Work safely with chemicals, work with NCEC - Summer 2008


Well, if REACH affects you then chances are that you are about to become even busier!  This is because the next phase of the REACH regulations has just started. This means that organisations must now pre-register their substances; this has to be completed between 1 June and 30 November 2008. You may already know that NCEC can help with this process and we have been promoting our REACH services (including Only and Third Party Representative) at a number of events over the last three months.

But we don't just attend events, we organise them as well. In March we ran Hazmat 2008, a new forum to cater for the emergency response community. This event proved to be a great success and plans are already under way for Hazmat 2009! We have a dedicated webpage Hazmat and we will be adding more information about next year's event over time.

2008 is a special year for NCEC, being both the 35th birthday of NCEC and the 25th birthday of Chemdata. We will be celebrating in a number of ways and hope that you will join is in our celebrations so keep checking our website for birthday news.

On 13 June 2008 AEA (NCEC's parent company) announced its intention to acquire Project Performance Corporation (PPC); this will enable AEA, in combination with PPC, to take its climate change and energy expertise to the US market.

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 congratulate Louise Bristow who gave birth to a little boy, Xander, in March.  Mother and child are both doing well.

Happy reading.

Boris Salle
Acting Group Director

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 75 3654


1.  Stop Press - AEA to acquire PPC

2.  Legislation

3.  Hazmat Event 2008

4.  NCEC exhibits at Safety & Health expo 2008

5.  NCEC Launches ChemeDox

6.  Birthday Celebrations

7.  How good is our safety performance?

8a.  Chemsafe - NCEC once again win this contract

8b.  A a look Behind the Scenes

9.  NCEC Out and About

10. Life as an Emergency Responder

11. Forthcoming Training Courses

12. New Faces at NCEC 

13. The Personal Touch

14. Vacancies  


1. Stop Press - AEA to acquire PPC










June 13 - AEA announces Rights Issue and intention to acquire PPC

AEA has today announced that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Project Performance Corporation (PPC) and proposes to fund the acquisition partially through a Rights Issue.

To read this and other press releases visit

2.  Legislation

Proposed amendment to CHIP - consultation document available. Deadline 4 July 2008


The HSE have issued a consultation document seeking comments before 4 July 2008 on proposed amendments to the Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply Regulations 2002 (CHIP).  The amendments are necessary because Great Britain must implement the EC Directive 2006/8/EC.

The changes do not affect the main legal duties but do adjust:

  • the rules and procedures for classifying and labelling a chemical preparation containing carcinogens, mutagens or substances toxic for reproduction;
  • the generic concentration limits to be used for the evaluation of the hazards for the aquatic environment; and
  • the classification and labelling requirements for preparations containing ozone depleting substances;

As a result of some of the changes, you may need to take account of any large quantities of newly re-classified chemicals they have stored on site at any one time to ensure that they comply with the COMAH Regulations 1999 (as amended). HSE is also keen to hear views on whether, in future, they continue to update and republish paper copies of the Approved Supply List (ASL) given that the EC now has searchable and up-to-date electronic databases available on the Internet.

To view the consultation document please visit the HSE website here:

NCEC Consultancy team have specialists in this area to help you maintain regulatory compliance. If you have any questions on this of other areas of product stewardship please contact us.  

ADR Driver Training Syllabus Review

In October 2006 the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) took over responsibility for the administration of the ADR scheme of driver training in Great Britain.  Following discussions between the Department for Transport (DfT) and SQA it has been decided to hold a full review of every aspect of the scheme as part of the scheme's ongoing development.  As such they are providing the dangerous goods industry with the opportunity to participate by providing feedback at every stage of the Project.

The SQA has published its report 'Review of Dangerous Goods Driver Training Scheme' in which it sets out the timeline for launching the final revised qualification structure in January 2009.

Please review the SQA website for further details at

Transport of Lithium Batteries

The regulation regarding the classification of Lithium Batteries is changing to align with the 15th edition of the UN recommendations on the transport of dangerous goods. In 2009 legislation regarding Air (ICAO) and European road & rail transport (ADR/RID) will come into force and will dramatically change the way that the batteries are classified.  This will give new separate UN numbers for Lithium Metal batteries and Lithium Ion batteries and for these batteries packed in or with equipment.  The current exemptions from the regulations for some Lithium batteries are also to change.  This means, to remain exempt for transport, many shipments of goods containing Lithium batteries will require an emergency advice telephone number to be printed on the packaging and transport documentation.

