Welcome to the NCEC Newsletter and thank you for reading

In this issue we cover...

Regulatory News

Complimentary Resources

Industry News

People News

Interesting Calls

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

EU Member States vote in favour of proposals to harmonise poison centre data submission 



On 21 September 2016, we learnt that European Union Member States voted to harmonise poison centre submissions for chemical products. 

EU legislation requires all Member States to set up an appointed body to receive information in the case of poisonings. However, it is up to individual Member States to interpret this law, meaning the demands on companies handling hazardous goods can vary widely across Europe. This often leads to a costly administrative burden for companies, which also risk fines or product removal in cases of non-compliance.

Read more





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Critical update to NCEC guidance on global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers 


Our regulatory team have updated the guidance on the global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers for 2016. The guidancee is designed to provide clarity on the emergency telephone numbers that should be included as part of the manufacturing, importing and general logistics processes concerning chemicals to help you fulfil your regulatory obligations and take steps to avoid the inevitable implications of non-compliance.

The guidance now includes two summary tables, one for road transport requirements and one for supply requirements. This allows you to start to interpret the regulations before you read through the specific details for individual countries (requirements are discussed for 23 specific countries across 6 regions) and details of continental legislation such as in Europe (Legislation is not exhaustive with further countries and regions to be added within future updates). The emergency telephone number requirements include such practical considerations as the language spoken; whether it is a local or international number; or if the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These four requirements are covered in the guidance as an introduction to the international standards and what numbers are required to be compliant. The document also makes note of the separate legislation from the 57th edition of IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and the requirements for packages containing lithium batteries.

These guidelines will continue to be updated as regulations change and our regulatory team is already hard at work putting together details around labelling requirements and contacting regulators to check for approaching updates to the legislation.

You can download the updated guide here: Global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers (September 2016)

We're also in the process of organising a webinar to support these udpates. If attending a webinar giving an overview of the updates and how these may impact on your business operations is of interest to you, then please click the link below.

Register your interest in our upcoming webinar here: Global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers webinar

As a provider of multilingual 24 hour emergency response services, we are able to provide world leading support that companies can tap into to take steps towards securing international chemical regulatory compliance. Today, the value of this service is recognised as a core component for stability and growth in chemical exportation, not only for regional operations, but for the global supply chain as a whole.

Find out how NCEC’s international and domestic emergency response services are supporting the chemical industry throughout the world here: http://the-ncec.com/products-a-z-2/





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IATA annouces key changes to annual regulatory publication 



The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently announced the regulatory changes to be published in the 58th edition of its Dangerous Goods Regulations publication to be released in early 2017.

While there have been a significant number of updates, we’ll be focusing on are the changes regarding lithium batteries. In recent years we’ve seen an increase in the regulations regarding lithium batteries, but the forthcoming changes are rather more stringent.

We are planning some forthcoming dissemination of this information.

To register to receive this update, click here.





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 Complimentary Resources


NCEC launches free to use chemical supply chain assurance tool 


Measure and evaluate your chemical supply chain safety performance with our new and free to use supply chain assurance tool.

We have developed a new, free to use tool to help you understand the potential risks and opportunities within your supply chain. The assurance model has been developed based on our experience of over 40 years in delivering emergency telephone response, crisis management and consultancy on best practice in chemical risk to organisations around the world.

Designed by our team of experienced emergency responders and consultants, the supply chain assurance tool is designed to allow you to measure your chemical supply chain safety performance and, more importantly, identify any areas for improvement.

The supply chain assurance tool consists of 15 questions; completion of which will generate a comprehensive report detailing your overall performance, as well as providing you with a set of recommendations designed to assist you in optimising your chemical supply chain safety strategy.

A sample of the report you will receive can be viewed here.

Access the NCEC Supply Chain Assurance Tool

If chemical supply chain best practice is of topical interest to you then we also encourage you to watch our supply chain sustainability webinar. In this webinar, 'Managing chemical safety and sustainability in the chemical supply chain', our experts share best practice from some of the world's leading chemical companies to explain how risk management, corporate social responsibility and sustainability are key to developing a coherent chemical safety management strategy.

