ensure that the training their first aiders have undergone is approved by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI). This is due to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) (Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 which removes this requirement. However,
employers must continue to ensure that an adequate number of suitable persons are trained in first aid, as appropriate in the circumstances. The requirement concerning HSENI approval has been removed to prevent restrictions on the choice of training provider to employers, providing greater flexibility and possibly reducing costs. 

SPAIN

Fewer companies considered as having potentially soil-polluting activities
As of 10 November 2017, some companies stopped being considered as having potentially soil-polluting activities and therefore were released from the related reporting obligations. Among other things, in regard to the chemical industry, the enrichment of uranium and thorium is not covered by provisions of Royal Decree 9/2005 anymore. Also, in regard to the pharmaceutical industry, the manufacture of radioactive substances for live diagnosis is left out of the applicability scope of Royal Decree 9/2005. In addition, in regard to storage facilities, the storage of only non-gaseous hazardous goods is considered as a potentially soil-polluting activity.

CATALONIA

Law on Climate Change approved
As of 1 January 2021, manufacturers of industrial products will have to include a carbon footprint assessment on the label and packaging (occupying at least 10% of the label). This follows from the approval of Law 16/2017 of 1 August of climate change. In addition, companies applying for a building license (to construct new buildings or carry out major modifications of existing ones) will have to include a plan of compliance with a zero-emissions model as of 1 January 2020. Companies can also expect stricter requirements in the field of greenhouse gases and pollutant emissions, disposal and management of waste and energy use as a consequence of the Law.

MALTA

Stricter alcohol limits or drivers and increased sanctions as of 1 December 2017
As of 1 December 2017, companies must ensure that any person driving road vehicles they own or manage are not under the influence of alcohol exceeding the stricter concentration limits established in the Traffic Regulation Ordinance (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act XIV of 2017). Drivers of commercial vehicles and those in the possession of a probationary driving license must comply with new specific limits. Those allowing a non-licensed driver to drive a vehicle they own or manage can be subject to stricter sanctions (fine up to EUR 1,200, up to 1 year of imprisonment or both).

PORTUGAL

Labeling and reporting requirements of the F-gases Regulation implemented into Portuguese law
As of 1 January 2018, companies placing on the market products and equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) must ensure their label is written in Portuguese. Containers with F-gases for recycling or destruction must display a label with their identification according to the European List of Waste (LoW). This follows from Decree Law 145/2017 implementing Regulation EU/517/2014 into Portuguese law, which, among others, details on the submission of the annual reports to the Portuguese environment Agency (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente – APA) by operators of specific equipment containing F-gases (by 31 March) and by importers and distributors of F-gases and producers of equipment containing G-gases (by 30 June). As before operators of equipment containing F-gases must check that there are no leaks after installation or reconversion and keep records of these checks for at least 5 years.

Mandatory audits to air conditioning systems of large industrial and administrative buildings proposed
In the future, owners and managers of large industrial and administrative buildings would have to carry out audits on the buildings’ air conditioning systems and any other systems likely to have colonies of legionella. Owners and managers of large administrative building (those with more than 1000 m2 of useful floor area) would also have to carry out audits to assess internal air quality. In administrative buildings with an air conditioning system producing aerosols, the audit would have to include the research of colonies of legionella in water samples collected in major risk areas, such as cooling water tanks. The audits frequency would be set in implementing legislation. These requirements would follow from 2 draft Laws currently pending in the National Assembly (Assembleia da República – AR).

BULGARIA

Shorter period for obtaining work permits for persons under 18 years of age
As of 8 August 2017, employers can obtain work permits for persons under 18 within 7 days from submission of full application from the Regional Labour Inspectorate. This comes from the adoption of Ordinance on Changes and Amendments of Ordinance № 6 of 24.07.2006 on the Terms and Conditions for Granting Work Permits to Persons Under 18 SG 64/08.08.2017.

ROMANIA

Operators involved in transport of radioactive material to comply with specific requirements
Since 30 October 2017, facilities involved in the inland transport of radiological material, such as shippers, loaders and transporters, must ensure they comply with the specific requirements of Order no. 222/2017. These requirements adapt those applicable to all facilities handling radioactive material to take into account the specific requirements related to the transport of radioactive material, such as on packaging and labeling requirements, and exposure during loading and unloading operations. Among other requirements, operators must have a radiation protection program, provide training to workers involved in the transport of radioactive material, and ensure they are not exposed to radiation exceeding the allowed limits. Shippers must ensure packaging and labels comply with the requirements of ADR/RID/ADN, contract only licensed transporters, and provide them with a transport document and all required information.

