NCEC Newsletter – May 2021

NCEC Newsletter – May 2021

Welcome to NCEC's May 2021 newsletter.

I am very excited to announce the launch of our new online training platform - Hazmat Academy. The team has already begun delivering bespoke and open training courses and we have had fantastic feedback so far. In this issue, we will highlight what the academy offers. 

The deadline to grandfather EU REACH registrations into UK REACH has now passed. We are finding that there is still a lot of uncertainty as to what organisations think they need to do to comply with UK REACH, so this issue contains lots of information and steps that organisations need to take in order to maintain access to the GB market. 

The issue also highlights the excellent work our environmental hazard and risk assessment team have been busy doing over the past few months and the lessons organisations can derive from it.

I hope you find this newsletter informative. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions for future content.

Kind regards

Jon Gibbard
Director – NCEC


NCEC launches Hazmat Academy which provides vital hazmat training solutions


We have launched our hazardous materials (hazmat) training solution – Hazmat Academy – providing off-the-shelf and bespoke training, delivered either in person, via distance learning or a combination of both.

The aim of the Hazmat Academy is to enable anyone who may have to respond to an incident involving hazardous materials to do so safely and effectively. That aim was realised when the hazmat training we provided to Adler and Allan's employees helped them lead the environmental response at a site in Llangennech, Wales.

The academy will help responders to meet their training goals with flexible learning opportunities that allow candidates to select the most suitable modules. Being able to offer bespoke courses also means that organisations can select modules that are relevant to their response teams.

Browse the range of courses available on Hazmat Academy

Find out how we helped bolster Adler and Allan's chemical response capabilities

Find out why we created the Hazmat Academy

Our next open course – Hazardous Materials Instructor – begins on 21 June 2021. If you're looking to develop knowledge, understanding, skills and instructional ability in line with the UK firefighter development unit FF5, then this will be the perfect opportunity to do so. 

The academy's distance learning courses are available to book all year around. You can find out more about our hazmat and chemical training courses through our training prospectus.

Book the Hazardous Materials Instructor course

Download Hazmat Academy training prospectus

China announces recommended standards for transportation of dangersous goods

The first of its kind in China, the Emergency Response Guideline for Transportation of Dangerous Goods has been created by number of industry associations and organisations including the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) and NCEC’s partner in China, REACH24H.

Read more on what these guidelines will specify

Why should a trained chemical expert answer your emergency incident call?

During our recent virtual business summit, ‘Why do you need a specialist telephone emergency response helpline?’, only 23% of respondents said their organisations perceived emergency incident response as a critical business risk.

Since 1973, NCEC has been supporting many global chemical companies by providing specialist 24/7/365 emergency response advice over the phone. We know that not having an efficient emergency response provision in place can adversely impact your people, the environment, your assets, your reputation and your legal responsibilities (PEARL). It is so much more important than simply treating it as a tick-box exercise to comply with legislation.

We urge all businesses that manufacture, transport and use chemicals to start thinking about emergency incident response as a business-critical risk and to ensure they have sufficient emergency response plans in place.

Find out how our trained chemical experts can help minimise the risk to your organisation


UK REACH – find out what your organisation needs to be doing now 


Organisations that have previously had to comply with EU REACH regulations need to recognise that steps must be taken to ensure they can maintain access to markets in Great Britain (GB) – England, Wales and Scotland. If this isn’t done, they will no longer be able to trade in the same way. 

  • For non-GB manufacturers/formulators, the appointment of an Only Representative (OR) under UK REACH, such as NCEC, is often the most cost effective and least disruptive option to use in order to address the requirements of UK REACH and continue supplying products to the GB market. Find out more about the implications of UK REACH and the benefits of appointing an OR in the video below, starring our Director of REACH, Chris Hughes.

  • For GB based organisations,  
    • The deadline to  ‘grandfather’ EU REACH registrations was 30 April 2021. If you missed this deadline, you should immediately contact the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) at [email protected] who will be able to advise you further on late grandfathered registrations. Please do this immediately to maintain your access to the GB market.
    • Organisations that are importing substances that are registered under EU REACH (either from the EU or under an EU REACH OR) might benefit from transitional measures in the form of deferred registration obligations. If so, then they must submit a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) to the HSE by 27 October 2021 to continue this activity. 
    • Organisations planning to manufacture or import substances for the first time, at over 1 tonne per annum, must register under UK REACH immediately. This process starts with submitting an enquiry to the HSE.

Find out more on how NCEC can support you in complying with UK REACH

We recently hosted a webinar which discussed what organisations must do to comply with UK REACH and continue to have access to the GB market. Polling during the webinar showed that almost 60% of organisations still need to clarify their obligations in respect to UK REACH, especially around DUINs.  Therefore, our REACH experts will be hosting a free webinar on 'UK REACH & DUINs – what, when and how?' on 16 June, 14:00 (BST).  The webinar will look at the DUIN process in detail and will be followed by a question and answer session. 

