Work safely with chemicals, work with NCEC - Spring 2008


With Spring approaching there are many reasons to be excited.  There are two reasons in particular that this newsletter highlights.  Firstly, we are excited about our forthcoming annual conference, Chemical Response and Environmental Protection 2008.  This is the first time we are running this event in Birmingham, and we are pleasantly surprised with the response.  This may be because the agenda was designed with a steering group made up of leading figures from the emergency services.  We are still taking bookings for this two-day conference and we hope to see you there!

We have another reason to be excited, and we think you will be too.  In this newsletter you will get a sneak preview of our new online COSHH and SDS management service.  Increasingly we see that organisations are making more use of web-based systems and that there is a need to manage a wider portfolio of chemical documents (eg COSHH assessments, safety certificates etc).  This is where we believe our new service - ChemeDox TM  - can help.

If there are any topics you would like us to cover in future newsletters then please let us know.  We are also very pleased to receive your comments so call us on tel: +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 or email:

Finally, we would like to wish Louise Bristow all the best during her maternity leave.

Happy reading.
Boris Salle
Acting Group Director
Tel: +44 (0) 1235 75 3654



1.  Legislation
2.  NCEC Conference 2008
3.  Sneak Preview - Online COSHH and SDS Management
4.  March Special Offers
5.  Chinese Delegation visit NCEC
6.  Behind the scenes of Chemsafe
7.  NCEC Events Diary
8.  Training - a Case Study
9.  Meet our Senior Trainer
10.  Forthcoming Training Courses
11.  Staff Changes in NCEC
12.  The Personal Touch
13.  Vacancies




 Are you in the right half?

Health and Safety Executive survey shows half the dangerous goods vehicles on UK roads breach regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently written to a number of trade associations with regard to their concerns at the ongoing level of non-compliance by road carriers discovered during roadside enforcement checks.  The letter stated that during 2007 police officers and VOSA carried out four national “CDG Check days”.  A coordinated effort was made to carry out roadside checks in many parts of Great Britain specifically targeting vehicles carrying dangerous goods or suspected of doing so.  This was in addition to any ad hoc or individual area activity.”

Overall 2492 vehicles were checked during these exercises.  Of those, 47% exhibited some breach of the regulations and 7% (about 1 in 14) were found to have breaches sufficiently serious to warrant the issue of a Prohibition Notice (either immediate or deferred).  In making these decisions officers are guided by the advice publicly available at:

The figures are broadly comparable with HSE’s overall experience of all checks.

In addition to the guidance available on the DfT and HSE websites, NCEC offers information on legal compliance, training and auditing of dangerous goods.  Please contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 or visit our website


 Safety Leadership

HSE Chief Executive issues challenge to major hazard industries

HSE Chief Executive, Geoffrey Podger, has challenged the major hazard industries to take more responsibility for tackling the safety issues it faces.  He said:

“We want our business and industry to be successful and for that success to be sustained in the long term.  However, major incidents, like Buncefield, undermine this effort.  Safety not only ensures people go home safely at the end of the day; it’s also good for business.  It requires investment…investment in leadership; investment in infrastructure; and investment in learning. 

Leadership is demonstrated through actions from the top, so that a culture develops where all managers and staff know that safety is being taken seriously.  Staff must see and hear the right messages, with the right tone and level of commitment. Managers must walk the talk, and be seen to listen to staff and to value their insights.  To achieve this, it is necessary to encourage a no-blame relationship, to recognise safe behaviours and challenge unsafe practices. 

Strong leadership is fundamental to achieving robust process safety management.  It is a Company Board issue and requires clear accountabilities at all levels, together with effective measurement systems, including indicators of process safety performance to enable learning from near misses and pre-cursor events, and avoiding major incidents.  It is essential also to use the right metrics: too often occupational health and safety data is used as an assurance of the unrelated but key issue of process safety.  Furthermore, an ingrained quest to learn is critical, companies must seek to learn from their own experiences while also looking beyond themselves for lessons in order to avoid complacency."

