Welcome to the NCEC Newsletter and thank you for reading

In this issue we cover...

Regulatory News

EU Commission launches new online tool for poison centres.

Updates to the regulations concerning the transport of lithium batteries.

Complimentary Resources

The business case for professional emergency response - breaking down the technical capacity required to fulfil its purpose.

Upcoming webinar - 'Implementing effective incident notification'.

Events & Training

In January, ChemADVISOR and NCEC will offer an update and summary of the major regulatory developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hazmat 2017 - tell us how you think Hazmat response needs to change in the next 10 years.

People News

Chris Lewis, NCEC Senior Crisis Management Consultant receives BCI Gold Award.

Company News

Ricardo Energy & Environment present their 'Energy Impact Report'. How will the change in energy taxation and energy prices impact your organisation?

Interesting Calls

Under the sea.

Fire at a recycling facility.

Chemical fire at a sewage plant.

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

Daniel Haggarty of the National Chemical Emergency Centre

Dan Haggarty

Head of Emergency Response

National Chemical Emergency Centre

E: ncec@ricardo.com

T: +44 (0) 1235 753654

 Regulatory News

European Commission launches a new online tool for chemical companies to generate Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) alphanumeric codes 



In September 2016, EU Member States voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposals to harmonise how companies submit product information to poison centres and other bodies appointed to receive information in the case of poisonings (http://the-ncec.com/blog/). The update to the requirements include the introduction of a UFI to be included on product packaging and/or labelling and safety data sheets. This will come into force for mixtures intended for consumer use in 2020 and for professional and industrial mixtures as of 2021 and 2024 respectively.

Read more





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The transportation of lithium batteries - updates to IATA regulation 


In a world where technology is continually advancing, we are seeing more and more products that contain lithium batteries flood the market. While this technology ultimately serves to make our lives easier, it also comes with added safety risks.

Over the past few months we have seen many reported incidents involving e-cigarettes catching fire while being charged and in people’s pockets and just last month the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), banned all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States following widespread reports of units exploding. Occurrences such as these no doubt pose a number of risks for airlines and airports involved in the transportation cargo containing lithium batteries.

The transportation of lithium batteries is highly regulated and as such, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have recently announced the changes coming in the 58th edition of its ‘Dangerous Goods Regulations’ publication.

Read more





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 Complimentary Resources

The business case for professional emergency response 


Chemical emergency helpline services are designed to support four business objectives.

  • To protect people, environment, assets and reputation (PEAR) from the effects of an incident
  • To reduce the scale and cost of incidents and prevent operational disruption
  • To comply with international regulations demanding telephone emergency response
  • To demonstrate commitments to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Care

This document explains why the UK’s National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) is the most effective emergency response provider for delivery of these core requirements, while offering a potential return on investment of 15 to 1.

Read more






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Upcoming webinar - Implementing effective incident notification 


Providing the right response quickly and confidently during an incident is often the difference between a minor event and a major crisis with lasting damage to businesses’ reputation and bottom line.

The National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) invites you to register for a complimentary webinar entitled ‘Implementing effective incident notification.’ taking place 2PM GMT 17 January 2017. NCEC bring invaluable insight to the field having been at the forefront of emergency response and crisis management for over 40 years.

This webinar will be delivered by NCEC’s Senior Crisis Manager and BCI Gold Award Winner, Chris Lewis, who brings a wealth of global crisis management experience to the table.




Register now


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Events & Training 


Upcoming course - Asia-Pacific Compliance for European Manufacturers, Suppliers and Distributors 


On January 24-25, ChemADVISOR and NCEC will offer an update and summary of the major regulatory developments in the Asia-Pacific region. This training will draw upon the resources of the ChemADVISOR Asia group; ChemADVISOR’s new location in Singapore.