If your organisation transports Lithium Batteries or electronic equipment that contains batteries and are unsure if you are meeting the regulation for transport of batteries (e.g. with classification) or if you require further information on this or other transport of dangerous goods issues please contact NCEC on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654 and ask to speak to one of our consultants.

We will be producing a guide to the new changes, drawing on our 35 years experience of providing advice during transport of dangerous goods emergencies.  To discuss how NCEC can assist you in proving a 24hr Lithium Batteries emergency line please Contact Us.


Storage of Chemicals

Many businesses store chemicals and there is nothing new in that.  What is new is that the HSE has now highlighted that many of the highest cost chemical incidents (based on a review based on the past 30 years) have been related to the incorrect storage of these chemicals.  As a provider of chemical advice to the emergency services NCEC learns of numerous incidents where the incorrect storage of chemicals has led to dangerous events.  These events involve domestic packaging through to industrial tanks.  NCEC has the technical expertise to help you both prevent these types of incident and to respond in a way that minimises the risks.

At NCEC we know that good preparation can prevent accidents escalating into serious incidents, and thereby reduce the expense incidents cause.  We can help you to lower your risks by, for example, advising on correct chemical storage and best practices to follow that will reduce the costs associated with pollution. We can help you safeguard the environment by involving expertise from our parent company, AEA.

To discuss how NCEC can help you with CoSSH assessment and training, safe storage of chemicals and pollution incident prevention planning contact our training team on +44 (0)870 190 6621.


3.  Hazmat Event 2008

NCEC held the Chemical Response and Environmental Protection Conference back in March.  The event was well attended by 65 delegates from a number of organisations including Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), Police forces, various Government agencies and transport and chemical companies.

The conference started with a morning session about Environmental Protection in which Bruce MacGlashen of the Environment Agency (EA) talked about the pioneering partnership between the EA and FRS.  He described how the quick deployment of inexpensive pollution equipment means the EA have reduced the number of incidents that they attend, saving millions in clean-up costs annually.  Kevin Gibson of Lancashire FRS presented his work on Integrated Risk Management Plans (IRMP), giving some useful local examples.  Kevin has also been developing some national guidance on IRMP).  Following on, David Hanlon of Oxfordshire FRS discussed the use of Controlled Burn as a strategy for limiting environmental damage.  Perhaps controversially, the Buncefield explosion was nominated as a possible example of when it should have been used.

The rest of the day was given over to presentations from the Highways Agency, Met Office, Health Protection Agency, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), NCEC (on Marine response) and an open floor discussion on what the new proposals on driver Instructions in Writing (Tremcards) will mean for all concerned.  After some questions from the floor and a heated debate, a broad consensus emerged that while the moves are seen as a backwards step, their introduction is nevertheless inevitable so everyone will have to try and work with the new system.

The second day contained a very wide range of presentations dealing with topics ranging from swimming pool chemical accidents, chemical clean-up arrangements, chemical pipelines, the work of the Marine Incident Response Group and to the new proposals for the labelling of hazardous chemicals.  Highlights of the last session included a presentation from Barry Jones of Greater Manchester FRS on reducing the impact of acetylene cylinder incidents.  Ken Pink from Qinetiq presented on a pilot project to use remotely operated vehicles for dealing with HazMat incidents "one of the robots" even made a personal appearance at the event!

The chair of the event, NCEC's Head of Emergency Response Bill Atkinson, commented “As well as the wide range of topics that the speakers were able to cover, what people found useful was just having the opportunity of sharing experiences “ sometimes in a very frank way". 

In that respect, I would pay tribute to what the delegates managed to contribute to the event as well as the speakers. It certainly led to some lively debates!

He continued, "Everyone I spoke to told me how much they valued the opportunity of networking with each other, even if they didn't always agree on everything".  Others agreed with these points. One FRS delegate commented, "This is a much needed forum which will now grow and improve partnership working".  Another reported that, “The level of knowledge from the chosen speakers was first class [and] brought to light some very topical issues.

Plans are already under way for next year's event, which will be held in Manchester on the 3rd and 4th March 2009. 

4.  NCEC exhibits at Safety & Health expo 2008

NCEC recently exhibited at the Safety & Health Expo at the NEC, Birmingham

There we officially launched our new ChemeDoxTM service and gave a series of demonstrations.  ChemeDoxTM created a good deal of interest and was well received by a variety of companies.

We also demonstrated our popular Pocket Chemdata software.