NCEC agrees that complacency is a risk that must be guarded against to maintain a safe working environment.  All too often safety issues are only addressed following incidents.  To discuss how NCEC can assist you with safety training or to discuss any safety concerns that you have with our team of consultants contact NCEC on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 or visit our website


 ADR 2009

UNECE issues draft amendments for ADR2009

The UNECE commission on the transport of dangerous goods has recently released the draft amendments to ADR for the 2009 edition.  When approved these changes will form the basis of the new edition of ADR and will become mandatory from 1st July 2009.  Changes include:

  • Major amendments to the classification and labelling of Environmental hazardous substances to mirror the criteria set out in the UN GHS, 
  • A number of new UN numbers including a new entry for petroleum/ethanol mixtures, 
  • A requirement for placarding of vehicles carrying over 12te of limited quantities goods,
  • The introduction of “excepted quantities” to ADR 
  • The introduction of the new HIN X432, 
  • Changes to the provisions regarding instructions in writing. 

The complete 180 page list of draft amendments can be found on the UNECE website at:

In addition to the information provided in the amendments document NCEC offers a DGSA consultancy service.  Our consultants will be happy to discuss with you how these changes may affect you and your organization.  For assistance please contact us on +44 (0)870 190 6621 or visit our website


 IMDG Update

Amendments to the IMDG marine pollutants provisions

The IMO have published changes to the marine pollutants provisions of the IMDG code that will enter into force 1st January 2009.  The provisions, which become mandatory in 2010, bring the IMDG code into line with the classification and labeling criteria set out in the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS).  Full details of the changes can be found on the IMO website.  A link to the website is provided below.

We can assist you in this area through chemical, oil and atmospheric modelling at sea, emergency response and consultancy.  Please contact us on +44 (0)870 190 6621 or visit our website at



A reminder to our readers that NCEC are hosting their Hazmat conference on 17th - 18th March 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Birmingham.  The conference has been designed to help Emergency Responders share knowledge and experience – something which is difficult to achieve on a day-to-day basis.  Over the two days you will listen to keynote speakers from many organisations.  Delegates are looking forward to the conference dinner (included in the price) as it gives you an excellent opportunity to meet other experts and network in a more informal setting.

We are still taking bookings for the event, call us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 for details or visit for a booking form.

This annual event is for professionals at the sharp end of responding to Hazardous Materials incidents.  We expect this to be of interest to:

  • Category 1 Emergency Responders, such as:
    · Fire Service Hazardous Material and Environmental Protection Officers (HMEPO)
    · Local Authority Emergency Planning Officers
    · Non-Municipal Fire Service Officers
    · Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies involved in chemical incident response 
  • Chemical Industry Representatives and Responders
  • Organisations involved in providing support services and equipment to Category 1 Emergency Responders

Bill Atkinson, Head of Emergency Response at NCEC says:

“What sets this conference apart is that it is designed by emergency response professionals, for emergency response professionals.   We intend that it will address many aspects of hazmat incidents, and will be relevant for all involved in incident response.  NCEC has taken the approach of using a multi-agency steering group to design the conference topics.  This is an excellent way of ensuring that a balanced agenda is presented.”

Speakers from a wide range of organisations, including the Environment Agency, Met Office, Fire Brigades, Maritime & Coastguard Agency and industry will explain what roles they play in such incidents.

The programme covers six key themes:

  • Environmental Protection – the importance of the partnership between Fire & Rescue Service and the Environment Agency and how prior planning improves response and saves time and money 
  • Emergency Planning – are you identifying all major hazards, e.g. from oil pipelines and storage facilities?
  • Marine Response – hear about the role of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and chemical response teams in the context of incidents such as the MSC Napoli  
  • Role of Other Agencies – your chance to better understand and interact with agencies such as the Highways Agency and Health Protection Agency 
  • Future technologies – including an update on acetylene research
  • Practical Case Studies – learning lessons from recent incidents

Experienced speakers will cover these topic areas, providing a great forum to gain a wider perspective on both the issues and ways in which to address them.

To enquire about attending please contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.  You can download a booking form and agenda from



Still searching for that SDS?

