Welcome to the March issue of the NCEC newsletter 

Hello and welcome to the March issue of the NCEC Newsletter. 

It has certainly been a busy month for us so far – especially with our 6th annual Hazmat conference taking place in Nottingham during the first week. This proved to be a hugely successful event with a great turnout. Was it the best ever? Well, delegate feedback has certainly been glowing – more on this later. My thanks go to the organisers and everyone who took part.

Also in this issue, we provide details about our annual online customer survey that will be taking place over the next few weeks and will seek feedback from our whole customer base. We are approaching our 40th anniversary and are proud of our reputation and many trusting relationships we have developed in this time. But we cannot sit on our laurels! We need your opinions to help us keep improving, so I encourage you to respond – and if that isn’t enough, we will also be giving a prize of a tablet computer with a copy of Chemdata® to one lucky respondent.

Last, but not least, those of you familiar with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of CHemicals (REACH) Regulation should make sure to read our article on the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP). This contains some vital information for your business about the evolving impact of the Regulations.

Dan Haggarty, Director 

Web: http://the-ncec.com

NCEC... how did it all start?

For the last 40 years, the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) has been providing a world-leading chemical risk service to the chemicals industry and emergency services. We have developed an in-depth knowledge of the global chemical marketplace and its critical interactions with stakeholders - from regulator to supply chain.

But where did it all begin? It was in December 1972 that a tanker accident on the M6 in Lancashire started a chain of events leading to the formation of the NCEC in 1973. At the time of the accident, it was widely felt that formal measures were needed to help emergency services safely deal with the few (thankfully) chemical incidents that had occurred. The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and UK Government set up a working party and NCEC was born.

The original aim of the NCEC was to provide a 24-hour telephone helpline to assist the UK emergency services transport emergencies. Over the last 40 years, this has gradually evolved to become the global, multilingual service known to its users today as the world leading centre of excellence for chemical emergencies. NCEC supports emergency services, private companies and the public, and helps mitigate the impact of incidents on people, property and the environment. NCEC has developed a highly resilient global infrastructure and employs a large team of dedicated emergency response personnel, giving it the capability to respond without delay to emergency calls in most languages.

Over the years, NCEC has been innovative in developing its product and service offering, to meet customers’ ever-changing requirements in a changing market that is heavily regulated. Through our capability and knowledge of the chemical marketplace, we have been able to provide our customers with products and services (e.g. Chemdata, Tremcards, Chemedox®, Carechem 24 and Chemsafe) to help them prepare for and deal with chemical incidents, and ensure they comply with regulations.These products and services have evolved over the years. One particular product that has changed significantly is Pocket Chemdata. This originally started off as Pocket Hazchem (PERCY), a database system containing limited details on all UN Hazard identification numbers listed in the Hazchem list. This was available on a range of early hand-held hand held computers and was designed to be used at the scene of an incident. PERCY and the more recent development of Pocket Chemdata are examples of how NCEC has been innovative and proactive in developing its products and services. Today, Pocket Chemdata has the full Chemdata database of over 49,000 substances and more than 146,000 different chemical names, including pure and trade-name chemicals, and provides almost all of the information available in Chemdata. Pocket Chemdata is available for Android devices and we are developing an iOS* version, due to be launched later this year.

NCEC will continue to build on the success of the last 40 years, driving our business forward through the development of our products and, services and ensuring that we meet our customers, ever-changing requirements and needs in a challenging marketplace.  

* iOS  is a mobile operating system developed and distributed by Apple Inc

Lithium battery regulation changes

We have received a large number of calls about lithium batteries since our article on the subject in the January newsletter.

The calls have not only been about the regulations, but also about incidents involving lithium batteries, including several battery-related fires and shipments that may have been delayed had we not provided guidance to the authorities. The changes to the regulations particularly affect the packaging of lithium batteries and were introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the 1 January 2013.

The changes primarily concern:

  • New Section II lithium ion (PI 965 II) and lithium metal (PI 968 II) cell and batteries quantity limits per package.
  • New Section ‘IB’ for lithium ion (PI 965 IB) and metal (PI 968 IB).

A summary of the changes to the regulations can be found here.

Details of the new packing instructions can be found here.

Further guidance on the transport of lithium batteries can be found here.

We have prepared a short briefing document that describes the changes to the packing instructions. This can be found on our website. Please do let us know if we can assist with any queries you may have about lithium batteries or the regulations, or if we can provide increased Carechem cover if you are transporting lithium batteries.

