June 2011

Welcome to the June 2011 issue of the NCEC Newsletter.

This issue contains an article about polymers, articles and preparations in REACH, information about forthcoming events, and details of forthcoming open training courses. We are holding courses on Making COSHH Assessments and Chemical Spill Response, and we have two more dates for our Classification, Labelling and Packaging course.

If there is anything that you would like to see in future newsletters, please let us know. We are always happy to receive suggestions and feedback - you can contact us by emailing ncec@ricardo-aea.com or calling +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.

Happy reading,

Bill Atkinson
Emergency Response Knowledge Leader

email: ncec@ricardo-aea.com
web: www.the-ncec.com










REACH: Polymers, Articles and Preparations

Are you confused by the REACH regulations relating to polymers?

The REACH (EC 1907/2006 The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations adopted in July 2007 set about the requirement for manufacturers (or importers for manufacturers based outside Europe) to establish dossiers of hazard information on substances sold within the EEA (European Economic Area) at greater than 1 tonne per annum, which then need to be submitted to ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) by various deadlines dependent on tonnage band.

A number of exemptions from registration do exist, with polymers being a key example. The broad array of polymers that exist together with a perceived low risk (from the nature of their physical attributes) means that polymers are exempt from the registration process under REACH.

The variety of and potential application for polymers means that they are widely used across the whole of Europe and appear in many products and finished items. However, under the guise of the REACH regulations the term 'polymer' relates to a substance with specific composition, and therefore for those operators manufacturing or importing what they perceive as polymers there is a key need to understand specifically whether the substance on the shop floor is a REACH polymer, or whether it more accurately fits the description of a preparation or article, in order to understand which exemptions do and do not apply.

We now have a user's guide on our website which is written in lay terms and which will allow you to understand specifically whether the substance that you are handling fits into the legislative description of a polymer; if not, it provides details of the overlaps to help you identify what specification the substance adheres to under the full letter of the regulation.

2011 Emergency Action Code List

The 2011 Emergency Action Code List is still available to download free from the NCEC website.

EAC List 2011


Download 2011 EAC List

It is also is available in book form from the TSO website at a cost of £29.



Environment Agency updates PPG22

As highlighted in the November 2010 newsletter, the Environment Agency has now updated Pollution Prevention Guidance document number 22 (PPG22) and widened its scope with the new title of 'Incident response 'dealing with spills'. It reminds readers of their statutory responsibilities and provides up-to-date information to help reduce the environmental impacts of a polluting spill.

It can be downloaded from the Environment Agency's website (pdf file).


Emergency Scotland 2011

NCEC will be exhibiting at Emergency Scotland 2011, which takes place on 5 and 6 July at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow.

Emergency Scotland 2011 is Scotland's only exhibition for anyone involved in emergency planning, response and recovery and will take place alongside the annual Emergency Planning Society (EPS) Resilience Symposium 2011, bringing Category 1 and 2 Responders together under one roof. This free to attend event provides a fresh and more convenient opportunity for emergency services personnel and emergency planning officers from Scotland, the North of England and Ireland to attend a dedicated exhibition.

In addition to trade exhibitors displaying the latest equipment and services, including first response equipment, PPE, vehicles and vehicle equipment, and training, there will also be up to 30 end users exhibiting within the Emergency Response Zone. This Zone is made up of other Category 1 and 2 Responders, Professional, Government and Voluntary organisations, offering perfect networking opportunities to affiliated organisations.

To register for Emergency Scotland 2011 or to learn more visit www.emergencyscotland.com

We will be at stand E176 in Hall “ come and see us there!"

Global Regulatory Compliance Seminars - Autumn 2011

NCEC is jointly organising and hosting three seminars in September, following the popular seminars similarly laid on in Autumn 2010.

Bill Atkinson will be presenting on the theme of Emergency Response Services in the context of global legislative compliance. Other presentations will include The Wercs' Driving Innovation Through Green Chemistry; ChemADVISOR will be discussing US States NJ, Right to know lists and the Status of GHS in US; Swissi will present on the Application of CLP Regulation, including the Strictly Controlled Conditions and Hygiene practices from a practice point of view in the industry.

The seminar dates and cities are as follows:

6 September - Manchester, UK

8 September - Gothenburg, Sweden

13 September - Barcelona, Spain

Hazmat 2012 - Update

The venue for Hazmat 2012 has been confirmed as the Crowne Plaza, Birmingham.

If you would like to be kept abreast of developments or wish to register your interest in attending (including exhibiting and/or sponsorship) please fill in the form on our website or:

Follow ncec_hazmat on Twitter

Hazmat 2012 - Call for Papers

If you are interested in making a presentation at Hazmat 2012, please let us know

We are particularly looking for presentations on matters relevant to people involved directly in chemical incident response but will consider anything relevant to the Hazmat field.

