NCEC Newsletter – March 2022

NCEC Newsletter – March 2022

Welcome to NCEC's first newsletter of 2022.

Before we go any further, it’s important that we talk about the current regulation changes, including the adoption of EU CLP Annex VIII in Great Britain. More discussions are ongoing and I’d recommend checking our website from time to time to stay up-to-date with any developments.

It isn’t long until our event ‘Hazmat 2022’ returns to our Stratford-upon-Avon venue and I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new delegates. 

I am also very proud to announce that Ricardo has yet again been recognised by the Financial Times as a leading UK management consultancy, a fantastic achievement and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the whole team.

Ricardo and NCEC uniquely combine deep sustainability expertise with an in-depth knowledge of the chemicals sector.

In this newsletter, we want to highlight the crucial work Ricardo's sustainability team do to support organisations on their sustainability journey including developing net-zero strategies, tackling the challenge of decarbonising industrial Combined Heat and Power (CHP) sites and conducting life cycle assessments.

I hope you find this newsletter informative. Contact me if you have any comments or suggestions for future content, and if you think any part of this newsletter will be relevant to colleagues, do forward it to them. They can sign up to receive future editions here.

Kind regards
Jon Gibbard
Director, NCEC

EU CLP Annex VIII to be adopted in Great Britain

EU Annex VIII to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of Substances and Mixtures Regulation (EC No 1272/2008)) has been retained in GB CLP. The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS), the UK’s appointed receiving body for poison centre notifications, has advised NCEC that organisations can submit notifications to them in either the Annex VIII harmonised format or the UK voluntary notification format.

From our understanding, the UK Department for Health and Social Care is still seeking legal clarity on the retained legislation.*

 Read the full update here

NCEC offers a full service for companies needing to submit notifications for their hazardous mixtures and biocides. We can support organisations to comply with these new requirements as well as EU poison centre obligations. 

 Find out how NCEC can support you to comply with poison centres

* Information is correct as of 16 March 2022, 09:00 GMT. We will remain in contact with the NPIS for any further updates

How updates to REACH Annex II impact your safety data sheets (SDS)

Annex II of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 came into effect as of 1 January 2021, outlining the mandatory format for an SDS and general indicators of the information contained. A grace period until 31 December 2022 has been given to update any EU SDS compiled according to the old Annex II requirements.

During our recent SDS webinar, poll results showed that more than 70% of attendees had not yet updated their SDSs to the REACH Annex II requirements. NCEC strongly recommends that chemical suppliers begin the process of updating their SDSs as soon as possible so that they remain compliant with UK REACH and EU REACH and avoid any disruption to operations in the future. 

Choosing NCEC to undertake a fully outsourced or support service means you’ll benefit from our experience and save time and cost ensuring your compliance with regulatory legislations.

Read more on what this means for your business

Find out more about our SDS services

Four new substances added to ECHA's Candidate List

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) added four new substances of very high concern (SVHC) to the REACH Regulation Candidate List on 17 January 2022.

Companies manufacturing or importing products in the EU now have a legal obligation to ensure that none of their mixtures, articles or substances contain items included on the list. Any organisation not previously obligated to submit Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects (Products) (SCIP) notifications potentially faces a significant undertaking to ensure regulatory compliance.

Find out what to  do to remain compliant

Image copyright: European Chemicals Agency

upporting UN Sustainable Development Goals with Level 1 telephone emergency response best practice


Last year, NCEC hosted a virtual event, ‘Supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals with Level 1 telephone emergency response best practice’, to discuss the role telephone emergency response plays in supporting organisations to show their commitment to implementing sustainability frameworks.

Following on from the event, our experts wrote a blog on the same topic with key insights from some of the speakers at the event, exploring which UN SDGs are supported by telephone emergency response.

Find out which SDGs telephone emergency response can support

Watch the SDG virtual event

5 steps to ensure your telephone emergency response service meets best practice guidelines


NCEC collaborated with the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) in 2018 to produce guidelines for Level 1 emergency response providers to shape best practices. It is recommended that organisations use these guidelines when reviewing their own emergency response provision.

Level 1 chemical emergency response – or telephone emergency response – plays a crucial role in developing a competitive, compliant and commercially responsible chemical safety strategy.

Our recent blog outlines the five key steps to help you review, implement and maintain best practices in Level 1 emergency response, whether handled in-house or outsourced to a third-party supplier.