Methodology for establishing adequate distances for sources of potential risks within major-accident hazard facilities adopted
Since 21 October 2017, operators planning to build new or modify existing major-accident hazard facilities or buildings within these facilities must refer to the methodology approved by Order no. 3710/1212/99/2017 to establishing adequate distances from the facility and surrounding areas. The methodology defines the criteria to be taken into account to establish adequate distances, to protect the health and safety of surrounding populations and the surrounding environment. The permitting authorities can only authorize major-accident hazard facilities which location complies with the relevant minimum safety distances. The methodology does not impact the validity of licenses of existing major-accident hazard facilities.

RUSSIA

Facilities have to calculate the volume of indirect energy emissions of CO2 and compile a report
Facilities consuming electrical and/or thermal energy received from external generating objects have to calculate the volume of indirect energy emissions of CO2, as a result of such consumption. The calculation has to be done once per calendar year, in accordance with the formulas provided by Order No. 330 of 29 June 2017. On the basis of the calculation, facilities have to compile a report with all the data. The report has to be stored at the site in electronic and hard copy for not less than 5 years from the end of the reporting period.

FRANCE

France could ban all production of hydrocarbons by 2040
Companies' operations and production could be impacted by France's plan to ban hydrocarbons by 2040. The French government issued a Law Proposal to end the search and development of conventional and non-conventional hydrocarbons. The French government also intends to limit the consumption of fossil fuels by ending sales of diesel and gasoline in France by 2040. Additionally, in order to improve air quality and reduce population exposure to atmospheric pollution, the government intends to issue decrees setting emission limits to anthropogenic air pollutants for the periods from 2020 to 2024, from 2025 to 2029 and from 2030 onwards.

Important amendment: 31 Rubrics of the nomenclature of classified installations modified
31 of the Rubrics of the nomenclature of classified installations for the protection of the environment were modified on 24 November 2017. Such Rubrics include paper manufacturing, liquefied flammable gases, explosive waste, abrasives, metals as well as artificial and natural minerals. Operators operating or intending to operate a classified installation are subject to the updated requirements on classified installations. Such requirements include threshold levels determining whether an installation is subject to declaration, registration or authorization.

 

Africa

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Facilities would soon be required to obtain a written consent prior to the import, export or transit of waste
Facilities that seek to import or export waste face stricter control measures for the international shipment of waste once the Draft Regulations for the Control of Import or Export of Waste, 2017 is adopted. The purpose of the Draft Regulations is to establish procedures and control regimes for the import, export and transit of waste. Among other things, the Draft Regulations would require facilities to notify the competent authority of its intention to import or export waste, and obtain written consent prior to the waste shipment.

Waste facilities must comply with new norms and standards for the sorting, shredding, grinding, crushing or bailing of general waste
As of 11 October 2017, facilities that engage in the processing of general waste such as the sorting, crushing, grinding or bailing of general waste must comply with strict health and safety rules for the processing of such wastes. This follows from the publication of the National Norms and Standards for the Sorting, Crushing, Screening or Bailing of General Waste, which provides a uniform national approach for the management of facilities that engage in the processing of general waste. Under the Norms, facilities that process general waste, or waste facilities must among other things register with the Minister of Environment and comply with stricter measures for the operation of the waste facility.

MALI

Employers must ensure all their workers are provided with at least 24 hours of weekly rest period
As of 12 June 2017, employers must comply with stricter workplace requirements as described under the Law No. 2017-021/of 12 June 2017 amending the Labor Code. Among other things, employers must provide all workers with a mandatory 24 hours weekly rest period, and ensure that women and children workers are provided with a rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours.

KENYA

Employers must establish lactation stations for their nursing employees
Since July 2017, employers must establish lactation stations on their premises and ensure they are adequately equipped for their nursing employees. This follows from the adoption of the Health Act, 2017 which provides general measures to regulate healthcare services providers but also include specific requirements applicable to all employers. Under the Act, employers must among other things provide lactation stations for their nursing employees and ensure nursing employees are afforded break intervals to breastfeed. The lactation stations must be equipped with the appropriate equipment including hand washing equipment, cooling facilities or electrical outlets for breast pumps.

