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

Why should a trained chemical expert answer your emergency incident call?
25 February 2021

When a chemical incident occurs, an organisation’s people, assets, reputation and bottom line are at risk. At such a time, is it enough to have an in-house employee reading from a safety data sheet (SDS) to find out what to do?

Since 1973, the National Chemical Emergency Centre (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.

In our recent virtual business summit, ‘Why do you need a specialist telephone emergency response helpline?’, NCEC’s emergency responders were joined by speakers from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. Together, they emphasised the potential business and environmental impacts of incorrectly managing a chemical incident and highlighted some of the key advantages of having a reliable team of experts answering emergency calls about your chemical products.

Why is emergency incident response important for your organisation?

During the summit, attendees were asked to take part in a poll about how their organisation viewed emergency incident response. The results are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Responses to ‘Why is emergency incident response important to your organisation?’ poll.

Only 23% of respondents said their organisations perceived emergency incident response as a critical business risk. However, having a robust telephone emergency response service that provides actionable advice from trained chemical experts can help your organisation resolve incidents faster and more safely. As well as protecting PEARL, it will also reduce the impact on your supply chain. On the other hand, the impacts of incorrectly handling an incident can be vast – to your organisation and the environment. 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. Please contact us at [email protected] to find out how NCEC can help you be put these plans in place.

As demonstrated during the event, receiving proportionate advice from trained chemical experts who have the highest level of situational awareness is of the utmost importance during a chemical incident. A robust, high-quality emergency response provision service leads to:

  • A faster and more effective resolution of the incident.
  • Protecting PEARL and those up and down your supply chain.
  • A decrease in your organisation’s downtime and mitigation costs.

Next steps

Having heard from our experts about a variety of real-life incidents and understanding the many different ways a chemical incident can impact an organisation, 34% of organisations wanted to test their current telephone emergency response and 17% felt the need to review their organisation’s supply chain for risks to PEARL.

Establishing an effective emergency response provision will not only safeguard your bottom line, but also strengthen your organisation by helping to ensure the safety of your customers and your employees. It was reassuring to hear that almost 50% of participants intended to share the information from the summit with others in their organisation to discuss the next steps in achieving organisational resilience in the event of an incident.

How can NCEC help minimise the risk to your organisation?

  • NCEC operates a global 24/7 emergency response helpline service all year round through a network of international telephone numbers and local language speakers. Our helpline is aligned with the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) Guidelines for Level 1 Chemical Emergency Response and the Guiding Principles of Responsible Care®.
  • Our chemical experts have access to our comprehensive and reliable SDS database; and Chemdata®, our emergency response database.
  • We provide bespoke call handling and reporting tailored to our customers’ needs, backed up by our dedicated customer service team.
  • Our trained chemical experts use their understanding of chemicals, their experience of previous incidents and their situational awareness to provide a service that goes far beyond simple compliance with regulations.
  • We take full responsibility for and stand by the quality of the advice we provide, which is underwritten by our comprehensive liability insurance.

If you have any questions on how you can go beyond complying or have any questions related to emergency response provision, please feel free to contact us through the form at the side of this page or email us at [email protected].