Find about the five key steps

Hazmat Academy announces its 2022 emergency response course schedule


Since its launch, NCEC’s training platform Hazmat Academy has provided training to more than 800 learners with bespoke and off-the-shelf courses, delivered either in person, via distance learning or a combination of both.

The academy’s clients range from one of the top private sector spill response organisations in the UK to public sector government bodies. Courses available for 2022 have been released, while distance learning courses are available to book all year round. The team are working to increase the range of courses available to continue helping responders be safe, effective, competent and confident during their response to a hazmat incident.

View the entire range of courses available in 2022

The world's first Net-Zero Standard
— what does it mean for your organisation?

After much anticipation, the world’s first net-zero standard for the corporate sector was released last October by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Science-based targets directly align with climate science and outline the rate of decarbonisation needed to keep global warming under a particular temperature threshold. 

The SBTi Net-Zero Standard presents criteria and guidance on how the private sector can approach setting a 2050 net-zero target. 

Ricardo net-zero expert, Fern Spencer, explains the main takeaways from this standard here and what it means for your organisation

How to develop an actionable net-zero roadmap

Climate change will disrupt your business systems and affect your bottom line, but forward-looking organisations are already planning and implementing net-zero strategies to turn threat into opportunity, reducing risks to their business operations and increasing their resilience and adaptability.

Two thirds of the organisations Ricardo has surveyed have a net-zero commitment, but less than a third have a detailed plan of how they will reach that target. So, how do organisations make good on their commitments and actually achieve net zero?

In a recent blog, Ricardo’s sustainability experts shared some of the key issues and considerations to help you develop a roadmap that is robust, actionable and achievable. 

Read the key insights here

We can support your organisation to plan and implement sustainable strategies that reduce your environmental impact, reduce risks to your business operations and increase your resilience and adaptabilityFor a deeper dive into the topic, including case studies, watch our five-part webinar series.

Why not forward this newsletter to colleagues responsible for your sustainability strategy. If they, or any other colleagues, would like to receive our newsletter with further sustainability updates, they can sign up to our mailing list here.

Decarbonising combined heat and power (CHP)

In a recent webinar, heat and energy decarbonisation experts from Ricardo, The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) and renewable energy company Drax looked at the role of bioenergy with carbon capture & storage (BECCS) in achieving net-zero targets in the UK. Topics discussed included Government policy and strategy, the challenges facing the decarbonisation of industrial CHP sites, and the role of BECCS in decarbonising industrial CHP sites.

This webinar provides key insight into how you can move towards a more decarbonised plant.

Watch the webinar here

Why life cycle assessment is crucial for sustainable product and technology development

How can you demonstrate if your products and technologies are truly green? Where should you focus your efforts to improve their sustainability credentials?

We asked Ricardo life cycle assessment (LCA) technical lead, Dr Fabio Grimaldi, about the importance of LCAs and what insights they can bring when assessing and comparing the sustainability of products and technologies.

 Find out why LCAs could be important for your organisation

Scope 3 emissions video miniseries

Join Ricardo experts Oli Lockhart and Fern Spencer as they introduce you to the complex area of Scope 3 emissions in our series of four bite-size videos. Discover the answer to key questions such as: What are Scope 3 emissions? Why does my organisation need to be concerned about them? Where do I begin when it comes to Scope 3? What should I measure and how? Which key areas should I address to reduce Scope 3 emissions? How do I implement solutions?

Watch the miniseries

Ricardo recognised as leading UK management consultancy by the Financial Times

In its fifth annual rating of the UK’s leading management consultants, the Financial Times has again recognised Ricardo.

Our expertise in sustainability has seen the company included in the Financial Times’ awards every year since they began. Our experts have been helping a wide range of multi-national companies to develop robust and science-based pathways to transition to net-zero carbon emissions.

Read the press release 

Hazmat 2022 
 – less than three months to go


Paid event
18 & 19 May, Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon

NCEC's annual hazmat conference, ‘Hazmat 2022’, returns to our Stratford-upon-Avon venue in May when we will be welcoming delegates in person for the first time in two years. Now in its 13th year, the event draws upon the knowledge and experience of a broad range of hazmat professionals and industry leaders, as well as NCEC’s own emergency responders and experts.

Delegates will benefit from world-class presentations with international cross-sector speakers as well as practical, hands-on workshops in a friendly and welcoming environment. 

