Welcome to the May issue of the NCEC newsletter

In this issue, we have articles on The Emergency Action Code List and the CLP Conference as well as our regular updates about recent emergency calls and forthcoming training courses. We plan to venture further afield in the coming months, with visits to the USA and Asia. But relationships closer to home are also important to us – if you’d like to arrange a meeting or visit then do get in touch, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

This month saw the start of our annual customer survey where we seek your opinion about how we can improve our service to you. Your feedback is important to us and we take your comments very seriously. To encourage you to take part, we are giving away a tablet computer to one lucky customer who completes the survey and provides their contact details.
We hope you find the newsletter content interesting and relevant to your role. If you’d like to see something different from us, please let me know.

Daniel Haggarty
Director, Chemical Risk Management (NCEC)

Email: ncec@ricardo-aea.com
Web: www.the-ncec.com
Tel: +44 (0) 1235 753248

The Emergency Action Code (EAC) List 2013 and consultation

The NCEC is proud to have, once again, been commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) to produce the Dangerous Goods Emergency Action Code List (EAC List), published by The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO). The EAC List 2013 supersedes the 2011 list and is effective from 1 July 2013. The EAC List 2011 should no longer be used from that date.

The EAC List consultation
After the response to the initial consultation, which was launched at Hazmat 2012, it was decided to ask further, specific questions. These were targeted at the two main points raised in the first (i.e. personal protective equipment and the public safety hazard code). Again, the responses were received from a wide variety of professionals whose work involves dangerous goods. The results of the consultation are presented here.

1.    Were you aware that the Emergency Action Code List (EAC) was designed purely for initial actions during an incident?
The vast majority of those who answered the questionnaire were aware that the EAC was designed purely for initial actions during an incident. However, all respondents also applied them for other purposes.

2.    Please give examples of how else you currently use EAC (tick those that apply).
The three most commonly cited purposes for the EAC were formulating response tactics, risk assessments and indicating storage hazards.

3.    Are you aware of the use of Additional Personal Protection (APP) codes?
The majority (75%) were aware of the APP codes.
a.     If YES, do you always apply their use in an incident?
50% of those who were aware of the APP codes always applied them in incidents.
b.    If NO, please discuss any circumstances in which you wouldn't apply them.
Of those who didn’t always apply the codes all reported that this was because of specific assessments.

4.    UK fire services do not carry liquid-tight chemical protection suits (LTS) and use gas-tight chemical protection suits (GTS) instead. Do you agree that the use of GTS is a suitable course of initial action?
The response to this query was evenly split with 50% believing that GTSs are a suitable initial action and the remainder believing that they are not.

5.    If answering yes to Q4, should the meaning of the EAC be changed to replace LTS with GTS (ie change the existing code to stipulate GTS)?
50% believed that the meaning of the EAC should be changed to replace LTS with GTS.

6.    Or would you favour adding a new letter to the code to indicate GTS instead of the APP Code (i.e. modify the code to add GTS as well as LTS)?
None of those who answered this question favoured the use of a new letter.

7.    If answering no to Q4, should the use of breathing apparatus (BA) and fire kit (and gauntlet gloves) be stipulated instead of LTS for emergency actions?
None of those who answered this question believed that BA and fire kit be stipulated.

8.    Or should LTS be considered to be carried for frontline responders instead of GTS? (i.e. change practices and not the code).
50% of the respondents believed that LTS and not GTS should be carried.

9.    What difference, if any, does the presence of an ‘E’ on the EAC make to your response or assessment?
Everyone replied that ‘E’ made a difference to their response, though to differing degrees.

10.  Should the ‘E’ therefore be retained in the EAC?
Nobody answered that the ‘E’ should be removed.

Did the consultation have any effect on the EAC List 2013?
Yes it did, but in some expected ways. As the spilt between using GTS and LTS was so even, it was decided that the advice would remain unchanged. However, it was brought to our attention that a number of fire and rescue services were concerned with regards to the thermal effects of liquefied gases. The APP codes previously indicated that GTS should be worn in addition to fire kit. However, fire gloves cannot be worn inside GTS because it reduces the level of thermal protection offered to the wearer’s hands. In addition, the thermal effect on the suit resulted in decreased performance and an increased risk of failure. A comparable thermal hazard is also posed by hot liquids. To reduce these risks, a number of fire and rescue services had begun to wear over gloves in addition to GTS. As these were not stipulated in the EAC List, the Standards to which they are manufactured were not listed. The text has been amended to highlight the use of over gloves to ensure that this best practice is consistent. It also now includes the appropriate standards.