NCEC customer satisfaction survey 2013

Over the next month, we will be releasing our annual customer satisfaction survey. Last year’s survey received over 100 responses and provided valuable feedback to help us enhance our services and products.

Your input would be greatly appreciated again this year we will be tailoring the questionnaire more to the services you use and your thoughts on market trends which we will be reporting back in a white paper.

Last year, Iain Brunning from Boots was the lucky recipient of a tablet computer, which was the prize for entering our 2012 satisfaction survey. This year, we will also be giving away a tablet to the lucky winner and include a year’s subscription to our Chemdata® Android™ App. Please do respond to the questionnaire and let us know what you think – and be in with a chance of winning this great prize.

Look out for the email about the satisfaction survey over the next few weeks!

Android is a trademark of Google, Inc.

NCEC in action

REACH - evaluation and CoRAP

31 May 2013 will be a date circled on many calendars indicating the deadline for industry to register all phase-in substances manufactured or imported in the EU at or above 100 tonnes a year. However, it is worth noting that the REACH evaluation process is also in full swing.
REACH is a multi-faceted piece of legislation with many obligations placed on stakeholders across the chemicals industry and supply chain. With the 2013 deadline for industry to submit substance registration dossiers fast approaching, the importance of preparing a dossier and ensuring it is compliant prior to submission should not be underestimated. It should be noted that there are also issues for those dossiers already submitted under the higher-tier, 2010 deadline.

The ‘E’ in REACH stands for Evaluation or, in this case, something called CoRAP. In October 2011, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the Member State competent authorities worked together to draw up a list of substances for deeper review where concerns were highlighted about the substance and its use (Q10 of the ECHA FAQ on CoRAP). It should be made clear that the CoRAP list is not related to the authorisation or restriction processes; it relates specifically to substance evaluation. Initially, CoRAP was designed to run for three years (2012 – 2014) with a specific set of substances for review by different Member State authorities each year. The evaluation of a substance for which a dossier has been submitted can lead to two outcomes:

  • the dossier meets all requirements and the evaluation is closed.
  • gaps are highlighted and registrants are required to provide further information at the end of the 12-month evaluation period. This includes a new mandatory deadline for response for data requests.

The CoRAP list for 2013 was updated in October 2012. The revised list contains 27 new substances for evaluation (48 in total). Typically, those substances that are added to the CoRAP list will all be high-volume substances (2010 deadline) where concerns exist over health or environmental impacts (for the substance itself, and how the dossier deals with these issues and manages risk). The conclusion of the 2012 CoRAP list review, which was completed in March of 2013, looked at a total of 36 substances. Of these, 32 now require additional information. Only four satisfactorily met all requirements, enabling the evaluation to be closed. Registrants are contacted through the REACH-IT system where additional data are needed.

Registrants with items listed on CoRAP for both ongoing 2012 and 2013 need to be aware of the process and be prepared for additional data requests. The review process begins in March of each year once the draft list has been finalised and takes 12 months to complete. Each nominated Member State authority is likely to have a different approach to the way it communicates and works Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs) and industry for given substances during the review. The outcome and requests for additional data will be placed at the end of the 12-month period to all registrants, with a chance to review and comment before a final deadline is drawn (typical response window is 4 months). After this point the agreed further information required will be expected to be provided with the lead dossier against a new deadline. This is communicated to all registrants still in the process. As with dossier compilation, it would be expected that SIEFs will work together as in the original submission with the lead registrant. ECHA provides details of all CoRAP listed substances together with the reason for nomination (see link below). Therefore, to be prepared, it is recommended that you look at this list and talk with your SIEF/lead registrant about any concerns they may have over the highlighted points of concern in the dossier or plans to handle data requests if/when they arise.

Click here to see the CoRAP list of substances and reasons for nomination.

For more information about CoRAPs and how they affect you, please look at the ECHA’s FAQ on the CoRAP list.

Out and about 

The 6th Annual Hazmat Event     

The 6th Annual Hazmat Event took place on 7 and 8 March at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham. The whole event was very well received by the record-breaking number of Hazmat specialists who attended. Our thanks go to all the excellent speakers, the sponsors who helped make this possible and to the extremely efficient organising team, including Tactical Hazmat, for setting up a smooth and very successful event.

This year, the event was further north than in previous years and we have received many positive comments that prove the new venue was certainly a good choice. We hope to use it again next year.