View 'Managing chemical safety and sustainability in the chemical supply chain' here





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Upcoming webinar 'Responding to a thimbleful or a lorry load? The value of proportionate advice in chemical incident response' 



The majority of chemical incidents attended by emergency service crews typically involve spills between 1 and 25 litres. However, most chemical hazard databases only provide advice on handling spills of 200 litres or more. This often leads emergency services to over deploy when attending a chemical incident and incur unnecessary expense in terms of time, money and resources.

In a new webinar, ‘Responding to a thimbleful or a lorry load? The value of proportionate advice in chemical incident response’, we will demonstrate the value of proportionate advice in chemical incident response using a number of case studies and scenarios.

In this complimentary webinar, our experts will:

  • Explore the concept of proportionate advice and explain its benefits so that you’re completely aware of the advantages of its practical application during the course of a chemical incident.
  • Provide practical examples demonstrating its value so that you can understand its value in the context of a chemical incident and how it can save you time, money and resources when responding to an emergency involving hazardous materials.
  • Provide an overview of how we solve this problem - understand how our hazardous chemicals database, Chemdata®, delivers four levels of proportionate advice to cater for very small, small medium and large spills to in support an appropriate response to a chemical incident.

This webinar is designed for anyone involved in responding to an incident involving hazardous materials. This includes:

  • Emergency responders
  • Fire services personnel
  • Ambulance services personnel
  • Police force personnel
  • Emergency operators
The webinar is taking place on two dates, both of which you can register for below.

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Guidance on which phone numbers are required in Section 1.4 of Safety Data Sheets 





Many companies raise the question of having to provide several emergency numbers in section 1.4 of their SDSs.

In this whitepaper, our regulatory experts provide a detailed explanation of the REACH regulation surrounding this so that you're clear on exactly which emergency numbers are to be provided and avoid the inevitable fines and barriers to importation of incorrect provision.

Read more



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 Industry News


NCEC helps National Grid to turn the dial one notch further in crisis preparedness 





National Grid plc is an electricity and gas utility company responsible for distributing energy in the UK and USA. It implements a mature crisis management and mitigation system built on a philosophy of over-preparedness and continuous improvement.

National Grid chose us to provide a professional review of its group wide crisis management procedures on the strength of our wide industry expertise and practical approach to crisis assurance.

Read more



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 People News


NCEC Senior Crisis Management Consultant receives BCI Gold Award  



We are proud to announce that Chris Lewis, a Senior Crisis Management Consultant at NCEC, has been identified as the 2015 Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Diploma Student of the Year following the successful completion of his Business Continuity Management diploma course at Buckinghamshire New University. The course consisted of three modules, for which Chris was awarded grades of 80, 77 and 70.

Chris was identified as the 2015 BCI Diploma Student of the Year and was awarded the BCI Gold award for:

  • Achieving A (or equivalent) grades across all modules
  • Originality of research papers – expanded the understanding of business continuity by investigating a crucial area previously unconsidered within the crisis management framework:
    • ‘The changing face of Business Continuity Managers.’
    • ‘Benefits of simulation exercises as a learning tool for business continuity teams.’

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) is the world’s leading institute for business continuity and has established itself as the primary membership and certifying organization for business continuity professionals worldwide.

Such an award is a testament to Chris’ expertise and reinforces our ability to support companies to improve performance throughout the disaster cycle. This includes helping clients to develop and implement mature crisis management frameworks and notification systems as part of a responsible and cost effective long-term business plan. We are able to also support companies with highly sophisticated crisis management systems to continually strengthen their crisis management frameworks through high quality assurance and training activities.

For more information about our crisis management and incident response services, please do not hesitate to get in touch here: ncec@ricardo.com

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Industry mourn the loss of renowned regulatory consultant 



We are sad to announce that renowned regulatory consultant, Desmond Waight, passed away on Friday 2 September. He leaves his wife, Lindy, three children, and grandchildren.

Desmond started his career in packaging with Kodak and then became the packaging expert at the 3M company. Here, he soon recognised the importance of the packaging of dangerous goods for supply and transport, and in 1994, he and several others formed the CHCS (Chemical Hazard Communication Society).

Desmond set up his own company, DanGoods and became widely known throughout the chemical and transport industries. He helped to implement many of the changes of which we now take advantage in our industries, and it is widely considered that we wouldn’t have “LQ”, the limited quantities legislation, without Desmond’s input.