As this event was the start of our birthday celebrations we also had some celebratory sunflower seeds to distribute and we held a daily prize draw to win a bottle of Champagne.

Congratulations go to the winners of the Champagne who are David Ferguson, BAA, David Phelan of FMC Lithium and Tristan Dawson of A B Consultants International Ltd.  


5. NCEC Launches ChemeDox TM

ChemeDox logoNCEC launched its latest system to help organisations find their chemical documents at the recent Safety & Health Expo, NEC, Birmingham.  For UK based organisations needing to comply with the requirements of COSHH, this system can dramatically change the way that all chemical documents are managed.

The new service, called ChemeDoxTM, allows Safety Data Sheets, COSHH risk assessments and other related information to be saved in one online system and cross linked. The benefit is that staff can now access the information they need quickly and efficiently, wherever they are based.

Commenting on the launch, Sunil Choudrie, Marketing & Software Director, NCEC, said: "ChemeDox is the latest way that we can help companies manage chemical documents. This service will be of interest to all companies that use chemicals, not just the chemical sector.  Our analysis of HSE data shows that 5.3 times as many significant chemical incidents occur outside the chemical sector compared with those within the chemical sector.

Our systems are based on our 35 years' experience of managing chemical information and we have provided an online Safety Data Sheet management system to industry since 2001.  Companies are now asking for help in storing and retrieving their COSHH assessments and we are very pleased with the enthusiastic reaction we have received since launching the ChemeDox service in March".  

If you are interested in finding out more about ChemeDoxTM then please contact us.


6.  Birthday Celebrations

35 years at the forefront of chemical emergency response

35 years logoThis year is NCEC's 35th Birthday and we thought you would be interested to read about our heritage.

1973 saw the creation of the National Chemical Emergency Centre, a joint initiative by the Department of the Environment and the Home Office. Prior to this time no formal arrangements existed in the UK for dealing with chemical transport accidents on a national basis.

motorway crashUnfortunately it took a tragic accident to prompt the creation of NCEC. The accident took place on the M6 (a major UK motorway) in 1972 when a car driver was killed, overcome by fumes from a pool of sulphuric acid following a tanker crash in foggy conditions.  This prompted the government to rush through legislation.

In collaboration with the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), the Centre was instrumental in the formation of Chemsafe (UK Chemical Industries Scheme for Assistance in Freight Emergencies) in 1974. Despite emergency arrangements being established within the industry it was anticipated that there would be some transport accidents involving chemicals where the manufacturer could not be readily identified e.g. imported chemicals or inadequately-labelled trade name products.  Government considered it essential to have a national advice centre for use by the emergency services in such situations and this was the birth of National Chemical Emergency Centre.

Over the 35 years NCEC has developed as part of AEA.  What hasn't changed is our commitment to provide accurate advice in plain language to help those responding to incidents.


Chemdata celebrates 25 years

25 years logoAs well as NCEC's birthday it is also Chemdata's 25th birthday this year.

Chemdata provides specialist emergency response advice and in its original form contained 20,000 data records, 65,500 product names and had 17 searchable fields. It was available in various formats ranging from tape cassettes to floppy discs.  Chemdata's main customers were the Emergency Services to help them with deal with chemical incidents.

Today Chemdata has grown and has information on over 100,000 synonyms linked to about 32,000 data records, is available on CD and has a daughter product, Pocket Chemdata, for use on Pocket PCs. Chemdata is now sold to Fire brigades (national and industrial), Police, Ports, Harbours, Airports, Environmental protection agencies, Manufacturing industry, Haulage companies and Waste management companies.

For a FREE 14 day trial of Pocket Chemdata contact us on +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.  

Keep an eye on for more information on our special birthday events.


7.  How good is our safety performance?

RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) has once more awarded our parent company, AEA, the Gold Medal in recognition of six years of continuous good performance in Occupational Safety.  Click here to view the certificate

During the last year AEA have also registered with the HSE Corporate Health and Safety Performance Index (CHaSPI).  We were 19th out of the 87 organisations that had signed off the CHaSPI index putting us within the top 25% of companies.  


8a. Chemsafe - NCEC once again win this contract

AEA's National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), has once again won the important contract to provide expert telephone advice to the emergency services as part of the UK's Chemsafe Scheme.

Chemsafe is a national scheme co-ordinated by the Chemical Industries Association that provides 24 hour emergency response to the emergency services during any incident involving the movement of chemicals.  NCEC, operated by AEA, has a crucial role in providing this advice, providing a direct line into a team of expert chemists 24 hours per day.