The two-day event covered a range of topics that were useful and informative to all who attended. Highlights included updates to Fire and Rescue procedures; multi-agency working; hydrogen sulfide (H2S) incidents in agriculture; updates on new dvelopments from the Environment Agency and Health Protection Agency; human factors in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) response; and a great presentation about explosive awareness that really went with a bang!

This year, we introduced parallel sessions so we could provide a greater variety of topics than in previous years. Another new feature was the introduction of Scenario and Workshop Sessions where a range of practical and hands-on demonstrations were presented. The improved format has proved popular with delegates and will be returning in 2014.





The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. These are a selection of comments received:

“Well done for a great event, first attendance but certainly won’t be my last.”

“This is a very important gathering of sector-competent specialists, which should continue to grow.”

“Congratualtions, a very enjoyable and informative two days.”

“Great place to network and share practice, well timed and managed   Good mix of practical and theory.”

“Having attended many of these conferences, this was by far the most enjoyable and well structured.”

We have had many interesting and good suggestions about next year’s topics and speakers, as well as suggestions for improvements to the structure of the programme. These will all be considered and will help us to ensure that Hazmat 2014 is even better! Keep a lookout on our website to see updates regarding early-bird offers and some great pictures from the event. Thank you to all delegates for their continued support of these event!

A more detailed review of Hazmat 2013 will be available on our website soon.

Chemsafe's involvement in exercises

Since January this year, Chemsafe has been involved in 10 exercises; last year it was involved in approximately 75.

For some of these exercises, Chemsafe provided information during the planning/setting up stage and the emergency line was not called during the exercise itself. In others, the emergency line was used as part of the exercise, as it would be in a real incident.

There are many advantages to calling Chemsafe during an exercise. The first is that the caller learns how our Emergency Responders approach incidents and calls, and becomes aware of the types of question that we are likely ask to be able to provide prompt and accurate advice. Another advantage is that the exercise can be more realistic because our Emergency Responders will treat the call as if it was a real incident. We will help to identify hazards and provide advice regarding first aid, spill clean-up, decontamination, possible reactions and protective equipment. We can also help with setting up exercises. By drawing on our Emergency Responders’ chemical knowledge and experience of incidents, we can help you plan more complex/sophisticated scenarios.

Examples of the exercises that Chemsafe has provided advice and information for in the last few months include dealing with large spills of ammonia and chlorine, mixtures of household chemicals, white powders, unidentified substances and raids on premises carrying out illicit activities.

Why not involve Chemsafe in your next Hazmat exercise? Please contact us on the Chemsafe number if you require input into the planning or execution of an exercise, making the Emergency Responder aware that the call does not relate to an emergency situation.

NCEC Carechem refresher presentation

Following Emergency Response Best Practice presentations that we delivered at recent events and requests from several customers to present to their teams about the Carechem service, we have created a presentation to help our clients understand more about what we do and why we do it.

We will be delivering the presentations in a series of webinars that will run in May. We do hope you will join us for one of the sessions to refresh yourself on how the Carechem service works.

To register your interest, please email Jonathan Gibbard, stating which session you would like to attend. We will send you an invitation and further information shortly.

Dates and times are:

  • 6 May 2013 –  15:00
  • 15 May 2013 – 08:00

Interesting calls

Leaked battery acid       
A firefighter called NCEC for advice about an incident involving two fork-lift truck batteries that were being transported. The batteries had tipped over and had leaked acid. Most of the acid had been contained using absorbent granules, but approximately 2 litres was trapped in the shrink wrap of the pallet.

Our Emergency Responder talked the options through with the caller and they came to the conclusion that the safest option would be for the Fire Service to pierce the wrapping at arm’s length. The Emergency Responder advised placing a cordon around the area and suggested a method for piercing the wrapping that would reduce the risk of the acid splashing people.

Our Emergency Responders draw on their in-depth chemical knowledge and experience of dealing with incidents to provide practical advice, ensuring the safety of the emergency services and members of the public.

Exploding sodium

NCEC recently received a call from a fire officer regarding an incident where a member of the public had found 15 containers of sodium. The 50g containers had been left outside and showed signs of corrosion, burning and explosions. The person who discovered the containers had started to wash some of the product away with water, but this resulted in further explosions.

Our Emergency Responder advised that sodium is highly reactive with water and suggested placing the containers in a secondary container and covering the material with oil. The Emergency Responder also provided details of waste disposal companies that would be able to deal with the material.

