September 2012

Welcome to the September issue of the NCEC newsletter.

This month we have some informative articles on ESDS, ESs, QSAR and on the Seveso III Directive. If those abbreviations mean nothing to you, you should definitely read on and even if you have come across them before, I hope we have helped to further your knowledge.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something lighter or more accessible, we are offering free ‘taster’ sessions for some of our training courses, so make sure to sign up for those. Then we have our usual round-up of interesting calls and you can read what I was up to during the Olympics.
Happy reading                      

Bill Atkinson, Knowledge Leader



Supporting you towards compliance

New service from NCEC - extended safety data sheet authoring

As part of our commitment to you and to ensure we are continually offering a valued-added service to help you comply with legislation, we are proud to announce that we are adding extended safety data sheets (ESDSs) to our SDS authoring services,  

Our authoring team already supports our customers by providing SDSs that are compliant with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH). REACH also requires that ESs are included in the SDS for registered substances that are hazardous and placed on the market in quantities of 10 tonnes or more per year. This new, longer document is the ESDS. NCEC has developed its authoring services so that the key information on how the substances are used and the key risk-control measures are included in the ESDS.

NCEC uses templates for ESDS that match the format recommended by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). As an added benefit, we can also provide the documents in multiple languages, which is a significant challenge in meeting the ESDS requirements.

With the first REACH registration deadline already passed and the next rapidly approaching in 2013, now is a good time to make sure you meet your requirements to pass ESDS information through the supply chain. Our consultants have been working with REACH since it was introduced and provide an excellent resource to support you towards compliance.

To find out more about our ESDS authoring services, please contact us at

ESDS exposure scenarios - what do they look like?

The need for ESs is driven by REACH. As part of the registration process, it is a requirement to produce a chemical safety report (CSR) for the substance. Where the substance is placed on the market in quantities of 10 tonnes or more per year then the CSR must also include ESs.

The ESs result from communication up and down the supply chain. They allow the manufacturer/importer to communicate how the product is used (occupational conditions) and the protective measures (for the environment, workers and consumers) that downstream users should consider to ensure that they are using the substance safely (risk-management measures).

Once the ESs have been produced, it is a further requirement to communicate the information through the supply chain. The method used to do this is to append the ES to the SDS – converting it to an ESDS.

So, what do the ESs look like? What data are provided? Are there well-defined section headings in the same way as there is for a SDS?

Annex I of REACH provides details on compiling CSRs and ESs. However, this Annex is far less prescriptive than Annex II of REACH, which deals with the data to be provided on SDSs. There is also very detailed guidance from ECHA on how to compile an SDS. Initially, guidance for the ES and ESDS was less detailed. The result is that, while the content of an SDS is becoming a lot more consistent between different suppliers, the ES produced for the first round of REACH registrations were notably different. This, of course, presents a significant challenge to SDS authors when they are trying to compile data for their ESDS.

The situation has greatly improved and a more detailed guidance document has been issued by ECHA on the structure for an ES to be included in the CSR and the ESDS. The basic structure for the ESDS ES is given below.

1. Exposure Scenario (1)

Title of exposure scenario

2.1 Contributing scenario (1) controlling environmental exposure for...

2.2 Contributing scenario (2) controlling worker exposure for...

2.3 Contributing scenario (3) controlling worker exposure for...

2.n Contributing scenario (n) controlling worker exposure for...

3. Exposure estimation and reference to its source

Information for contributing scenario (1)

Information for contributing scenario (2)

Information for contributing scenario (3)

Information for contributing scenario (n)

4. Guidance to DU to evaluate whether he works inside the boundaries set by the ES

This structure provides a template that suppliers can work to and also that SDS authoring software can use to facilitate straightforward communication of ESDS between different organisations.

Further guidance is also provided on the information that should be given in each section of the ES. So, for example, a contributing ES relating to worker exposure to a particular substance would follow the format given below.

Contributing scenario controlling worker exposure for...