Chemical experts from AEA's NCEC have been providing advice and assistance for incidents from minor spillages in homes and workplaces to major disasters, such as the Buncefield explosion, since 1973. 

AEA's experts were also on hand to provide advice on the removal of hazardous goods cargo when the container ship, MSC Napoli, was grounded off the coast of Devon last year.

Bill Atkinson - NCEC commented:

"The Chemsafe scheme was developed to minimise adverse affects to the public, property and the environment and our NCEC has helped play a crucial part in its success.  While thankfully incidents are rare, our experts will always be there just in case and ready to help". 


8b. A look Behind the Scenes

To help you understand the service that we provide as part of Chemsafe we have highlighted some of the calls we receive to show the diversity of incidents that we respond to.

YouTube leads to park explosion

Late one evening we received a call from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.  A group of teenagers had been mixing chemicals in plastic drinks bottles and there appeared to have been some kind of explosion.  The Fire Service wanted advice on which chemicals may have been mixed.

We advised the Fire Service that a recent YouTube craze appeared to be taking over. Video clips have been posted on YouTube that explained quite clearly explain how to make drain cleaner bombs in plastic bottles. Drain cleaner (containing sodium hydroxide) is added to baking foil in drinks bottles. The subsequent reaction produces hydrogen gas, which eventually bursts the plastic drinks bottle thus creating an explosion.

Tanker springs a leak

Close to midnight a young couple walking home came across a tanker parked at the side of the road in a busy housing estate.

There was liquid dripping from the nozzle and running down the gutter in the road. The couple were concerned for the safety of nearby residents as the tanker clearly contained a flammable material.

NCEC were able to establish that the liquid was flammable from the UN number and Emergency Action Code, and so suggested contacting the Fire Service, NCEC also contacted the local Fire Service just in case the couple didn't.  When Fire Crews attended the scene NCEC were given the company name and we were then able to contact the company and inform them of the spillage.

Unknown green liquid found at Postal Sorting Office

The Fire Service rang NCEC for some assistance in identifying an unknown chemical.  Three workers in a postal sorting office had handled an A4 jiffy bag, which had a clear liquid on it. The workers had then described how the liquid had turned green and they all had experienced a "tingling sensation" on their fingers.

NCEC were able to provide first aid advice and make suggestions on how the mysterious substance should be handled.

Missing container of n-Butyl-Lithium Concentrate in Cyclohexane

Fire Service rang NCEC for advice following the loss of 7kg n-butyl lithium 20% in cyclohexane liquid, 800mls, the caller wanted to establish what the container would look like.

NCEC were able to provide advice on the hazards of the product. In addition they were able to contact the manufacturer and obtain pictures of the containers.


9.  NCEC Out and About

As well as attending the Safety & Health Expo NCEC also attended the American Chemistry Council meeting in Miami in April that focussed on aspects of Responsible Care.

The meeting proved to be very popular with more than 350 people, mainly from the USA, attending the 3 day event.  There was a lot of discussion surrounding the myth and reality surrounding REACH, it's requirements and likely impact.

There were many varying opinions about REACH and comments ranged from "...the EU have shot themselves in the foot..." to "...if the EU hadn't done it, the US would have done the same eventually...".

NCEC will be acting as an "Only Representative" for a range of companies when pre-registration begins on 1 June. We would like to say thank you to all who visited our stand to learn more about what we do around the world.

NCEC have just returned from exhibiting at ChemCon 2008 in Rome. 250 delegates came to this high-profile event which centred on forthcoming changes in REACH. Our Pocket Guide to REACH, containing abbreviations and definitions, was very popular and is available for free on demand.

Again, we held a prize draw and congratulations go to Mr Arun Prakash from Reckitt Benckiser in Australia. He won a single malt bottle of whisky from the isle of Islay!

Don't forget we will also be attending at the following events and for the Fire & Rescue and Emergency Services Show we will have some lovely freebie gifts to distribute and the chance to enter a fantastic prize draw:




Fire & Rescue 2008 - Liverpool


27th - 29th August

NCEC will be demonstrating their ever-popular Chemdata and Pocket Chemdata software.