Watch the UK REACH webinar on-demand

Register for the free UK REACH & DUINs webinar

NCEC has been involved in supporting compliance with EU REACH since it started, and we are already supporting organisations across the world to manage the impact of UK REACH on their business.  As part of Ricardo, a multinational company, we have legal entities already in place across Europe (and the world) and are ready to act as a UK REACH OR from our GB entity and EU REACH OR from our Netherlands entity. If you need help with any aspect of UK or EU REACH, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Contact us for support with UK REACH

Poison centre update


​NCEC can support organisations to comply with European poison centre requirements

The European poison centre requirements (under Annex VIII of CLP) put the obligation of notification of hazardous mixtures (for health and physical effects) onto the organisation placing products on the market within any given EU Member State. For non-EU organisations, who do not have an EU-based legal entity, including those based in England, Wales and Scotland, the obligation to notify is the responsibility of the importer (your customer, distributor or the end user of your product).  

We can support companies, irrespective of where they are based, to comply with poison centre obligations and enable them to have notifications that are detailed, timely and are written with their end use in mind – to support an emergency response.

Find out how NCEC can help support you and your supply chain

Poison centre notifications are more than just a regulatory obligation – an example of how a detailed notification helps in the real world

NCEC recently received feedback from one of its poison centre notification clients – a global cosmetics and fragrance organisation whereby the detailed poison centre notification that we completed for one of its products not only helped protect the health of a consumer, but also the company’s reputation.  

Read why poison centre notifications are more than just a regulatory obligation

NCEC offers a full service for companies needing to submit poison centre notifications for their hazardous mixtures and biocides. If you need any assistance for your poison centre notifications, then please contact us through the right hand side form or email us at [email protected]

Portuguese safety data sheets (SDSs) require a mandatory update – does your company need to act today?


It is mandatory for all companies working with hazardous mixtures in Portugal to include an updated telephone number for the National Institute of Medical Emergencies (INEM) Poison Information Center (CIAV) on their SDSs and labels. This is a national requirement driven by the authorities in Portugal.

The new telephone number is 800 250 250, and is free for the caller to use. For those who use NCEC’s emergency response service, this number change does not impact how you would use our existing number suite within Portugal. NCEC’s emergency response service provides global, best in class, telephone emergency advice to those involved in an incident with your product.

Find out which numbers are required on SDSs

Our experienced regulatory team can provide fully outsourced SDS authoring and translation services to enable you to minimise operational risk and support compliance with regulations by ensuring your SDSs are accurate and cover all safety information on your products. This includes ensuring compliance with REACH Annex II. REACH Annex II Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/878 came into force on 1 January 2021. All EU SDS authored from this date will have to comply with the amendment.

Read more on the recent amendments to REACH Annex II

Find out how NCEC can help support you in updating your SDS

The Dangerous Goods Emergency Action Code List 2021 is now available


The Dangerous Goods Emergency Action Codes List 2021 is now available. The new list has again been produced by the NCEC, in co-operation with the UK Home Office and is published by TSO.

The EAC List 2021 is effective immediately in connection with the use of ADR/RID 2021 Edition and is mandatory from 1 July 2021 and the Emergency Action Code List 2019 should no longer be used from that date.

A physical copy of the publication is available to purchase from
TSO: please click here  
Labeline: please click here

Download the EAC list 2021 now

Read here for a brief review on the changes made to the latest version

Ongoing work in the field of environmental risk assessment of chemicals


NCEC led peer-reviewed paper highlights the ecotoxicological effects of chemical mixtures

We are pleased to announce that Megan Griffiths, one of our environmental chemistry experts is the lead author of a peer-reviewed paper on the ecotoxicity of chemicals and the risk they pose to aquatic invertebrates. You can read our published paper here.

As part of the Green Deal, the European Commission launched a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment. This includes a proposal to amend Article 57 of REACH to include the following in the substances of very high concern (SVHC) list in 2022:

  • Endocrine disruptors.
  • Persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) substances.
  • Very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) substances. 

While the specific PMT/vPvM criteria are yet to be released, these regulatory developments will cause new challenges for industry and put increasing pressure on the need for high-quality, reliable environmental fate and ecotoxicology data – and NCEC can support in this process. 

Find out what this means for your organisation

NCEC attends workshop on the latest developments in the regulatory persistence assessment of chemicals

Chris Hughes, Principal Regulatory Consultant at NCEC, attended a workshop hosted by the German Environment Agency (UBA) titled ‘Proposal to standardise the analysis and persistence assessment of non-extractable residues (NER)’. 

The regulatory community in Europe has recently shifted towards viewing NERs as a hidden hazard, and as such intending to include them in the assessment of environmental persistence. A recent ECHA guidance update stated that, by default, all NERs should be considered as undegraded test chemical and included in the determination of the degradation half-life. A chemical is at risk of being banned in the long term if it is concluded to be persistent as a result of these new developments. As these evaluations are highly technically challenge, it’s of critical importance that the right expertise is brought in to support these assessments and ensure that they are done properly. 

Find out how this is likely to impact your organisation

At NCEC, we have years of experience evaluating the persistence of chemicals for industry clients in the regulatory context. If you have any questions related to persistence assessment of chemicals, biodegradability assessments or any other regulatory queries, please contact us so that we can provide you the right expertise for your products and improve regulatory outcomes for your business. 