The other main focus of the second consultation was the public safety hazard code (E). During the process, we discovered an inconsistency – a number of extremely hazardous substances did not have the ‘E’ in their EACs. After extensive research, it was decided to amend the EACs where appropriate. The substances most affected by this were those that produced a flammable and/or toxic gas in contact with water.  

Other EAC List 2013 amendments
The remainder of amendments to the EAC List were due to changes in the Regulations Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID) and the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). These included the addition of the new UN numbers and updates for the UN numbers which were reviewed in ADR 2013; this is where the hazard identification numbers (HINs) or proper shipping names have been altered.

The EAC List 2013 is available to buy from TSO's website and is also available in electronic form (pdf file) from the NCEC website.

NCEC customer satisfaction survey 2013

Survey no longer open.

Complete our 2013 customer satisfaction survey and you have a chance of winning a tablet computer and a year’s subscription to our Pocket Chemdata® for Android™ app. The survey will be open until the 5th of June.

We greatly appreciate your feedback, which helps us to understand your views of the market and how we can enhance our services and products. Last year, over 100 people responded. Their comments have resulted in some exciting changes and improvements to our service – examples include the development of an iOS® version of our Chemdata® app, a multi-language platform for Chemdata (due out later in the year) and further enhancements to our Emergency Response systems (more about this in the next newsletter).

Please do respond to the questionnaire and let us know what you think and be in with a chance of winning this great prize. Please also pass the questionnaire to other colleagues who may like to provide their own feedback.

This year, we are doing things a bit differently – there are two parts to the survey, one specifically for public sector clients and one for private sector clients. By splitting the survey in this way, we have been able to tailor the questions to more closely match the services and products you use. In due course, we will produce a white paper giving details of your views on relevant trends. Don’t forget, to be eligible for the prize draw and be in with a chance of winning the tablet computer, you must fill in your contact details on the survey.

* Android is a trademark of Google, Inc

NCEC in action

Hazmat 2014

NCEC and Tactical Hazmat are pleased to announce that Hazmat 2014 will take place on 30 April and 1 May 2014 at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham.

Now in its 7th year, the Hazmat conference continues to be an essential opportunity for Hazmat specialists to share experience and knowledge with like-minded professionals working in the hazmat and chemical incident industry. The conference draws on the expertise of a range of hazmat professionals and industry leaders, NCEC’s own emergency responders and experts, and specialists from Tactical Hazmat, our co-organisers for the event. Hazmat 2014 will again be supported by Fire Times, our media partner.

Hazmat 2014 will have a greater focus on multi-agency working, which we hope will encourage more people from the police and ambulance services to attend. Other topics for 2014 are likely to include hazmat crime scenes, long-term exposure to combustion products, plume dynamics in urban areas, medical health surveillance, Chemsafe and case studies. Following the success of the workshops and scenario sessions at Hazmat 2013, we will again be running the sessions. However, Hazmat 2014 will have four shorter sessions that will be run twice to give delegates the opportunity to attend two sessions. Details of the sessions will be released over the coming months and first choice will be given to delegates who have already registered for Hazmat 2014 at the time of release.

Early-bird registration is now open, please download the booking form and return it today to benefit from our lowest rate.

Out and about  

CLP & GHS conference, Brussels 17 – 18 April 2013

Representatives from the NCEC attended both days of the above conference where speakers included:

  • Members of industry, who provided an insight into the challenges being faced by industry in terms of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) implementation.
  • Regulatory experts involved in GHS and CLP at EU level and globally.

The main issues raised by members of industry were the changes in classification that were arising from using CLP to classify chemicals. In particular, substances being classified as a higher hazard category than they were before, giving rise to issues such as packaging needing to be changed to include child resistant closures and certain phrases being included on the packaging that were not compatible with the use. There was also a very lengthy discussion regarding the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Classification and Labelling Platform and how long it would take for entries in the ECHA’s Classification and Labelling Inventory to become unified.

This was a very informative and interesting conference. It highlighted the work that nations and industry had done to implement CLP/GHS so far, but there are a number of issues that still need to be resolved and work still needs to be done.