Closing date for submissions is 30 September 2011.

3. Training

Two new open courses have just been announced for later this year:

Making COSHH Assessments

27 October 2011 at The Gemini Building, Harwell, Oxfordshire

Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work puts people's health at risk. The COSHH Regulations place responsibility on employers and employees to control the use of substances hazardous to health, and therefore prevent or reduce the risks of exposure.

  • Acid dissolved plumber's PPE
  • Compensation for reaction to chemicals at work
  • Print workers exposed to hazardous chemical

These are real headlines!

For all processes which involve a risk of exposure to a substance hazardous to health, a COSHH assessment is required. The assessment is a procedure that considers the substances used in the workplace, how people may be exposed to them and what measures are required to prevent that exposure.

Making COSHH Assessments is presented by the AEA Group's COSHH Competent Assessor. The one-day course will give you an understanding of how to undertake this procedure and will cover:

  • An overview of the regulations
  • The identification of hazards
  • SDS interpretation
  • The effects of chemicals
  • Making an assessment

Most importantly, the last part of the day is given for an open discussion on delegates' own workplace processes to help them consider the hazards, risks and likely exposures involved.

Cost: £215 + VAT (per delegate)

This course can also be run in-house, for groups of six or more people: contact us for further information.

Chemical Spill Response

20 September 2011 at The Gemini Building, Harwell, Oxfordshire

Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work puts people's health at risk. Chemical Spill Response is a one-day training course presented by one of NCEC's highly experienced Emergency Responders, and is aimed at those who work in a chemical environment who are setting up, or already have, a Spill Response team in their workplace. The course will provide you with:

  • an understanding of what chemicals are and their hazards
  • the ability to interpret the information that accompanies chemicals
  • the knowledge to use the available information to assess the risks and determine the proper safety aspects in dealing with a spillage
  • the confidence to make a safe response

Please note that the course does not involve any physical practical work, but will include some table-top exercises and demonstrations to help develop your understanding.

Cost: £315 + VAT (per delegate)

This course can also be run in-house and can be adapted to include company-specific issues and cover the chemicals you work with. A guided exercise can also be added to give responders an opportunity to practise. Contact us for further information.

Hazmat 1st Response

5 October 2011 - Humberside Fire & Rescue Service HQ, Hull

A one-day training course to prepare you and your organisation for dealing with a chemical incident. The course provides practical and up-to-date information on what is expected of you during a hazmat incident.

Cost: £315 + VAT (per delegate)

Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP)

Two new dates have been announced for our popular CLP course:

18 October and 5 December 2011, both at The Gemini Building, Harwell, Oxfordshire

A one-day training course to help you with classification, help you to understand the background of CLP and GHS and the requirements outlined in the legislation, and tell you the deadlines for compliance.

Cost: £295 + VAT (per delegate)

More information about our training courses.

To book a place and/or ask about our tailored and in-house courses, please contact us

4. Chemdata®

2011.1 is on the way

The next Chemdata update is due for release shortly, starting at the end of June - as usual, we will email all our customers when it is ready to download from the customer portal.

Chemdata® Free Trial

Would you like a free trials of the full version of Chemdata® and/or Pocket Chemdata®?

Chemdata® contains details of over 40,000 substances with more than 130,000 names, trade names and synonyms. It includes specialised searching algorithms to help you find the substance you are looking for quickly and easily.

Register for a free Chemdata trial

Please note that we reserve the right to refuse a free trial.

5. Emergency Response

Interesting Calls

Hazardous Mixture at Steel Company

NCEC recently received a call from a Fire Service Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection Officer (HMEPO) who required first aid advice for 16 fire fighters who had come into contact with a mixture of hazardous chemicals whilst dealing with a fire at a steel company.

Our Emergency Responder advised the caller of the hazards of the products, namely that they were corrosive, toxic, and may cause sensitisation by skin contact. The Emergency Responder recommended that the fire fighters who had been contaminated remove any contaminated clothing and wash the affected areas with water for 30 minutes and then to seek medical advice. The fire fighters who had inhaled fumes from the fire were advised to seek medical advice and to be monitored for pulmonary oedema for 48 hours.

Immediate access to chemical-specific first aid advice helps to prevent serious injury to both emergency service personnel and members of the public; not only are short term risks identified but also the potential for longer term conditions.

Gas Cloud Hazard

NCEC recently received a call from a Fire Incident Commander who was en-route to a gas cloud release of an unconfirmed substance at a plastics manufacturing site. The area had been evacuated and water spray was being used to knock down the gas.