As readers of our newsletter we wanted you to be the first to hear about our newest development called ChemeDox TM.  As you might guess from the name this helps organisations - like yours - manage all their chemical documents from one, online system.  This prevents staff having to search high and low for information.  The benefits include reduced duplication and errors by having access to a simple to use, central data source.

Regular readers will know that we have been providing a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) management system (SDS Tracker TM) since 2001.  Over the last seven years we have improved our knowledge of how companies use SDSs.  Increasingly we see that organisations are making more use of web-based systems, and that there is a need to manage a wider portfolio of chemical documents (eg COSHH assessments, safety certificates etc).  This is why we have developed ChemeDox TM. 

We are currently in the final stages of development and expect to launch the service in the coming weeks.   As soon as the service is live we will of course, let you know.


Interested in getting involved?

We are looking for organisations to get involved in a trial of ChemeDox TM.  This could be the ideal opportunity for you to explore how this service can help you manage all of your chemical documents.  By joining the service at the start you will also be well placed to influence the ongoing development of ChemeDox TM.

To find out more about ChemeDox contact Sunil Choudrie by email putting “ChemeDox” in the subject line or telephone  +44 (0) 1235 75 3654



Hazchem Scale Cards - 25% extra free


This durable laminated Hazchem Scale Card is a must for emergency services and industry.  It provides information on transport Hazchem plates (UK and European regulations), warning diamonds and the labels found on chemicals.

Many of our customers have amended their policies to ensure that they provide this informative guide to all staff.  The Scale Card is a relatively inexpensive way to give staff immediate access to hazard information - helping them to make the right decision quickly.  This can reduce the risk to people and the environment.

Buy 125 Scale Cards for the price of 100. Offer ends 31/03/08.

To take advantage of this special offer contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.


 CSE – Save £50

Do you use the Dangerous Goods List in ADR, the Approved Supply List or Workplace Exposure Limits?

Are you responsible for classifying, labelling and producing Safety Data Sheets?

Then you know how time consuming it can be to find the information you require in these three essential lists.

If you need to access legislative chemical data then CSE is for you.  The powerful, user-friendly, web-based application gives fast access to this data.  It drastically reduces the time taken for product classification (transport and supply) and Safety Data Sheet creation.

If you subscribe before 31 March 2008 you will receive £50 off the normal annual price of £250 (excluding Vat).

Simply enter promotional code ZFWALXK when you make your on line payment and you will receive your £50 discount.

Want to trial CSE first?  Then visit our website for a Free 48 hour trial.

To help you see just how useful CSE is we are providing full access to CSE for 48 hours. Once you have registered you can search the CSE database in full for a 48 hour period.

The trial is open to everyone so you can ask your colleague or boss to register so they can see how powerful CSE is for themselves.

Register here for your free trial.

We intend to add more datasets, such as Proper Shipping Names, basic Hazdata and different transport modes, in the near future.  If you are interested in these and other datasets then please let us know by contacting us on +44 (0) 1235 75 36541 or email



Head of Emergency Response at NCEC, Bill Atkinson, spoke at the 1st China International Forum on Workplace Emergency Management & Rescue last year.  As a result of that visit NCEC recently hosted a visit by Mr He Liguang, Deputy Chief Executive of the Chinese National Workplace Emergency Management Centre and his delegation.  The visitors contacted NCEC as we have developed strong links with Chinese government organisations.  The Chinese understand that NCEC is the best organisation for them to share experiences, information and ideas about emergency management and rescue.

The party were interested to learn more about the organisational structure of emergency management and the management of rescue teams in the UK.  D V Howells was also present at the meeting to share their practical knowledge and experience of response to incidents involving hazardous chemicals.

NCEC works closely with the Chinese Fire Service, providing training and support.  NCEC also has close links with the Chinese National Registration Centre for Chemicals.



“January sales go with a bang”

It should have been just another Saturday afternoon at the January Sales.  To add to the experience an explosion occurred on a nearby local Industrial Estate, disrupting the usual shopping.  This was then followed by a further two explosions, with the risk that there would be more.

NCEC received a call from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue.  It was believed that the building, which was on fire, contained over 200 gas cylinders including Syngas (75% Hydrogen and 25% Oxygen mix), methane, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen.