Peer-review meeting for International Chemical Safety Cards - Helsinki, 8-12 April 2013

NCEC has been an adviser to the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) project for many years.

ICSCs are data sheets intended to provide essential safety and health information on chemicals in a clear and concise way. The primary aim of the cards is to promote the safe use of chemicals in the workplace. They are used at the ‘shop floor’ level by workers, and those responsible for health and safety in factories, agriculture, construction and other workplaces. Also, they often form part of education and training activities and can be used by agencies responding to chemical incidents.

The ICSC project is a joint undertaking between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), with the cooperation of the European Commission. ICSCs are prepared by various International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) participating institutions and are finalised during peer-review meetings, which are held once or twice a year.

NCEC’s Fabien Daniel has been attending the peer-review meetings since 2003 and provides expert advice on the sections of the cards dealing with fire, explosion, spillage and disposal, chemical dangers and safe storage.

Over 1,700 ICSCs are available and may be downloaded in English from the ILO website.

They are also available in 15 other languages (including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swahili, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese as well as many European languages) from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website.

Interesting calls

Chemical substances washed up on a beach      

NCEC recently received a call regarding debris, including a surface marker buoy, which had been washed up on a beach. The buoy was labelled with a UN number and the fire service was looking for advice regarding the hazards of the substance.

Our Emergency Responder identified the substance type from the UN number and provided advice on the flammability of the substance and the protective equipment required to handle the substance.

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

Responding to a small, indoor chemical incident

A fire officer called NCEC regarding an incident where a chemist had mixed a small quantity of potassium permanganate solution with temazepam. The reaction had created a small fire, which burnt the chemist’s hand and produced fumes that the chemist’s colleague had inhaled.

Our Emergency Responder advised that there was a possibility that hydrogen chloride could be present in the fumes, but this would be a small quantity given the small amounts mixed. The Emergency Responder further advised that the container be sealed and the building ventilated. The
Emergency Responder also suggested that the recommended level of personal protective equipment could be reduced because of the small quantities involved.

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

Tub full of hazardous substances found near bus stop

A tub, which appeared to be melting because of its contents, had been discovered near a bus stop by a member of the public. A fire officer dealing with the incident phoned NCEC for advice.

Our Emergency Responder suggested that the tub was probably melting as a result of an exothermic reaction. The Emergency Responder advised that the remnants of the tub should be treated as hazardous and suggested a route for disposal. The Emergency Responder was also able to advise
on the personal protective equipment that should be worn when handling the substance.

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


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

 NCEC will be exhibiting at the event again this year. Please visit us at stand number Z112.

For further information, please click here.



ChemCon Asia 2013

09 - 13 September 2013, Seoul, South Korea

ChemCon Asia 2013 is a global platform which brings together more than 200 experts representing companies, authorities and international organizations from over 25 countries.

Presentations given by more than 35 speakers from governments and industry will focus in the field of international chemical legislation all over the world, like REACH, GHS and country specific information on inventories, labelling requirements, etc

This year, the NCEC will be taking an exhibition space and attending the conference. The NCEC will be represented by Dan Haggarty and Rich Davey. Find our more information here.


Loader Packer and Filler Training
The Regulations concerned with the transport of dangerous goods states that all personnel involved in the transport of dangerous goods need to be familiar with the general requirements of the provisions for their carriage and have appropriate training for their duties and responsibilities.
This new course will help to ensure that people in these roles understand their responsibilities fully and perform their duties safely.

Hazmat 1st Response – 19 June 2013 and 25th September 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 – 20 June 2013 and 26th September 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.    

Chemical Spill Response – 9 July 2013 and 10th October 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 753248 and/or email ncec@ricardo-aea.com.

Bespoke Training Courses

We also offer bespoke training courses that can be delivered on your premises. This means we can tailor the content so that it related directly to your organisation, thus meeting your specific needs and 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 Assessment - 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 753248.                                                        



The Emergency Action Code (EAC) List 2013 and Consultation

NCEC customer satisfaction survey

NCEC in action

  • Hazmat 2014

Out and about

  • CLP & GHS Conference, Brussels 17 - 18 April 2013
  • Peer-review meeting for International Chemical Safety Cards - Helsinki, 8-12 April 2013

Interesting calls

  • Chemical substances washed up on a beach
  • Responding to a small, indoor chemical incident
  • Tub full of hazardous substances found near bus stop


  • Events
  • Training