Immediate access to qualified chemists ensures that the most appropriate actions and suitable precautions are taken.

Gas leak at supermarket

A Hazmat Officer contacted NCEC regarding an incident involving a gas leak at a supermarket. The leak had been described as a white/grey cloud and one man had been overcome by the fumes. A fridge had been identified as a potential source of the leak.

Our Emergency Responder advised that certain refrigerant gases could cause pulmonary oedema so it would be sensible to monitor the affected person for 48 hours. The Emergency Responder also provided advice on the hazards of the gas and decontamination of fire kit.

Immediate access to expert advice means that hazards can be accurately identified allowing incidents to be resolved quickly without compromising safety.


FPS Expo 2013  
17-18 April 2013 - Harrogate International Centre, Yorkshire



A wide variety of senior professionals from across the UK, Europe and the USA will be visiting FPS EXPO 2013 to check out the latest industry innovations, network with colleagues, and learn about new legislation and other industry issues at the free workshops.

NCEC will, again, be exhibiting at FPS Expo, the oil industry's largest annual event, which will be held at the Harrogate International Centre. Visit us on stand B24 where our experts will be presenting on Emergency Response best practice in the product theatre at 10:00 on 18 April.

For further information, please click here.

2013 Responsible Care Conference & Expo
5–8 May, Hollywood, Florida, USA







The premier EHS&S Conference for the US Chemical Industry.

Responsible Care is the chemical industry’s premier, global, voluntary initiative. Under this, companies work together to continuously improve health, security, safety and environmental performance, and to communicate with stakeholders about their products and processes.

The conference will provide an update to the changes coming with Responsible Care 4.0. It will also focus on process and product safety, and shaping chemical regulatory change.

NCEC will be exhibiting at the event, so please visit us at booth number 9.
For further information, please click here.  

Safety & Health Expo 14-16 May
2013, NEC Birmingham




Safety & Health Expo is Europe’s leading annual exhibition for the occupational safety and health industry.

NCEC will be exhibiting again this year, so please visit us on stand D71.

For further information, please click here.

The Emergency Services Show  
25-26 September 2013, NEC, Birmingham

The Emergency Services Show provides a unique opportunity for key buyers to see, touch and discuss the latest technology, ideas and initiatives focused on improving public safety and assisting the emergency services.

NCEC will be exhibiting at the event again this year, visit us at stand number Z112.
For further information, click here.

Chemical Hazard Awareness - 22 May 2013
A one-day course that provides an understanding of chemical hazards and the impact they can have on health during normal working conditions or in the event of an accident.

Hazmat 1st Response – 19 June 2013

A one-day 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 when the emergency services get involved.

First Aid for Chemical Exposures – 24 April and 20 June 2013
This one-day course combines first aid with chemical hazard awareness and is aimed at those who work with chemicals or work in an environment where chemicals are handled.

COSHH Assessment – 25 April 2013
A one-day course to help you understand the requirements of the COSHH Regulations with regard to the process of making an assessment.       

Chemical Spill Response - 9 July 2013
A one-day course that is ideal for those who are considering setting up, or already have, a spill response team in their workplace. The presentation couples chemical hazard awareness with a framework for developing a spill response plan.

To book a place or for more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 and/or email ncec@ricardo-aea.com.

Bespoke Training Courses

We also offer bespoke training courses that can be delivered on your premises, allowing the training to relate directly to your organisation by tailoring the content to meet your specific needs as well as providing a cost effective option

The areas covered by our training are:                                                            
Chemical incident response
•    Hazmat 1st Response and Chemical Spill Response - how you can best be prepared for and respond to spills and fires
Chemical hazard awareness
•    Chemical Hazard Awareness - a comprehensive look at the hazards and risks posed by chemicals.
Legislation compliance
•    COSHH Assesment - how to carry out a COSHH assessment         
To discuss your training needs, or if you would like further information, please contact us or call us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.                                                         



NCEC... how did it all start?
Lithium battery regulation changes
NCEC customer satisfaction survey

NCEC in action

  • REACH - evaluation and CoRAp

Out and about

  • The 6th Annual Hazmat Conference
  • Chemsafe's involvement in excercises
  • NCEC Carechem refresher presentation

Interesting calls

  • Leaked battery acid
  • Exploding sodium
  • Gas leak at supermarket


  • Events
  • Training