Our Emergency Responder established the correct identity of the gas (boron trifluoride, BF3) and advised the Incident Commander that it is a colourless gas that is denser than air; it is toxic and corrosive, will cause severe burns to the eyes and skin, and that it can react with water and alkalis. Our Emergency Responder recommended the use of gas tight chemical suits and confirmed the use of water spray to knock down the gas, stating that run-off should be retained and not released to the drains or the environment.

Immediate access to in-depth chemical knowledge means that the incident can be dealt with in a calm and informed manner with all the risks and environmental aspects considered.

Hydrogen Cyanide

NCEC recently received a call regarding the potential release of hydrogen cyanide following the accidental addition of sodium cyanide to a vat of zinc chloride solution. The area had been evacuated but the air extraction system was venting to the outside.

Our Emergency Responder ascertained the quantities of each chemical involved and advised the caller of the hazards of hydrogen cyanide, i.e. that it is a very toxic and flammable gas that is lighter than air, and recommended that no-one enter the building without the appropriate PPE and that the extraction system be switched off to contain the gas. Our Emergency Responder liaised with the company representative, the manufacturer's emergency contact, and the local Fire & Rescue Service. The site was evacuated and the gas levels monitored until the gas had dissipated and it was safe for the employees to return.

Immediate access to qualified chemists allows hazardous reaction products to be identified and the appropriate precautions taken. Our Emergency Responders liaise with the caller, product manufacturers and the emergency services to ensure that everyone has the information they need.

6. Out and About

NCEC Speaker at Kuwait Conference

Bill Atkinson, NCEC's Knowledge Leader, was one of the experts invited to deliver a lecture to the Second International Fire and Safety Conference and Expo held in Kuwait on 29 to 31 March, under the patronage of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The conference was organised by the Kuwaiti Fire Service in partnership with the UK's Fire Service College. Speakers from the Middle East, Europe and America were invited to share ideas and experiences and to continue the progress made by the Kuwaiti Fire Service since the first such conference held two years ago.

The main theme of the conference was 'Emergency Response - The Next Generation', with three main areas of interest -  including 'The Environment and its Impact on Emergency Response'. Bill spoke about the use of atmospheric modelling software as a tool both in the planning of a safe approach route to incidents and as a decision making tool in the later phases of incidents, when it can help with identifying likely affected populations and the best course of action (alerting and potentially evacuation). He discussed the types of models available and their features, referencing case studies such as the Buncefield petroleum storage depot explosion in 2005. He also highlighted the work of the UK's Met Office and their atmospheric models, such as NAME and CHEMET (the NAME model has once again been very much in focus recently in predicting the path and concentration of Icelandic volcanic ash clouds).

Bill said, "I was honoured to be asked to participate in such an international and high-profile conference. As well as meeting the Prime Minister of Kuwait, we were able to inspect the range of equipment used by the Fire Services, which was impressive. Having invested in equipment, this conference was also about learning lessons from others internationally. I hope that the Kuwaiti Fire Service took much from it; it certainly seemed to be the case as they were very engaged in each of the lectures I attended."

NCEC at Safety and Health Expo

NCEC staff attended the Safety and Health Expo at the NEC, Birmingham, in May, and were pleased to meet up with many of our customers. The winner of the prize draw was Angela Martin from Thyssenkrupp Tallent Ltd., who had the choice of a free place on our Hazmat 1st Response training course, six months' free licence for Pocket Chemdata or a review of five Safety Data Sheets.

NCEC Emergency Responder at Stoke City Emergency Scenario

Some of the Exercise SOTER team being briefedNCEC's Emergency Responder John Jones recently attended Exercise SOTER, organised by Stoke City Council and the local emergency services to test multi-agency response to a chemical incident. The scenario was that after complaints about fumes from a ground floor flat in a 9-storey block, two paramedics entered the property and discovered two casualties with what appeared to be some sort of chemical bomb or drug-making paraphernalia.

The scale of the scenario necessitated the involvement of a combined control unit to coordinate Multi Agency Command & Control as well as providing an opportunity to test the interoperability between the various agencies, which included Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service's Detection Identification and Monitoring (DIM) team, Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Police Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO).

John was on hand as one of the sources of scientific advice to the Fire Service Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection Officer (HMEPO).

The exercise was a showcase in successful inter-agency working and was concluded by mid-afternoon. The residents of the block of flats had been alerted to the exercise in advance but it still proved to be quite a show worth watching for some!

7. Recruitment

We are always interested in talking to talented people who could bring value to our team. If you are interested in a career in chemical risk management or emergency response, we would like to hear from you.

Our team consists of both chemists and non-chemists, who work in all aspects of the delivery and sales of chemical safety consultancy.

One of our Emergency Responders has been touring university chemistry departments giving this presentation about his role.

We are actively recruiting now. Please contact us for more information.

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