There were two people unaccounted for at the site and an initial cordon of 200 metres had been established around the building.

NCEC were able to offer basic advice on the hazards of the gas cylinders and were also able to contact the gas manufactures on behalf of the Fire Service for notification purposes.  NCEC also suggested that due to the sheer quantity of gas cylinders present it would be sensible to extend the cordon.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue then liaised with the Incident Commander and the cordon was extended by a further 100 metres.  The incident featured on the local news and several businesses were evacuated for the day.

“Explosion rocks local garage”

One Wednesday in January residents were awoken to a loud explosion around 7:00 a.m.  The explosion was followed by a large fire, which came from their local petrol station.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue rang NCEC for advice.  The garage was known to contain acetylene cylinders and over 200 tyres.  Due to the fact that an acetylene cylinder was present a cordon of 200 meters was quickly set up.  This meant that over 100 homes were evacuated for just over 24 hours.

NCEC were able to offer advice on the exclusion zone for acetylene cylinders as well as give advice on the hazards.  In addition staff advised on the fumes released from the burning tyres.  In particular, NCEC advised that all run-off water should be contained and that inhalation of fumes should be avoided.

Eight fire engines and 90 Fire Fighters battled the flames, which were described by eyewitnesses as 40ft (12m) or 50ft (15m) high.

Again this incident made the local news.



NCEC have a busy schedule of events this year.  Here are the first few events where we will be exhibiting.


  • ACC Responsible Care Conference – Miami, USA 

27th – 30th April NCEC will be available to discuss Emergency Response and our Consultancy services.  We will also be show casing our new ChemeDox service. Come and see us at Booth 1 just inside the entrance

  • Safety & Health Expo 2008 

13th – 15th May NCEC will be exhibiting our portfolio of Chemical Safety products and services, including our new ChemeDox service Please visit us at Stand M76


  • ChemCon 2008 - Rome 

10th – 13th June NCEC will be available to discuss issues like chemical control legislation around the world ie REACH, Emergency Response. We hope you will visit us there too



In late 2007, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dartford, approached NCEC to provide some training to their spillage response team.  They were looking for a programme that could provide both practical training in dealing with the type of spill they might encounter, as well as help their staff understand the hazards and risks associated with the chemicals used on site.

Our approach was to establish the chemicals and likely quantities involved; find out what kind of PPE was available and then create a course that would best suit their needs.  As the number of substances, and amounts, were relatively low, it quickly became clear that the best route was to train the team using the company’s own PPE and response equipment.

The course, which ran in December, was made up of three parts, the first looking at chemical properties and hazards and how these related to any risks the team might face from a spillage.  The second part reviewed the team’s PPE and other equipment and then went on to deal with theory of response and how to manage the incident scene.  The last part of the course provided the staff with an opportunity to undertake some practical sessions simulating a chemical leak in one of their laboratories.  Two groups tackled two different substances – one involving the team donning Breathing Apparatus.

Everyone involved found the training interesting and useful, with the level of information covered about right.  The practical session, whilst demonstrating the proper techniques for using the team’s equipment, also gave everyone a lot of amusement.   However, it soon became apparent to everyone that the actual cleanup of material was quite an easy task - it was the preparation that took the time!  The one comment that was heard more than once was “Spill response takes longer than we thought”.



Name: Paul Rast Lindsell

Position: NCEC Senior Trainer 

In your role as Senior Trainer how do you think you help companies?

Many training courses simply give people information, NCEC takes a different approach – we pride ourselves on giving people a platform to learn about chemicals, how they behave and how to use this information to deal with a wide range of chemical incidents.  I have worked with and trained a very wide range of both private and public sector organisations such as Exel, Thermo Fisher and numerous Fire Brigades.

Having delivered many courses (and been an Emergency Responder myself) I feel that when a real incident occurs it is much easier to recall information you have actively learned as opposed to information you have been given and that is what we bear in mind when delivering our courses.


How would you describe a typical course?

We have many core areas in which we train people but it is very difficult to describe a typical course.  As each customer has different needs we tailor our courses according to their needs.  Our courses can have both a theoretical and practical element and as mentioned before, we cover a wide range of core areas e.g. principles of emergency response, safety data sheets and other paperwork associated with the use of chemicals, basic chemistry for non-chemists, properties of hazardous materials, how to recognise them and practical response to name just a few.


