We systematically identify, assess and control risks across the entire lifecycle of our products – from materials purchasing and manufacturing up to the use of our products by the customer. The basis for this is our global guideline for product responsibility. The implementation of these guidelines is verified through global audits. We have also established specific standards that cover the core areas of product stewardship. These include guidelines on:
The introduction of new products
The classification and labelling of chemicals and hazardous substances
The introduction and sale of sensitive chemicals
The production of safety data sheets
Safety checks carried out with customers
The management of product liability risks for new products and applications
The transport of gases
The potential of products to harm individuals and the environment is assessed in a defined process. The scope of our analysis includes, among others, risk properties, ecological impact and toxicity. Even during the development of new solutions, we analyse potential safety, health and environmental risks that could emerge during the product life cycle. A defined process governs which steps must be taken before a product is released for sale. In addition, we conduct life cycle analyses for our main air gases to identify their CO2 footprint along the entire value chain. The analysis covers the full product lifecycle raw materials, production, distribution, use and disposal.
Responsibility along the value chain
Highlighted: Areas of the value chain relating to the issues covered on this page
Safety in product use
When we hand over our products to our customers, we want to make sure that they are informed of all necessary safety measures, and that they understand our products and their properties. Therefore, we provide around 25,000 safety data sheets for our products – in the languages of those countries in which Linde operates. We also offer our customers a wide range of additional information on the handling, storage and labelling of gases. This and further information is available online for customers and the public.
We also offer safety training to our customers. The topics covered include precautions for the transport, use and storage of our products. Service offerings related to gas supply complete the spectrum. The offerings range from risk assessments and preparation of explosion protection documents to the inspection, maintenance and repair of customer gas supply systems. Depending on the risk, specially trained Linde employees also make pre-delivery checks at customer sites to ensure that everything required to properly handle gases is in place. Our emergency teams are available to support customers outside of business hours and at weekends.
For our medical gases, it is particularly important to ensure safe product handling as well as uniform high quality in terms of gas purity. Linde adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for quality management and control of medical products, and to Good Distribution Practices (GDP) for the storage and distribution of medical gases.
Legal guidelines and international standards
The European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation stipulates that the impact on health and the environment must be tested for any chemical materials that exceed the annual production or import volume of one ton. Similarly, REACH sets out a fixed timeline for the registration of these products.
The Linde Group meets REACH requirements to the full extent. A team of over 30 specialists throughout Europe has been set up to coordinate compliance with REACH. Moreover, we work actively with the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) and other trade associations as well as with customers and suppliers to ensure implementation of REACH compliance processes. Our REACH online portal provides information on how we meet our obligations as a manufacturer, importer and user of chemical materials. We also report on which substances are registered by Linde, as well as how we inform our customers and suppliers.
Our products and packages are labelled in accordance with international and local laws as well as internationally recognized standards. One example is labelling as specified in the European Union directive on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP regulation).
Our product stewardship programme exceeds the legally required scope. We also support international standards, such as the Global Product Strategy (GPS) of the International Council of Chemical Associations for the safe handling of chemical substances, and the Global Harmonized System (GHS) of the United Nations for the classification and labelling of chemicals.