Facilities that own commercial vehicles will soon have to comply with stricter drivers' safety measures
Owners and operators of commercial vehicles will soon be required to ensure that their drivers comply with strict safety requirements as described under the National Transport and Safety Authority (Operations of Commercial Services Vehicles) Regulations, 2017. The Draft Regulations would among other things require carriers and owners to ensure that every driver takes a minimum mandatory rest of at least one hour for each period spent driving continuously for four hours. In addition, drivers of heavy commercial vehicles would also have to keep a daily log sheet for their on-duty and off-duty time.

 

Middle East

 

TURKEY

Companies within the scope of the SEVESO Regulation must renotify the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation
Until 18 July 2018, operators of all facilities, established in Turkey, where dangerous substances listed in Part 1 and 2 of Annex 1 of the SEVESO Regulation are present or will be present (i.e. ammonium nitrate and/or potassium nitrate) must renew the notification that they have made to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation as required. This is required since the Seveso Regulation was amended to be in line with Seveso III Directive of the European Union (2012/18/EU). Moreover, operators of all facilities within the scope of the Regulation are granted more time (until 1 July 2019) to reduce the frequency of the occurrence of possible major accident scenarios related to dangerous equipment, calculated through quantitative risk assessment (1x10e-4 or less). This was required by 1 July 2017. The deadlines to prepare and send a 'safety report' and 'major accident prevention policy document' to the Ministry have also been postponed, namely to 31 December 2018.

JORDAN

Stricter pollutant limits to discharged industrial wastewater
From 16 October 2017, companies discharging wastewater resulting from activities other than household activities to the public sewer system are subject to stricter requirements. Such companies are required to comply with more stringent restrictions on the amount of pollutants that can be found in their wastewater before it is discharged in the public sewer system. Instructions of 2017 on the discharge of wastewater resulting from activities other than residential activities into the sewer system repeal and replace Instructions of 1998 of the Minister of Water and Irrigation on the disposal of industrial and commercial wastewater. The new Instructions keep the same requirements found under the 1998 requirement, such as the requirement to obtain the approval of the Water Authority of Jordan before discharging wastewater resulting from commercial and industrial activities in the public sewer system, but introduce more stringent levels for the amount of pollutants that can be found in the wastewater before its discharged and provide further details of the fees that will be required from companies discharging their wastewater in the public sewer system.

 

Asia-Pacific

 

AUSTRALIA

Companies must now comply with significant changes introduced to the Work Health and Safety legislation of several Australian states and territories. Many of these changes have the potential to impact companies in all industries and sectors. In most cases, active steps do not need to be taken to implement changes to company operations. Rather, companies must simply continue to ensure that they continue to comply with their obligations under the WHS legislation relevant to the state or territory in which they operate. Specific examples of changes introduced include:

  • A new industrial manslaughter offense in Queensland for individuals and companies whose negligent conduct results in the death of a worker (carrying a maximum fine of AUD 10 million for companies and up to 20 years imprisonment for individuals);
  • New penalty notices in New South Wales (NSW) for companies and persons who carry out work at a workplace without the appropriate authorization (such as carrying out high-risk work without the appropriate high-risk work license), carrying a maximum fine of AUD 3,600 for companies and AUD 720 for individuals;
  • Strengthened powers for health and safety representatives (HSRs) in South Australia- from 14 February 2018, HSRs will be able to request the assistance of any person in relation to a WHS matter and will no longer be restricted to only requesting the assistance of a person who works at the workplace, is involved in the management of the relevant business or undertaking, or an approved consultant; and
  • Increased offenses and higher penalties under the OHS Act in Victoria due to changes such as: an extension of the limitation period during which prosecutions can be brought in relation to indictable offenses; the introduction of a fresh evidence rule allowing prosecutions to be brought even after the limitation period has expired; and increased penalties for failure to notify incidents to WorkSafe Victoria and preserve incident sites.
  • A new prohibition on carrying out electrical work on energized electrical equipment in Western Australia, to apply from 15 May 2018 (this is an entirely new prohibition in WA).

In addition, companies whose operations involve the import of bulk hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or that hold a refrigeration, air-conditioning or fire protection industry permit allowing them to acquire, handle or recover certain ozone depleting substances (such as HFCs and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) must comply with changes introduced to the Ozone Protection and Greenhouse Management (OPSGGM) Act and its implementing legislation. In line with the phase-down of HFCs set to enter into force in Australia on 1 January 2018, companies that wish to import bulk hydrofluorocarbons into Australia for the 2018-2019 allocation period must have submitted their quota allocation application to the Department of Environment and Energy by 22 September 2017. The DEE will be conducting a ballot in order to determine allocations and will announce those allocations by late 2017 (as of 8 December 2017, this had not yet happened). Companies that hold a refrigeration, air-conditioning or fire-protection industry permit, on the other hand, can now benefit from the introduction of new provisions allowing them to renew their permit (rather than having to apply for an entirely new permit) and, in most cases, the maximum duration period for these permits has been extended to 36 months (from the current validity period of 12-24 months). 