Product characteristic

Amount used

Frequency and duration of use/exposure

Human factors not influenced by risk management

Other given operational conditions affecting workers exposure

Technical conditions and measures at process level (source) to prevent release

Technical conditions and measures to control dispersion from source towards the worker

Organisational measures to prevent/limit releases, dispersion and exposure

Conditions and measures related to personal protection, hygiene and health evaluation

Therefore, companies can use the ES formats given in the guidance and be confident that their ESDSs are compliant and consistent with how other people are communicating these data. NCEC is using this format for the ESs it authors and can help you to revise your ES information to a consistent clear and more easily translatable format. For more information on the ESDS, please contact us.    

QSAR - compliance and cost savings

NCEC’s toxicology and chemistry consultants are adding to our services by providing quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) modelling. They are available to support you in the REACH registration process and to fill any gaps you have on hazard and classification data for your substances.

QSAR modelling provides an approved method to define the hazards of your substances at a lower cost than traditional testing methods. It can be used for REACH registration and to determine the hazard classification of substances according to the Regulation on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP).

QSAR models group together chemicals according to structural and physico-chemical properties. The groups are then considered to have similar toxicological and ecotoxicological properties. The similarity between chemicals is used to predict the properties of substances where these data are unknown.

The key thing about QSAR modelling is that it meets a key aim of REACH (i.e. to minimise the amount of new toxicity and ecotoxicity testing). Therefore, NCEC uses modelling techniques that were specifically designed for REACH and approved by ECHA.

With the 2013 REACH registration deadline approaching, data are required on many substances. Contact us to discuss how we can help with QSAR modelling and with your REACH and CLP obligations.


What is QSAR?

QSARs are theoretical models that can be used to predict the physico-chemical, biological and environmental fate of chemicals. The basis for QSAR modelling is that the hazardous properties of a substance are related to its chemical structure. So, for example, it may be possible to identify specific functional groups within a substance (e.g. alcohols or amines are related to specific types of hazards, such as corrosivity or toxic effects on fish). QSAR also looks at how changes to substances that are structurally similar affect their properties. For example, for a group of alcohols, does a pattern emerge of increased toxicity as the molecular weight increases?

QSAR uses the relationships between structures and toxicological/ecotoxicological properties to predict the properties for substances where there are gaps in the hazard information. Complex models have been developed to enable the use of QSAR to provide accurate and reliable values for the hazardous properties for many substances where gaps in data exist.

Why is QSAR important?

In the current regulatory climate, there are two key areas where QSAR can be used:

1.    Registrations (e.g. REACH

2.    Classification and labelling.


Chemical registration regulations around the globe are demanding increased amounts of data on chemical hazards. This has to be balanced against a desire to minimise the amount of actual testing carried out. Providing opportunities for the use of QSAR modelling which is often referred to as an ‘in-silico’ technique.


To register substances under REACH, extensive data are required on the properties of the substances. In many cases, there are gaps in the data. REACH also places a particular emphasis on the use of alternatives to new animal testing to generate registration data. QSAR is specifically referenced as an alternative to testing, with Annex XI detailing the provisions of how and when this method can be used.   

Therefore, it is expected that QSAR will play a significant role in helping companies and Substance Information Exchange Forum (SIEF) to fill the data gaps for substances that they are registering.

A number of QSAR models can be used to produce data for REACH registration purposes. These include Toxtree, CAESAR and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) toolbox - has been approved and validated by the ECHA.  


Appeal to those involved in dangerous goods (hazmat) training

NCEC has been asked to help identify those involved in commissioning, delivering or attending dangerous goods training (such as driver training) and ask them to complete a short questionnaire on their views of the effectiveness of this training.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB), allied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has decided to study the effectiveness of compulsory training required by those people handling hazardous materials as part of their job.

In the US, all regulations for the transportation of hazardous materials are governed by the DOT and its agencies. These develop guidelines for training personnel involved in such activities over the public highways by bulk transport and other transport modes. While the DOT and its agencies form the basis for training, all stakeholders, including states, chemical manufacturers, transporters, motor carriers and employees, have a role in defining and delivering training requirements. Individual training providers use guidance from the federal standards to develop compliant training programmes designed to ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials. Stakeholders are responsible for ensuring that employees involved in the transportation of hazardous materials receive proper instruction in federal and state requirements and implement learned objectives in all aspects of the hazardous material transportation process.