Help us celebrate 25 years of Chemdata, come and visit us at Stand FR105


30th Annual Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition  -  Savannah, USA

5th - 7th November

NCEC will be there to discuss issues like chemical control legislation around the world ie REACH, Emergency Response

We hope you will visit us there. Come and see us at Stand 109


Emergency Services Show - Coventry


19th - 20th November

NCEC will be doing a double and appearing here twice, sharing a stand with level 3 company DV Howells in Hall 2 and in the Emergency Response section in Hall 1.

We hope to see you there.
Hall 1, Stand E46
Hall 2, Stand 57

10. Life as an Emergency Responder

Benn Heatley is a key member of the Emergency Response team.  Benn joined NCEC after completing his Chemistry Degree at the University of Wales.  Here he describes the work he does.

In my role

I've been working within the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), part of AEA, since September 2007.  My primary role is as part of the 24-hour emergency response team, providing immediate chemical safety advice in emergency situations.

We receive emergency calls from Fire Officers, Police Officers, people from the chemical industry, members of the public and others.  This means we deal with an array of different situations, ranging from first aid advice to helping deal with major chemical incidents.  With over 3000 calls a year coming in from all over the world, this role requires a diverse range of skills and knowledge to be able to provide the advice necessary to mitigate the consequences of chemical incidents.

In addition to emergency response, I also work on consultancy projects and other NCEC products.  This means I have developed a range of skills in addition to those required for emergency response.

Highlights of the role

Are that you never know what you're going to get next. It could be someone concerned for the health of their pet or a Fire Officer dealing with a major spill of hazardous chemicals. Whatever the situation, we provide quick, accurate advice and always endeavour to keep people safe. Many incidents we are involved in are reported in the news and it is satisfying to think that you have helped in the response to that incident.

The best thing about working at NCEC

Many in the chemical industry regard NCEC as the best provider of emergency response in the industry. It is exciting to be a member of this team and there is always something new to learn.

Since joining NCEC I have learn't

A a lot about legislation and emergency response. I've developed strong communication skills and have learnt how to take control of a situation, directing it where it needs to go. I've also learnt a lot about the workings of government agencies and the emergency services, which influences a large portion of how we provide advice.


11. Forthcoming Training Courses

Below is a reminder of the dates for the ever-popular 1st Response training course.

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.

Full details of all NCEC's courses can be found at Training or for information on tailored courses contact us.

Future courses: 







Thursday 4th September 2008

1st Response

Harwell, Oxfordshire

Thursday 4th December 2008

1st Response

Harwell, Oxfordshire

Thursday 5th March 2009

1st Response

Harwell, Oxfordshire


12. New Faces at NCEC

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

Rabea Nawaz

Originally from Glasgow, I moved down to London after graduating in Biomedical Science.

I worked in London for just over 4 years where I gained experience in the retail/private banking sector and more importantly where I got my first taste of working within Sales in a highly competitive market.

Deciding to move away from London, I came to 'Sunny' Oxfordshire where once again I landed an account management role, which again required large volumes of sales experience.

Having successfully completed the Financial Cemap qualification last year, I am now gaining valuable experience in the NCEC - as someone once said ' Variety is the Spice of Life!!'

Hugh Roberts

I joined AEA Technology in June 2008.  I have over 20 years of international business development experience in the chemicals, gases and materials technology services sectors.  I have led new business initiatives in Europe, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and have extensive experience in industrial gases and semiconductor process materials.

I have been a member of various industry / government sponsored technical committees and chaired a safety code of practice working group.  I have a strong safety focus having presented safety related papers at conferences and run safety-training courses for colleagues and customers.  I have also been involved in a couple of new start-up subsidiaries for Union Carbide and Koch Industries.


13. The Personal Touch

Evangeline Wood, Carechem 24 administrator Evangeline abseiling

On Sunday 27th April, Evangeline (on the left of the photo) took part in a 100ft abseil down the John Radcliffe Hospital Woman's Centre building.  The event was in aid of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Funds Cancer Campaign.  The Campaign is raising funds to provide extra equipment and facilities beyond the limited resources of the NHS.

Evangeline raised £100 in sponsorship money and the total raised by everyone who took part was £44,000.


14. Vacancies

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

ER roomDue 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.


Product Manager

We are looking for an experienced Product Manager to provide business planning and monitoring for our products with proven ability to manage the design and development for future release of our new products to ensure the product meets the needs of our customer base.

The successful individual will be responsible for managing product portfolios through the product life cycle and for developing the product strategy, which will involve working with our Business Managers.  Product Managers will provide input into the planning and budgeting process and are responsible for the financial delivery of their products.

For more details on any of these vacancies, please visit: Your Link