SINGAPORE

Mercury pollution and use will be curbed under Singapore's ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury
On 22 September 2017, Singapore ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury (the Convention). Prior to the ratification, Singapore has signed the Minamata Convention on 10 October 2013 to demonstrate its commitment to safeguard public health and the environment. To implement the Convention, Singapore will enhance domestic controls relating to the supply and trade of mercury and mercury compounds, including to reduce the use of mercury in products and processes, and the releases of mercury into the environment. For instance, Singapore will prohibit products that contain mercury, such as non-electronic measuring devices (thermometers and blood pressure devices), to be imported for local use.

CHINA

NATIONAL
2nd National Survey of Pollution Sources to be launched on 31 December 2017
On 31 December 2017, the State Council will launch China's Second National Survey of Pollution Sources. The Survey will be conducted in the year of 2018. All industrial facilities and agricultural facilities that discharge pollutants, centralized pollution control sites, as well as mobile sources will be surveyed on information such as basic enterprise status, raw material consumption and production, and the generation, control, emission and utilization of pollutants. The Survey will be conducted by local government agencies.

Stricter licensing requirements for importing wastes that can be used as raw materials proposed
In the future, companies that import solid waste subject to importation restrictions could be subject to stricter licensing requirements, according to the proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection and Management Measures on Wastes that can be used as Raw Materials under Restricted Import Licensing Control. Companies would no longer be able to use an agent company to import solid waste and would be required to hold a valid Pollutant Discharge Permits to obtain an Import Licenses for Solid Waste. Companies would also have to provide further information when applying for an Import Licenses for Solid Waste.

SHANGHAI
Hydroclorofluorocarbons and persistent organic pollutants must be registered for production, sale and use
Beginning from 16 August 2017, companies in Shanghai that produce, sell or use hydroclorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), certain listed toxic chemicals (such as mercury and arsenic) or regulated persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are required to register with the municipal Environmental Protection Bureau through the municipal Information Platform. The concerned chemicals include HCFC, toxic chemicals that are listed in the List of Severely Restricted Toxic Chemicals for Export and Import [中国严格限制进出口的有毒化学品目录] and the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Circular on Continuing the Implementation of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Statistics Collection [关于实施持久性有机污染物统计报表制度的通知].

VIETNAM

Major chemical amendment imposes tighter requirements on chemical safety management
As of 25 November 2017, companies manufacturing, selling, importing, exporting, or using chemicals in Vietnam, especially when listed under the revised five chemical lists in the annexes, are required to comply with stringent requirements regarding storage, preservation, transportation, packaging, safety trainings, and waste management as specified under the Government’s Decree No. 113/2017/ND-CP adopted on 9 October 2017, which is major amendment of the 2007 legislation. The chemical lists include chemicals subject to conditional production or import (Annex I), chemicals restricted from production or trade (Annex II), banned chemicals (Annex III), hazardous chemicals subject to incident prevention and disaster response plans (Annex IV), and chemicals subject to compulsory declaration (Annex V). Chemicals listed under Annex I and II are subject to obtaining a license prior to conducting respective activities of production or trading. Chemicals listed under Annex V are subject to a compulsory declaration, where manufacturers declare in annual reports, and importers declare upon every importation by creating an account at the national one-door website, and ensure their imported chemicals are declared before customs clearance through the national one-door website. 

TAIWAN

Companies manufacturing and importing new and existing chemical substances to Taiwan would comply with more stringent requirements concerning the management of chemicals
The Proposal to the Measures on Registration for New Chemical Substances and Existing Chemical Substances would adopt several new requirements regarding the management of existing and new chemical substances in Taiwan. For example, if the company intends to apply for an extension for the existing registration, it would need to submit a predicted amount of chemical substances that will be manufactured or imported in next calendar year. In addition, if the company manufactures or imports existing chemicals substances reaching a threshold of 100 kilograms annually for the first time, it would need to register within 6 months after the situation changes. Finally, if the company holds a valid registration of new chemical substances or existing substances, it would need to submit the amounts of these chemical substances from the previous calendar year to Environmental Protection Administration website during 1 March to 30 June each year.