Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the NCEC newsletter.
In this month's bumper edition, we're highlighting an excellent dissection of an emergency call by one of our emergency responders and some exemplary contribution pieces our experts have made to the emergency response and the crisis response communities. We then explore the recent poison centre updates and introduce our new environmental hazards and risks services. We also highlight our CPD accredited training courses and share the events we will be attending over the coming months.
I hope you find this newsletter informative and enjoyable. Please feel free to
contact me with any comments or suggestions for future content.
Director – NCEC
Last year cefic published new guidelines on what the ideal level 1 chemical emergency response provision should be. Using a chemical incident as a case study in this article, we examine how NCEC can help support your business and customers by providing a level 1 telephone response service compliant with the new guidelines – something we have delivered for over 45 years.
Read more about the incident and the advice we provided
Bethan Davies, manager of Chemsafe, the chemical advice scheme that NCEC provides to the emergency services, attended a day of training offered as part of Project Diffuse in London.
The aim of Project Diffuse is to spread awareness of the rising prevalence of acidic and alkaline substances in violent attacks, and provide those who might be at the scene of such an incident with an understanding of the required first response to a corrosive substance attack.
The training was delivered by the Metropolitan Police and aimed to give an immersive experience of an attack involving corrosive substances. It provided the audience with a practical insight on how to prepare for such an incident and how to react if one occurs.
Read more about Project Diffuse
In the event of a chemical incident, the emergency services, most often the fire and rescue service, will be looking for information about the substance(s) involved. Identifying the nature of these substances becomes even more important when gases are concerned due to their abilities to disperse into the surrounding environment.
Nigel Blumire, who is an expert at emergency response, secretary of the CTIF Hazardous Materials commission and is our lead trainer for the emergency response training courses, has written an article for the Health and Safety International magazine on the importance of gas detection in relation to identifying the nature and scale of any gas release, and how this applies to chemical incidents.
Read the full article here
2019’s Hazmat proved once again that it is THE premier event of the year for hazmat professionals. The annual conference brought together professionals from a broad spectrum of fire and rescue services, police and industry to discuss, network and share experiences of working on the front line of hazardous material response.
Find out more on what the event entailed
Chris Lewis, our senior crisis management consultant, recently contributed to the Continuity&Resilience Magazine with his view on the role of non-technical skill development in crisis management and response.
Read more on how a crisis can impact business continuity
The deadline for making poison centre notifications for mixtures intended for consumer use is fast approaching, with just over four months until
1 January 2020.
However, industry have been lobbying for an amedment to Annex VIII to provide an extension to the consumer use deadline until 2021.
Find out more about the amendment
With or without the amendment, NCEC still believes that the best way to notify and stay ahead of the legislation is to notify now via Member States.
But why should you notify now?
To find out why – watch Caroline's video:
Caroline on 'Why should you notify now?'
Member States are working towards accepting notifications in the new harmonised format. Caroline has recently written an article exploring the current status of the implementation of Annex VIII across the EU Member States along with doing a Q&A where she answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Annex VIII implementation.
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has now also published version 2 of the Poison Centre Guidance document, which provides clarification on duty holders, outlining that potentially every operator placing certain mixtures on the market can be a duty holder.
Poison Centres Annex VIII Member State implementation plans
Read the Q&A here
View the Guidance document here
Understanding the hazards and risks of chemicals is a key part of responsible product stewardship and is essential to sustainable business and compliance with chemical regulations such as GHS and REACH.
At NCEC, we have a broad range of expertise to assess the environmental hazards and risks of chemical products. These include all elements of the REACH chemical safety assessment (CSA) along with vast experimental knowledge of placing, monitoring and evaluating regulatory tests.
This enables us to support you in generating appropriate and reliable data of the highest standard, while minimising unnecessary testing costs and animal use, and helping you to comply with ongoing regulatory requirements in the most cost-effective and ethical manner possible. If you need technical expertise in environmental hazard and risk assessment of chemical substances, please feel free to
Find out more about the services we offer
Find out how regulatory consultant, David Brown, got on with his first visit to SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), an annual conference where academia, industry, government and non-profit organisations gather to discuss the sustainable use of chemicals and how to reduce their impacts to humans and the environment.
Read David's blog here
In July, the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) released its searchable database of over 300 nanomaterials, giving regulators and consumers more information on safety and available data for these materials. The EUON database comes six months in advance of the deadline for amended REACH requirements for nanomaterial reporting. These requirements effect chemical safety assessments (Annex I), registration information requirements (Annex III and VI-XI) and downstream user obligations (Annex XII). If your company has any concerns regarding this upcoming deadline, please feel free to get in touch to discuss how NCEC can support your continued compliance.
Contact our team now
The rules surrounding manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of chemicals are always changing. And whether it is legislative requirements to achieve regulatory compliance or managing a crisis safely and effectively, our experts are here to assist you. To continue supporting our customers, NCEC are delighted to introduce two new experts into our growing team, supporting both the regulatory and crisis business areas respectively – David Brown and Gareth Black. Read more about them below:
David has joined our team of experts as a regulatory consultant. He is an expert regulatory environmental scientist and has previously worked on contaminated land projects and implementation of the European Water Framework Directive. These experiences have given him an in-depth understanding of biodegradability (persistence) testing and analytical methods used in the identification and quantification of chemicals. He will be helping to guide clients through the complicated processes of maintaining regulatory compliance.
Gareth recently joined as a crisis consultant having worked in emergency response and crisis management within the NHS. With a Masters Degree in Homeland Security with Disaster Management, Gareth has extensive knowledge and experience in preparing for, responding to and recovering from a range of business continuity incidents. He will be working with clients to increase their organisational resilience so that the organisation is in a state of readiness.