This two-day training course will include information we believe will be of particular use to UK and EU chemical manufacturers and distributors, along with other regulatory professionals:

  • GHS implementation status and details including specific requirements for the SDS and label, mandatory or recommended classification schemes, for all Asia-Pacific countries.
  • Existing and developing inventories (such as Thailand) and their significance for ‘foreign’ companies.
  • REACH-like registration and notification schemes (K-REACH, China REACH, Taiwan REACH), presented assuming attendees are familiar with EU REACH. This portion will include information on data, SIEFs, deadlines and exemptions.
  • An emphasis throughout on ‘responsibility’: while the regulation in many cases places the burden of compliance on the importer, overseas manufacturers and suppliers may wish to handle as much as possible for confidentiality or customer support reasons. We will outline the options of an overseas supplier in each case.

The benefits for delegates include:

  • Access to materials usually not available in English.
  • Identification of official English translation.
  • Real-world solutions and experience shared by the instructors.
  • Being pointed to sources of this information e.g. government gazettes and ministry websites.
  • One month of FREE access to ChemADVISOR's Navigator.

The training will run from 9AM – 4.30PM each day. The first day will include a tour of NCEC’s Emergency Response facilities, as well as an update from NCEC on global ER regulations and meal at a nearby gastropub following the day’s session, included in the course price of 1000GBP. A negotiated discount for rooms at a nearby hotel will be available to attendees.

Learn more and register here - please note that NCEC customers will benefit from a 10% discount!


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How do you think hazmat response will change in the next 10 years? 




To mark the 10-year anniversary of the UK’s premier hazardous materials handling conference, Hazmat 2017, the UK’s National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) is calling on emergency service personnel to submit what they think will be the most important development in hazardous material response over the next 10 years.

Your answers will form the basis of a lively discussion between hazmat experts on the future of hazardous materials response on the second day of the Hazmat 2017 conference, held on the 24 - 25 May 2017 at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

Hosted by NCEC and Tactical Hazmat, the annual conference brings together UK fire, police and ambulance services to network, share experience and update their training profiles on emerging hazards from the front line of hazardous material response.

Read more



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People News 


NCEC Senior Crisis Management Consultant receives BCI Gold Award 




In November, our Senior Crisis Management Lead, Chris Lewis, received the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Gold award for his research paper entitled ‘The changing face of Business Continuity Managers.’ which greatly expanded the understanding of business continuity by investigating a crucial area previously unconsidered within the crisis management framework. Such an award is a testament to Chris’ expertise and reinforces our ability to support companies to improve performance throughout the disaster cycle. Congratulations Chris - an amazing achievement!


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Company News  


Ricardo Energy & Environment present their 'Energy Impact Report'  


During their recent energy taxation webinar Ricardo Energy & Environment asked attendees if they would like to further understand the potential impacts of energy price changes and the changes to energy taxation. The response was an overwhelming 'yes'.

Watch the webinar

As a result, Ricardo Energy & Environment have developed a short questionnaire (in excel) that will enable them to provide you with a high-level custom report, which will outline the potential impacts you will face.

Please download the questionnaire below and return the completed document to ian.behling@ricardo.com to receive a complimentary report.

Download the questionnaire

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 Interesting calls 


Under the sea 




Divers pulled a wedge-shaped substance from the sea floor off the coast of South West England. The exterior of the wedge was a chalky white, but the inside was a waxy red colour. The substance began fuming as soon as the divers got it on their boat and a number of divers examined it when it was brought ashore. The substance was left outside overnight. At around midday the following day, it burst into flames producing a metre-high flame that could not be extinguished with a carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher. The fire and rescue service crew attending the scene contacted NCEC to find out what the substance was, what hazards might be associated with the residue and, from a health point of view, what the divers might have been exposed to.

As phosphorus is usually the cause of incidents such as this, NCEC’s Emergency Responders started their investigation on this basis, but also researched the area where the substance was found. It was discovered that the area had been a naval base and even saw some sea combat in World War 2. After a brief search, our Emergency Responders quickly discovered that the white substance had probably been the filling of a smoke generating munition and was believed to be red phosphorus in a matrix (such as a polymer epoxy binder).