Buy your conference pass here 

Find out more about the event

Back for Hazmat 2022: Half-day workshop on developing non-technical skills for emergency response


Paid event
17 May 2022, 1:30pm-4pm at Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon

After reviewing training requirements of more than 800 learners, experts from the Hazmat Academy have found that there is still a lack of focus on developing and practising non-technical skills. Having these abilities can fundamentally improve the management and outcome of an incident. To find out more about what non-technical skills are and why it is important to continually train and develop them, watch the short video above.

During this half-day workshop, Hazmat Academy Manager Ed Sullivan will be working with you to develop your non-technical skillset, including:

  • Situational awareness.
  • Communication.
  • Decision making.
  • Leadership.
  • Stress and pressure.
  • Teamwork.

If training leads want to reduce the risk of human error and improve the safety of responders, they should integrate non-technical skills into training programmes.

Get the full details

Book your place at the workshop here

Join us at Interschutz 2022

Paid event
20 - 25 June at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds

We will be showcasing our training platform, Hazmat Academy, at Interschutz 2022 (Hall 12 Stand B62) from 20-25 June in the Hannover Exhibition Grounds.

Our team of chemically trained ERs and experts in hazmat, fire science and incident command will be on hand to talk about supporting your organisation with all your hazmat and emergency response needs. If you're planning on attending Interschutz 2022, come and join us at our showcase.

Find out more about our participation at the event

Buy your Interschutz 2022 ticket here 

Terrorism alert 


Multiple emergency services responded to an incident suspected to be linked to terrorism where an envelope had been delivered containing extremist paraphernalia and an unknown, almond-scented liquid.

A major incident was declared by the police and experts  were called to the scene. Our emergency responders (ERs) were contacted to assist with identifying the substance. Given the context and the distinctive smell, several cyanide-based candidate chemicals were considered. We advised all personnel close to the envelope to wear protective clothing and breathing apparatus. The envelope was put in an overdrum to remove the risks to responders at the scene, while preserving any evidence the police may require.

Our ERs provided information for the decontamination of surfaces that had been in contact with the hazardous product to ensure public safety after the incident was resolved. Diluted bleach was recommended, with care being taken to ensure that no harmful chemicals were given off as a gas.

The consequences of this incident could have been far-reaching. This is the kind of worst-case scenario for which NCEC can provide specialist support. Our expert advice allowed this charged situation to be resolved safely and efficiently.

Chemical warfare agent fears 



NCEC was called by police working with 11EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) regarding a property that was under investigation. It was believed to be linked to radicalisation activity and contained suspicious items.

EOD personnel had investigated but had not found any bomb-making apparatus. However, they had detected quantities of the hazardous chemical methylphosphonic and wanted to know whether this could be used as a chemical warfare agent.

Our ER ascertained that the chemical is a precursor to the infamous nerve agent sarin, and advised extreme caution for all personnel at the scene. Full-face respirators had been in use, but we advised that gas-tight suits with breathing apparatus would be the best way to provide full protection against any traces of the precursor and sarin.

The ER discussed the analysis methods used at the scene and provided information on the decontamination of methylphosphonic difluoride, emphasising that the decontamination could be hazardous because of the emission of hydrogen fluoride when water is added to the precursor. An improvised decontamination system was planned that was considered proportionate to the amount of the hazardous chemical detected.

As with the previous case, our ERs had to demonstrate a high level of care and attention given the hazards at the scene. Our close cooperation with callers allows even the most serious chemicals to be dealt with safely and proportionately.

Alarming results


Fire crews were attending a home where a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm had been sounding and giving significant readings of hazardous gas levels.
The fire service had conducted their readings on portable gas monitors and confirmed a high level of CO was present. It was suspected that a newly laid concrete screed floor was responsible for the emissions, which peaked at 240 Parts Per Million (ppm).

NCEC’s ER confirmed that we had previously encountered this phenomenon and conducted further research, finding evidence that improperly mixed concrete could result in gas emissions that would trigger a CO alarm. They also highlighted other possibilities that could trigger false positive readings on CO monitors. The ER confirmed that the levels present posed significant toxicity and flammability risks, but explained that emission of the gas would stop as the cement cured. Following our advice, crews in breathing apparatus isolated and ventilated the area of flooring.

This call showcases NCEC responders’ ability to rapidly discover obscure chemistries and use them to guide incidents to a safe conclusion.

Get in touch

Contact us if you would like further information on any of the topics covered, or have any questions.