The objective of this research is to develop a guide that describes methodologies, metrics and best practices used to evaluate the effectiveness of training programmes and instructional methods (including preparation and delivery) used to impart safety awareness and security to public and private-sector employees.

An integral part of this project is to gain a better knowledge of practices outside of the US. This will be achieved by engaging with providers and end users of training around the world to compare the differences in practices and training in various countries and by completing the questionnaire. The completed questionnaires will be used to help inform the study and develop a guide on dangerous goods (hazmat) training, such as highlighting good practice. Those taking part who provide their contact details will receive a copy of the guide.


Spill response training not in the cold  
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), based in Cambridge, approached the NCEC to enquire about chemical spill response training. BAS transports quite a varied cargo of chemicals to its laboratories at various stations in the Antarctic and also for use on board its ship.

The training took place in Cambridge in mid-August - fortunately, it was a day when it didn’t rain. After the classroom sessions, the delegates split into two groups. One group dealt with a small spill (2 litres) of acid in a laboratory and the other wanted to release about 50 litres of a solvent in the outside storage area.

What surprised all of them is the way in which liquids spread quite quickly. Even the 2 litres in the laboratory covered an area of about 1 square metre in under a minute. The groups had no preparation for the spills; they were just told that a spill team was required in the appropriate area. They then had to gather information and plan their responses.

Comments from the group included:

“It made me realise how much I didn’t know. I will be more confident handling any spills in future – at least I know how to start!”

“Most important idea – to stop and assess situation before rushing in to contain the spill.”

“Highlighted thinking, don’t panic, plan.”

“The course will be used to develop our spill response plans.”

Seveso III - are you compliant?

On 24 July, the European Commission published Directive 2012/18/EU, the Seveso III Directive. This latest draft Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances brings a number of changes.
The most significant change and the primary reason for its introduction is the implementation of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which has been used in the EU since coming into force in 2008. This system introduced new hazard classes and categories, which means some substances are no longer classified and others are classified to a higher level.
With the introduction of GHS, the thresholds for substances regulated under Seveso have changed. This means some sites (although the number should be very small) no longer fall under the regulation and a larger number will now fall into the lower-tier category or move up to being an upper-tier site.

For those organisations that now have sites classified as lower-tier or have been moved into the upper-tier, it is important that they have an understanding of the major obligations.

Requirements Lower-tier Upper-tier New in Seveso III
Notify competent authority (in the UK, these are the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency) of the presence of dangerous substances and in what quantities  
Develop a Major Accident Prevention Policy (MAPP)
Develop on-site emergency procedures (how emergencieswould be managed)  
Develop off-site emergency plans  
Demonstrate a risk-assessment approach  
Develop a safety report (to demonstrate that a MAPP and safety management system have been implemented) Information available to the public, permanently and electronically

NCEC’s expert team of emergency planners and regulatory specialists is here to advise you on compliance with Seveso III (in the UK the COMAH regulations are set to be amended).

Contact us for further information.


What I did at the Olympics

Bill Atkinson, who was part of the Multi-Agency Initial Assessment Team (MAIAT) covering the Olympic football at the City of Coventry Stadium and at the sailing event in Weymouth and Portlandalks about his experiences.

The MAIAT concept builds on the inter-agency working and preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events, laid down in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The ‘team’ part of MAIAT is usually drawn from the three main emergency services. The idea is for the team to make the initial assessment in a low-key way, only alerting the public if it is judged that there is a genuine risk.