Where do the courses take place?

We run courses at our site in Harwell, Oxfordshire as well as holding a range of open courses at various venues around the UK.  We also deliver courses at our customer’s premises to demonstrate how the elements taught in the course apply to their workplace.


How did you become a trainer?

I joined NCEC as an Emergency Responder in 1989 after spending many years working on the disposal of radioactive waste.  During my time as an Emergency Responder I attended many CIA and industry-led Chemsafe courses as well as taking thousands of Emergency calls and then found that I wanted to deliver and develop more bespoke courses which is how I moved into training.  As well as the training courses I also design and facilitate emergency response exercises and carry out COSHH training and assessments (for many years I was also the AEA COSHH Assessor).


What types of incidents did you deal with in your previous jobs?

There are far too many to mention.  They range from small spillages in peoples homes or in warehouses to huge tankers having spilled their loads over motorway carriages.  In every instance the protocol is the same, we aim to provide people with the information to protect themselves as well as the surrounding environment and how to resolve the incident.


NCEC are pleased to announce some new dates for their ever-popular 1st Response training course.  PLEASE NOTE: the course to be run on the 8th April has limited places available.

1st Response is unique emergency response course designed to help you understand what demands can be made during a chemical incident, be prepared when the phone rings and to talk the same language as the emergency services.  This course is ideal for anyone who will get involved with a chemical incident, whether on the telephone or at the scene.


Future courses:

Date  Course
 Monday 7th April 2008
1st Response Bradford. West Yorkshire, UK
 Tuesday 8th April 2008 ** Limited Places** 1st Response
Darwen, Lancashire, UK
 Thursday 29th May 2008 1st Response
Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
Thursday 4th September 2008
1st Response
Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
Thursday 4th Decemvber 2008
1st Response
Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
Thursday 5th May 2009
1st Response
Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK



We are pleased to welcome our latest new member of staff:


Having studied and obtained my degree in Forensic Science with Criminology and Criminal Justice I have now decided that my future lies in Marketing.  I spent my sandwich year working in a laboratory designing, developing and testing systems to ship temperature controlled product (mainly pharmaceuticals) to countries around the world.  After graduating, I then worked firstly as a Marketing Assistant followed by Online Marketing Executive for the brand Bye Bye Standby®.





Jackie Proctor, Chemsafe database administrator

Jackie and her husband, Rob, ran for charity in the Reading half marathon on Sunday 2nd March.  Jackie, a regular runner, ran the race in 2 hours 28 minutes whilst Rob’s time was 2 hours 12 minutes.  They both managed to knock minutes off their best estimated times.

Jackie’s chosen charities were FSNBF (Fire Service Natural Benevolent Fund) and CLIC (Caring for Children with cancer). Jackie managed to raise £85 for these charities.


Peter Lamb, Emergency Responder

Last year Peter was one of 11 successful AEA competition winners to join the Young Business Programme.  We are delighted to announce that Peter has been asked to attend the final for the title of UK and Ireland Young Thinker of the Year 2008 at Stranraer in South-West Scotland in March.  The current holder of the title, Adele Buckley, will present the Richard Wild Award to the author of the winning paper.  Each finalist will present a 1,200 word paper on a topic of current interest or controversy of their own choice.

Good luck Peter!



As our business continues to grow we are regularly looking for talented individuals to join us.  Below you will find details of our current vacancies. 


Chemical Emergency Response Specialist

Due to the continuing expansion of NCEC's Emergency Response services, we have another new vacancy for an Emergency Response specialist.

The role of an NCEC Emergency Responder requires the ability to provide emergency response information to emergency services, chemical and transport companies, members of the public and others – both nationally and internationally, in an effective and professional manner.


Private Sector Sales Manager

This role focuses on developing new business, essentially acting as a ‘market maker’ for NCEC, opening doors, creating new opportunities and closing new business.  Do you understand market drivers as well as customer organisation and business drivers?  Can you identify and interpret customer business needs and shape these needs in to opportunities?