As a result of our extensive database and familiarity with the practical application of many substances, we were able to quickly ascertain the identity of the substance and from there provide information on the residue (likely a mix of polyphosphoric acids), potential health risks and clean-up information.




Fire at a recycling facility  


NCEC received a call from a fire and rescue crew regarding an ongoing fire at a recycling facility. The area was in a large warehouse containing a range of materials including plastics, metals, lithium batteries, a range of compressed gas cylinders including LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders, and diesel. The plume was rising well into the sky and away from a nearby residential area, so this was not a major concern. However, there were a number of business units nearby that could become involved in the fire and one warehouse only metres away was filled with beers and spirits.

Our Emergency Responders advised the crew that nearby residents should remain indoors and close their windows to avoid any exposure to any harmful constituents of the plume. We discussed the type of extinguishing media the crew could apply to the fire and what result this would have on the plume's behaviour. We advised on the likely plume constituents and decomposition products, enabling the incident commander to make an informed risk assessment.

Part of the extensive training our Emergency Responders receive includes an in-depth analysis of chemical and waste fires. Therefore, NCEC's team is well trained in providing advice on how to manage waste fires and very familiar with the hazards presented by them. This is essential to the service we provide as, on average, there is one waste fire a day in the UK. In cases like this, fast, reliable and informed advice can be the difference between a fire that can be managed and one that can get out of control rapidly.


emergency response


Chemical fire at a sewage plant 


A fire and rescue service crew called upon the services of NCEC while dealing with a chemical fire at a sewage plant. The fire had broken out in a hopper filled with a mix of calcium hydroxide and human waste. A build-up of calcium hydroxide in the hopper had been exposed to rainfall overnight and the heat from the reaction of the lime with water had been enough to ignite the gas coming from the decomposing human waste. The crew wanted advice on how to manage this situation, not just how to deal with the fire, but also the biohazard risk associated with the human waste.

Our Emergency Responders informed the crew that water should not be used as this would react with the calcium hydroxide to produce more heat and was unlikely to extinguish the fires. Following discussions with the crew, it was decided that the best plan of action would be to move as much site equipment away from the fire as possible and then allow it to burn out. We recommended this course of action as the fire was relatively small and confined within the hopper. Furthermore, this approach avoided the use of specialist extinguishing media and meant that the biohazardous waste would not be spread around.

The fire was closely monitored by the crew and after a period of time burnt itself out, and the facility was able to return to normal operations.

NCEC’s team of specialists is available 24/7 to provide operational advice to responders dealing with incidents and suggest approaches that will minimise the risks to people, the environment, assets and reputation.




Questions about NCEC

Would you like more information about NCEC?

Email: ncec@ricardo.com or Tel: +44 (0) 1235 753654

NCEC was recently contacted by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, who were at the disused Dorchester Prison. A container of test tubes had been discovered by archaeologists during site excavation. These tubes were marked “Home Office” and with the names of a number of chemical weapons: Mustard Gas, B.B.C., D.M. and Lewisite. A bomb disposal team were en-route but the Fire Service wanted more advice.


NCEC’s responder explained that the mystery package was an Air Raid Precautions simulant kit from WWII, a surprisingly common find. These kits would have been issued to Air Raid Precautions (ARP) personnel or HM Forces to help them recognise and identify chemical warfare agents, should an attack occur. Some of these kits contain safe gases that simulate the appearance and odour of the chemical weapons, but others can contain the real thing. Our responder was able to discuss the individual hazards of each chemical with the FRS and explain that as long as the package and test tubes remained intact they would unlikely pose a risk to health.


The cause of chemical incidents can be either current or historical, but access to chemical knowledge from experienced NCEC responders can help make sense of many potentially dangerous situations, no matter how ancient.