In preparation for the Olympics (including the Olympic Torch Relay), a MAIAT team was established in the West Midlands. The City of Coventry Stadium (known as the Ricoh Arena to Coventry City FC fans) was one of the designated Olympic venues. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Fire Service had been asked to provide specialist support to Dorset, which was hosting the sailing events at Weymouth and Portland.
West Midlands Fire Service uniquely employs four regional scientific advisors, who are able to provide scientific support as a result of, and in addition to, their external main jobs. I was selected to be one of these four thanks to the experience I’ve gained with NCEC.
Contrary to what it may appear, it wasn’t all about watching football or cruising out on boats. We took part in daily training activities and exercises, and offered equipment demonstrations and hosted visits from other emergency services. Thankfully, the Olympics and Paralympics passed by free of serious incident.
There has been much talk of ‘legacy’ surrounding the Olympics and Paralympics. For me, I hope the main legacy that endures is that the close cooperation and camaraderie established between the personnel in the MAIAT is not only maintained, but also applied to future events.


Ammonium nitrate fertiliser fire

A tyre fire on a lorry spread to the 29 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser it was carrying. NCEC received a call from a firefighter at the scene who wanted advice because the water used to fight the fire had entered the drains.

Our Emergency Responder advised the firefighter of the hazards of the product, namely that it is an oxidiser, which increases the risk of fire particularly when mixed with combustible materials such as fuel and oil. The Emergency Responder also told the firefighter that the fertiliser dissolved in the run-off water could make streams and rivers that it enters over-rich in nutrients (eutrophication). Eutrophication can cause an algal bloom to develop, which will use all of the oxygen dissolved in the water, asphyxiating fish and other aquatic wildlife. Our Emergency Responder recommended that the remaining run-off water was collected and advice sought from the Environment Agency.
NCEC works alongside the blue light services, Government agencies and industry partners to help resolve chemical incidents safely and quickly.

Wasteland incident

NCEC recently received a call from a fire and rescue service group manager who was assisting the police with an incident on wasteland near a housing estate. Youths had been seen mixing an unknown white crystalline powder with water and throwing it.
Our Emergency Responder assisted the fire and rescue service with the interpretation of the wet chemistry tests (solubility, pH, reactivity, etc) and the results from the detection identification and monitoring (DIM) equipment to conclude that the substance was sodium hydroxide. The Emergency Responder advised the group manager that sodium hydroxide is a corrosive alkali that can cause severe burns to eyes and skin, particularly when mixed with water. Our Emergency Responder recommended that decontamination of the youths involved was necessary to prevent serious injury. The powder was cleaned up and handed to the local council for disposal.
NCEC’s chemists draw on their extensive scientific knowledge to provide impartial advice to the emergency services helping them to protect people, property and the environment.

Overturned tanker

A tanker carrying 30,000 litres of aluminium sulfate solution overturned and was lying across all three lanes of a motorway, which had been closed in both directions. NCEC received a call from a fire and rescue service station manager who was dealing with the incident and said that the tanker had had a minor leak, but this had been brought under control quickly.   
Our Emergency Responder advised the station manager that aluminium sulfate solution is an irritant, but has low toxicity so breathing apparatus and fire kit were suitable when dealing with the leaked material. The station manager then went on to explain that the product would be decanted to another tanker, but was concerned because it appeared to be getting hot; the product is transported at 50°C, but the thermal imaging cameras had shown a slight increase in temperature. Our Emergency Responder confirmed that it was safe to begin the transfer process as the increase in pressure in the tanker would be small. The load was safely decanted and the vehicle recovered, allowing the motorway to be reopened.
Immediate access to chemical hazard information and highly trained specialists allows incidents to be closed more quickly, and reduces the risk to emergency personnel and the public.



TURKCHEM Chem Show Eurasia 2012 , Istanbul Expo Center, Turkey , 11-14 October 2012




NCEC will be taking exhibition space at TURKCHEM 2012. 'The show will have exhibitors from many industrial sectors including chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, textiles, plastics, water treatment and packaging.  

2012 National Safety Council & Congress expo, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, USA, 20-25 October 2012






NCEC will be taking exhibition space at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo 100-year anniversary event.
This centenary event symbolises 100 years of collaboration, lessons learned and progress for safety across the US. NSC will honour the advancements and accomplishments of organisations and individuals who have helped make safety what it is today.
NCEC’s Jon Gibbard has been allocated a speaking slot in the Solutions Center.