Virtual Hazmat 2021 – take part for a chance to win a free training session with our hazmat experts

Free event
18 May, 14:30 – 16:30 BST & 19 May, 8:00 – 10:00 BST

The upcoming event in our series of next generation virtual business summits will be a free alternative to our annual Hazmat conference – Virtual Hazmat 2021, supported by JOIFF. The summit will comprise of two, 2-hour sessions on consecutive days, which will draw on the knowledge and experience of NCEC’s experts – with a focus on informative, practical and actionable advice on hazmat incidents. 

Both days will include a session each on a discussion involving a practical hazmat-related scenario and an interactive quiz. Through the quiz, one lucky participant/team on each day will win a free, bespoke, hazmat training session with our Hazmat Academy team!*

Register for Virtual Hazmat 2021

  *Terms and conditions apply.

Hazmat 2022 is now open for registrations

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

NCEC's annual Hazmat conference, now in its 13th year, will draw 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.

Bringing together international speakers from across sectors, delegates will benefit from world-standard presentations, case studies and practical, hands-on workshops in a friendly and welcoming environment. 

Early bird price will be available until 31 December 2021. 

Buy your conference pass here

Find out more about Hazmat 2022

Achieving net zero – developing a plan

We recently showcased how Ricardo and Mott McDonald supported the UK water industry with a detailed, actionable plan to support the entire industry in achieving net zero carbon on operational emissions. The on-demand webinar series explores the lessons learned from creating this unprecedented routemap and the experts share their knowledge and experience on the elements that must be addressed so that your organisation or industry can develop and action a successful net-zero plan.  

Watch the series on demand here

How to deliver a 'decade of action' on sustainability

Ricardo’s sustainability experts have researched sustainability successes and solutions from more than 20 of the UK's leading organisations across a variety of sectors. The findings have been combined with our own expertise and experiences into a series of blogs which will provide actionable advice on how your organisation can become more sustainable.

Read the  blog series



Corrosive cigar case


NCEC was contacted by a member of the public who was enquiring about the possibility of them being exposed to a corrosive chemical through a contaminated cigar. The caller had bought a case, designed for gun storage, to store cigars. However, the case had been treated with a rust inhibitor, the overall hazard classification of which turned out to be ‘corrosive’. The caller washed the case thoroughly with alcohol and water before putting any cigars in it. However, after smoking the first cigar that had been stored in the case, the person developed unexpected respiratory symptoms. They asked our emergency responder (ER) whether residues of the rust inhibitor could have been the cause of their discomfort.

After examining the evidence, our ER advised that it was unlikely that the rust inhibitor was responsible for the caller’s discomfort as it would probably have been applied in a dilute form and would have a lower hazard classification than anticipated. Additionally, the symptoms experienced did not appear to match the possible exposure. If the corrosive chemical was still present, our ER would have expected the caller’s lips to be affected. As this wasn’t the case, the chances of an inhalation exposure seemed very low. The caller was nonetheless advised to seek medical attention if the symptoms persisted, and to inform their doctor of the possible exposure. Careful consideration of the information provided allowed us to put the caller at ease and protect the reputation of the rust inhibitor supplier.

Leaking container at sea


We were contacted by the captain of a ship at sea for advice regarding a leaking container. A trail of an inky blue substance had been traced back to a particular container where a number of different products were stored.

After reviewing information on the contents of the container, our ER advised the captain to cordon off the area and contain the spill so it didn’t spread. Having identified the item in the container that had ruptured, our ER contacted the shipper to obtain more specific information about the product. The number of containers and materials conveyed in a container ship – each with different owners, shippers and paperwork – can make the identification of a leaking product increasingly challenging. Fortunately, a representative of the product’s supplier had access to the appropriate documentation and was able to confirm the identity of the product. This enabled our ER to locate detailed product information and to advise the captain about the product’s true hazards and properties. The captain and crew were relieved to discover that the leaked product was non-hazardous. When the ship reached its destination, cleaning contractors were able to clean the residues without any issues.

Ammonia causes health scare


We received a call from a fire and rescue service (FRS) attending an incident at a health club where several people around the pool area were complaining of runny eyes and sore throats. The pool had been cleaned that morning and many people had used it before some started presenting symptoms at around 16:00. The FRS had detected ammonia in the health club’s sauna, which gave our ER the first clue as to the cause of the described symptoms.

The health centre manager then informed us that some teenagers had been in the sauna around the time that the symptoms started presenting. He added that they had been urinating on the sauna’s heating elements and asked if this was possibly the source. We informed people at the scene that the decomposition of urea present in urine could release ammonia and, potentially, isocyanates, which would cause the symptoms described. The heating elements were then examined and found to be the source of the ammonia. The staff were instructed to wash down the sauna with plenty of water.

Get in touch

If you would like further information on any of the topics covered, have any questions on UK or EU REACH, poison centre notifications, hazmat training or on any other wider chemical emergency response or regulatory compliance matters, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards

Jon Gibbard
Director – NCEC