Welcome to the NCEC Newsletter and thank you for reading 

In this issue, we provide an overview of recent changes in legislation; highlight the increase in the number of calls we've received over the last year; an update on our training, provide a free SDS white paper; announce the launch of the new version of Chemedox and take a look at someof the interesting calls we've received.

I hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and if there is anything you would like us to feature in the coming months, then please feel free to contact me.

Daniel Haggarty of the National Chemical Emergency Centre

    Dan Haggarty
    Emergency Response Manager

    E: ncec@ricardo-aea.com
    T: +44 (0) 1235 753654




Interesting calls 


Killer tomatoes




Nine people working at a vegetable packing plant were hospitalised with carbon monoxide gas poisoning. A fire officer attending the incident contacted the NCEC for help in determining the source of the gas, which appeared to be a storage area full of tomatoes.

NCEC confirmed that the carbon monoxide levels around the tomatoes, which were measured by the fire officer using detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) equipment, were high enough to disable staff, but he should also eliminate other possible gas sources as a precaution. It was explained to the fire officer that the gas was added to tomato storage areas to slow the ripening process and reduce freezer burn.

NCEC’s responders have undergone extensive scientific and specialist training, and have significant industry experience and knowledge, which can be called upon to help you resolve a chemical incident – no matter how unusual it might be.



carbon monoxide levels around the tomatoes


Unidentified, crushed and ruptured drum


A drum fell from a lorry and was then crushed by another vehicle. The contents of the drum spilled across the road and scorched the grass verge.

A fire service crew in gas tight chemical protective suits went to examine the spill and identify the liquid, but were unable to find any labelling on the drum, but did measure the pH. From this information, NCEC’s emergency responder was able to determine that it was acidic and suggested a number of acids that it could be. We provided spill remediation advice, which helped the fire and rescue service to quickly control the incident and keep the area safe.

NCEC’s responders are able to interpret minimal information to provide practical advice to first responders, helping them to make the right decisions despite the uncertainty.



Unidentified, crushed and ruptured drum


Emergency calls

In addition to being the UK’s national chemical incident advice line for the emergency services, NCEC provides emergency lines to a wide range of commercial companies, as part of our CareChem24 scheme. Most of the commercial calls we receive are confidential and many of our public sector calls involve ongoing investigations by the police or regulatory authorities. Therefore, we are unable to provide a complete picture of the broad spectrum of emergency calls we receive. However, below is summary information of some of the topics we have been contacted about that involve chemicals:

  • Three illegal drugs labs (one making amphetamines, one making mescaline and one unknown).
  • Over 50 medical and first aid calls relating to chemical exposure.
  • A derailed train.
  • Over 20 instances of animals exposed to chemicals.
  • A suspected vehicle bomb.
  • Incidents causing road closures.
  • An incident on a container ship.
  • Two calls involving dry picric acid, a shock-sensitive explosive.

So, while we might not be able to provide detailed accounts of all the calls we have received, the above demonstrates the diverse range of incidents we deal with and the variety of people we help – from the public and commercial clients to the emergency services and even the bomb squad.

We are constantly striving to improve our incident response service and offer our clients the best chemical emergency advice that is available anywhere in the world.

  Emergency telephone number service  

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NCEC continues to grow 


NCEC's emergency response service continues to grow

  NCEC continues to expand its emergency response service to global clients. In 2014, we received over 7,000 international calls that used our translation services and involved over 40 languages. Overall, compared with the number of calls received in 2012, our highly trained chemists dealt with an almost 50% increase in calls in 2014 from the public, industry and emergency services in relation to chemical incidents. 

NCEC’s emergency responders are all qualified chemists and undertake extensive training before they are considered competent to deal with the wide range and increasing number of calls we receive from around the globe. 


Jon Gibbard, NCEC Director comments: "The demand for our services continued to grow throughout 2014 and as a result we have made significant investment in the technology and people that deliver our leading 24/7 multilingual emergency telephone response service. The investments we have made are helping to ensure that our customers can have complete peace of mind that we can help them to achieve regulatory compliance and to mitigate the risks in their operations.

We will be welcoming additional emergency responders to the team this year and are looking forward to continuing to provide our leading support for our customers during 2015."


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Legislation updates 


CLP - June 2015 (Free SDS white paper)

With the June 2015 CLP SDS deadline fast approaching, we have put together a short white paper to help highlight some of the areas that we find are comonly non-compliant with the requirement of the regulations. We will also be making a short video to go with the white paper, which will be available in February.

To download the white paper and register your interest in the video, please click here.

ADR 2015

As part of European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) has published ADR 2015 and corrigendum No 1 as a PDF in English.

These are available at www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/adr/adr2015/15contentse.html

Free ADR changes video

NCEC is in the process of compiling information about the ADR changes and this will be available in early February as a prerecorded presentation, to register your interest in the video please click here.

IATA 2015

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued a new addendum (No 1) to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. For more information visitwww.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/dgr56-addendum1-en-20140108.pdf.

Turkish safety data sheet (SDS) Regulation

Turkey published a new SDS Regulation in December. For more information visit www.crad.com.tr/eng/956 .

L133 – Unloading petrol from road tankers: ACOP and guidance (2nd edition)

The second edition of The Approved Code or Practice (ACOP) for unloading petrol from road tankers was published in 2014. This latest edition brings the document up to date with legislation and simplifies and clearly explains the requirements by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) in relation to petrol unloading operations.


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The growing pressure on companies to ensure regulatory compliance during 2014 saw an increase in demand for support from our training team.  In 2015, we expect this trend to carry on as we continue to provide a range of courses that meet the needs of those who require a better understanding of the chemicals they work with, how to safely handle them and what to do if something goes wrong.

Most recently, we have successfully delivered Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Assessment training for a large private healthcare company – providing presentations to a variety of staff ranging from cleaners to surgeons at over 20 company sites throughout England.

We open 2015 by taking our Chemical Hazard Awareness and Spill Response course on the road. This course will be held at the Hazchem Network depot in Rugby on 29 January. More details can be found here. Further information about our schedule of courses that are planned for this year can be found here.

We will also be shortly launching our new online training platform, which will provide modules from our full courses. If you would like more information about our online training, please email ncec@ricardo-aea.com.

We are pleased to welcome Caroline Raine to our training team. Her expertise will enable us to further develop our range of chemical safety training courses.

If you think we can help you work safely in 2015, then please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Global Chemical Congress 


With such a full agenda for the two day Global Chemical Congress, the follow 3 articles highlight some of the key topics that will be discussed.

Are you crisis ready?

Many companies tell us they are unsure of their state of ‘crisis readiness’. The GCC will enable attendees to compare their existing systems against examples of good practice, and against compliance with British and International Standards. Read more...

Resources for Regulatory Professionals

Regulatory professionals are reporting that they are busier than ever, and are having to work with a bewildering and ever-growing list of regulations. Read more...

The cost of not training people

In this article Caroline Raine highlights the importance of training and the experts available on the topic at the Global Chemial Congress. Read more...

In addition to the presentation sessions there is also the opportunity to meet with a wide range of industry experts and regulators through 1-2-1 sessions during the event.


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New version of Chemedox 

  latest version of SDS management software, chemedox


We are pleased to announce the launch of the latest version of NCEC's SDS management solution, Chemedox. For more information on how Chemedox can support your business to better manage your SDS or for a free demonstration click here


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