The Emergency Services Show, Stonleigh Park, Conventry, 21-22 Nov 2012



NCEC will be on stand E48 at this year’s Emergency Services Show. To register for a free pass to the show please click here.

For further information about the show, please click here.

Hazmat 2013




Following the successful partnership for Hazmat 2012, NCEC is pleased to announce that Fire Times is confirmed as its Media Partner for Hazmat 2013. Fire Times is the voice of today's fire and rescue service, and is the leading trade and technical publication in its field.


The editorial content of the magazine reflects the broader role the fire and rescue service has taken on over the past 50 years, beyond its traditional firefighting role.

Fire times is the only publication sent free to over 5,000 operational officers, and to buyers and specifiers of equipment, services and consumables in today's fire and rescue sector throughout the UK and Europe.

The magazine is required reading for operational firefighters with purchasing responsibilities (such as training), communication officers, brigade engineers and hazmat personnel.

Fire Times is the official publication for the Fire and Rescue Suppliers Association, Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation and the Airport Fire Officers Association.
Hazmat 2013 will be held on the 7 and 8 March 2013 at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham

Now in its 6th year, the Hazmat conference is an essential opportunity for Hazmat specialists to share experiences and knowledge with like-minded professionals working in the hazmat and chemical incident industry. The conference draws on the knowledge and experience of a range of hazmat professionals and industry leaders, as well as that of NCEC’s own Emergency Responders and experts.

Hazmat 2013 will incorporate interactive syndicate exercises and workshops on a range of subjects as part of the two-day conference. Delegates will have the opportunity to register for specific workshops and syndicate exercises when the topics have been finalised. We plan to make further announcements  in the next couple of months via the Newsletter, NCEC website and Fire Times.

Registration for the conference has now opened and further details are available on our website including the super-early-bird rate which is available for just a few more days until 30 September.


At NCEC, we recognise the importance of chemical safety training and have a strong track record in providing training in areas such as chemical incident response, chemical safety and the complying with legislation.

As part of our commitment to provide training in these areas, we will be offering a limited number of places on our free ‘taster’ sessions during October. These will take the form of half-hour sessions, which will give you the opportunity to watch and listen to excerpts from three of our courses – COSHH Assessment, First Aid for Chemical Exposures and Chemical Spill Response.
For an overview of the courses, please download our training course synopses.

Places will be limited, so please email to register your interest by Friday 5 October.

Can we help with your training requirements?
If you have any chemical training requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss them. We can provide training at your premises to suit your requirements. Emai for more details.                                        
Forthcoming courses

First Aid for Chemical Exposures - 14 November 2012
Our First Aid for Chemical Exposures 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.
Cost: £265 +VAT

Hazmat 1st Response - 15 November 2012 & 6 March 2013
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: £235 + VAT

Chemical Spill Response - 5 December 2012 & 7 March 2013
A one-day training course that is ideal for those who are considering setting up, or already have, a spill response team in their workplace.
Cost: £265 +VAT

COSHH Assessment - 6 December 2012
This presentation provides the necessary knowledge to ensure delegates understand the requirements of the COSHH legislation, with regard to the assessment of the risks to health where hazardous substances are being used.
Cost: £215 +VAT

Chemical Hazard Awareness - 21 February 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.
Cost: £265 +VAT                                                                          

To book a place, please contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 and/or email

[end of newsletter]



1. Supporting you towards compliance

- New service from NCEC - extended safety data sheet authoring

- ESDS exposure scenarios - what do they look like?

- QSAR - Compliance and cost savings


2. In the News

- Appeal to those involved in dangerous goods (Hazmat) training

3. NCEC in action

- Spill response training not in the cold

4. Seveso III  - are you compliant?

5. Out and About

- What I did at the Olympics

6. Interesting calls

- Ammonium nitrate fertiliser fire

- Wasteland Incident

- Overturned tanker

7. Forthcoming

- Events

- Training