As well as assisting industry broadly, Desmond willingly helped the careers of those new to the business, and over the years trained many of our team of DGSAs.

We worked closely with Desmond through CHCS. BADGP and the DfT meetings. 

Desmond will be greatly missed by all and our team passes their condolences to his family.


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 Interesting calls 


A blast from the past 




We received a call from a fire and rescue service (FRS) crew dealing with what was believed to be a chemical mine from the World War Two (WW2) era that had been unearthed by a group of workmen. After discussions with 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal of the Royal Logistical Corps, it was confirmed that the device was a WW2 mustard gas (also called sulfur mustard) mine for area denial. The FRS crew informed us that the device had leaked and that the material remaining inside had solidified.

The FRS crew was concerned that the workmen may have been exposed to the contents of the mine, mustard gas is a blistering agent meaning that it is corrosive and has the potential to cause severe burns on the skin, eyes and lungs. Large exposures to mustard gas can be fatal and as a result of this along with its lack of effective counter measures has resulted in its wide spread use in many conflicts. Our Emergency Responders informed the firefighters on site what risks mustard gas poses to them and to the exposed workers. We then provided advice on what first-aid would be necessary for anyone who had been exposed to the contents of the mine. Finally we provided detailed advice about how to decontaminate any equipment used in the disposal and containment of the mine. The mine was disposed of by a contractor who carefully excavated and examined the mine, before concluding that it was safe to remove and the ten people who had been exposed were quickly discharged without any adverse health effects.

Our Emergency Responders’ expertise allows us to quickly and safely assess chemical incidents. The range of products covered by our software means that even obscure risks can be easily assessed, and timely and appropriate advice given, even if the chemical in question is not in circulation or even a prohibited substance like a chemical weapon.




Industrial fire 


We received a call regarding a fire in an industrial unit. The FRS crew at the scene had located what was believed to be containers of red diesel and thought that it was being illegally treated to remove (or wash) the red colouration, this would require other substances which may have presented additional risks to the fire crews in attendance. The crew wanted to know what chemicals would be needed to wash the red diesel and if they presented any additional hazards.

Our emergency responders briefed the crew on the primary method used to wash red diesel, namely an acid wash using sulfuric acid, which in combustion could have produced toxic fumes. This method of washing red diesel is quite popular and as a result the government has now started using a UV dye in red diesel which is harder to washout and easily spotted using a black light. Later, it emerged that the containers were filled with used vegetable oil, which the owner may have been trying to convert to biodiesel. Again, the FRS crew sought information regarding the chemicals that may have been on site and what risks those would pose in a fire. Using our extensive knowledge base we found a method commonly used to make biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. This allowed us to inform the fire fights that sodium hydroxide, a corrosive chemical, and methanol, which is highly flammable and toxic, may be on the scene.

Here at the NCEC, we have a wide range of information sources, contacts, and an extensive client base that can be used to find specialist information, all of which we maintain in an easily accessible format to help reduce response times. When combined with our emergency responder’s chemical knowledge, this enables us to respond quickly and effectively to chemical incidents, no matter how uncommon they might seem.


emergency response


 A curious case of carbon monoxide 


We received a call from a FRS regarding a carbon monoxide build up in a residential property. The family had evacuated their home when they noticed a strange solvent-like smell. Upon arrival, the FRS and gas company discovered a minor gas leak coming from the cooker. However, the level of carbon monoxide in the property did not decrease when the leak was isolated. Further examination revealed that the carbon monoxide level in the basement was higher than elsewhere in the house and that the gas seemed to be rising up through cracks in the tiled floor.

We were asked if there were any other possible sources of carbon monoxide beyond combustion. Our emergency responder was able to offer a number of possible sources to help direct the investigation. In addition, members of our emergency response team discussed the situation and came up with alternative sources of carbon monoxide, which included paint thinners – these have been known to produce carbon monoxide in older properties. It was discovered that the source of the carbon monoxide and the solvent-like smell was burning plastic insulation on underfloor electrical cables.

The NCEC has been in operation for over 40 years and has a great deal of experience responding to all types of emergencies as a result we are able to provide sound advice and reasonable predictions which others may miss or overstate. The team is also comprised of people with various chemical backgrounds, from recent graduates and PhDs to veterans of the industry allowing for collaborations and sharing of ideas which a singular chemist may miss.



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.