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you to everyone who completed our annual customer survey. Your valuable feedback helps us to better understand our clients' needs and will help us to achieve our aim of delivering the highest quality of service possible.
Ricardo Defense is providing the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with advanced software for the analysis and optimisation of large and complex data sets – data which will be used in the planning of future deep space missions.
Find out how Ricardo is supporting NASA
Ricardo has acquired PLC Consulting PTY Ltd, a planning, environment and infrastructure consultancy based in Australia. The acquisition increases Ricardo’s existing Australian based environmental capabilities within the growing Australian market and expands on our recent Australian rail acquisition.
Find out more about this acquisition
Ricardo showcased its advanced immersive Virtual Reality (VR) app at the prestigious International Vienna Motor Symposium. The app enables collaborative simultaneous engineering design reviews to be carried out by multiple users in different geographical locations.
Find out about our VR capabilities
NCEC’s experts have been busy over the last few months presenting webinars highlighting Annex VIII to CLP requirements and best practice in putting in place robust emergency response arrangements. You can view recordings of our recent webinars by clicking on the links below:
Poison centre: Annex VIII
– the new harmonised not quite harmonised approach
Safety and sustainability in the chemical supply chain
Hazmat 2020, now in its 13th year, is returning to Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-avon, on 13-14 May. Super early bird registration close on 30th September 2019. Using delegate feedback gathered at previous events, the format for Hazmat 2020 will again include a range of case studies and interactive exercises. We will be encouraging speakers to include practical elements and group interaction where relevant. Sessions will also cover a cross-section of subjects as we look to increase multi-agency representation.
Book your place now
Members of the NCEC team will be at the following events:
Product Stewardship Conference 2019
Crop innovations and Regulation Conference
Emergency Services Show 2019
SCHC (Society of Chemical Hazard Communication) Fall Meeting
Washington DC, USA
REACH: Current Landscape and Emerging Issues Conference
Chemical Watch Regulatory Summit Europe 2019
European Notification Panel Annual Meeting
If you are attending any of the above events, then please come and see us to find out more about what we do and how we can work with you. To arrange a meeting at any of these events, please email
View all upcoming events here
Since 1973, NCEC has been providing emergency response support to incidents involving hazardous chemicals, which includes a range of bespoke training courses. Our chemical incident management training courses are based on extensive chemical knowledge, enabling us to provide ‘best-in-class’ training on actual hazards and how to minimise any exposures.
Three of our training courses
Response to Incidents involving Chemical Exposure (RICE), Chemical spill response and Chemical hazard awareness
– are now CPD certified. After completing our training courses, participants will have the information and procedures they require to help stay compliant with legislation and respond effectively to spills and exposures.
If you encounter hazardous materials in any form at work, then we can provide the training you need.
Book your training course now
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is currently the single most important piece of legislation in the water environment. The principle aim of this legislation is to achieve “good ecological status” for all waterbodies by 2021 or 2027.
The objective of the training course is to provide you or your employees with an overview of the principles and practical implementation of the WFD, ensuring you are better informed of how this important policy affects your day-to-day job roles. The course will be specific to your site and its interactions with the local waterbodies.
Book the course now
A Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) was on-route to a spillage at a chemical manufacturer’s site and they were seeking initial hazard advice based on the speculative information they had been provided. They believed the spill to involve four tanks that contained ammonia solution, caustic soda, lactic acid and hydrochloric acid respectively. We proceeded to advise on the hazards of the four known chemicals, as well as the potential for a reaction between them when mixed. It later transpired that the spill was from one tank containing approximately 8,000 litres of a waste chemical mixture, including the previously mentioned chemicals. We then provided revised advice as more information about the incident came to light.
As a large quantity of the mixture entered the drainage system, we were contacted by the Environment Agency. We provided them with the details of the incident and the actions that had been taken to reduce the environmental impact of the spill – to both the FRS on scene and the company involved. A nearby business contacted the emergency line with concerns about the safety of their staff, and access to and from their building. We were able to advise on the best course of action they could take and made the site of the spillage aware of the questions being raised.
A FRS called us for advice regarding the disposal of a homemade pesticide. A member of the public had made the pesticide by boiling rhubarb leaves to create an oxalic acid solution that would work as an effective pesticide. They had labelled the bottle as toxic and because of this, their local recycling centre had refused to accept the bottle with some residual product left in it. The caller had become alarmed at the thought of possessing a potentially dangerous chemical mixture and contacted the emergency services for assistance.
We identified the most likely active ingredients in the mixture and advised on the associated hazards, considering the dilution of the mixture. We were also able to identify a suitable local facility where the caller could dispose the pesticide safely.
We received a call from a driver who had been in a collision with a low bridge, which resulted in the roof being ripped off the vehicle. The vehicle was carrying several hazardous products and the collision had caused a 25 litre drum of waste acetone to tip over and leak. The driver had already used their spill kit to block the acetone from entering a nearby drain.
Our emergency responder (ER) initially confirmed the safety of the driver and established if the scene of the accident was safe to operate in. They then proceeded to provide advice on the potential hazards of the spilled product and the remedial action the driver could take with the assistance of the police and FRS, who had now arrived on scene. Our ER was then able to notify the driver's company about the accident and inform them on the remedial actions that had been taken.
Get in touch
If you would like further information on any of the topics covered, or have any questions on wider chemical emergency response, regulatory compliance matters or crisis management, then please do not hesitate to
Director – NCEC