NCEC Newsletter December 2017

Welcome to the July edition of the NCEC newsletter. 

This month we're highlighting the new CEFIC guidelines for the supply and transport of hazardous materials for which I was fortunate enough to lead the CEFIC group generating the guidance, as well as discussing the new poison centre notification (PCN) IT tools.   We also a number of new resources to share such as updated version of our whitepaper 'The global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers' and our chemical safety management webinar. More details on how to access these can be found below.  

I hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and if there is anything you would like us to feature in future issues, then please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards

Dan Haggarty

Head of Emergency Response
The National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)

CEFIC publishes agreed guidelines for chemical emergency response


The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) has published a new set of guidelines for the supply and transport of hazardous materials to help chemical companies deliver best practice in telephone chemical emergency response.

The new guidelines have been adopted by all National Intervention in Chemical Transport Emergencies (ICE) Centres in Europe, and they detail the fundamental requirements of an emergency response service.

Read the full announcement

Sign up to the panel discussion where our experts will look these guidelines in more detail, and discuss the implications for industry – 29th August, 11.30am (BST).

Register now

ECHA releases new tools to overhaul how businesses submit information to poison centres 


The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a suite of IT tools for businesses to build systems to notify information on hazardous mixtures to appointed bodies and poison centres.

The portal, which is predicted to have a development cost of €4.2 million, would have phased introduction with a final revision potentially released in 2020.

Find out more about the PCN tools

Missed the REACH 2018 registration deadline?

The final REACH registration deadline has now passed.

31st May 2018 was the final deadline for all companies to register with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) if manfacturing or importing chemical substances in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) in quantities over one tonne per annum.

Organisations that did not meet the registration deadline are no longer legally able to manufacture or import substances within the EU/EEA. 

If you missed the deadline, contact us for further advice on how to become compliant and reduce your trading risks. 

NCEC’s REACH services.

If you need to register a substance, we can support with specific tasks or manage the entire process for you. We can offer:

  • Only Representative support for non-EU companies.
  • Third Party Representation to reduce risk and support compliance.
  • Bespoke advice and guidance for those who just need a helping hand.
  • A comprehensive range of REACH services such as dossier compliance checks, authorisation support service, SDS authoring and management, CLP notifications as well as Poison Centre notifications.

Become compliant today

Is your site compliant with water regulations?


Site expansion can be an exciting time for a business and one which often involves significant investment. It is likely that your site is covered by various water regulations, be it for discharges to river or sewer, your water supply or site drainage. However, one area that can be easily overlooked is the impact an expansion can have on environmental permits which are currently in place. 

Why not complete the a risk assessment checklist to see if you need to stay ahead of the game?

Take the risk assessment


Hazmat 2018 round up


Hazmat event 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 services, police and industry to discuss, network and share experiences of working on the front line of hazardous material response.

Read the full review

Who is at the end of the phone?


If you, a driver or a consumer calls an emergency response number, who is at the end of the phone?

Supporting the UK's blue light services and over 550 private sector customers during a chemical incident can be challenging. Our emergency responders (ER's) are often faced with complex calls and technical questions,for which they have spent a number of months undergoing intensive training.  Find out a little more about some of our recent new recruits who are answering these calls:

Josh has recently completed training as a chemical emergency responder and has joined the shift rota answering emergency calls. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Reading and a Masters in petroleum engineering from Heriot-Watt University. Josh has worked across a variety of industries including construction, research and the petroleum industry.

Sarah is a recent chemistry graduate; her dissertation project was a research review of the advances in chelating compounds for use against cadmium overload in humans. Sarah’s previous post-graduate role with an agriculturally-focused environmental assessment company provided her with experience in carbon foot-printing, technical support, and ISO-standard Environmental Management Systems. 

Tim has recently completed a Chemistry degree at Aston University. Within this degree he also studied modules in physics, chemical engineering, and biological chemistry. This broad range of scientific knowledge has helped Tim greatly as he has processed through his training to become an ER.

Sarah and Tim have just passed their training with flying colours and they will soon be on shift.

Guidelines for level 1 chemical emergency response

Published by The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), these guidelines for the supply and transport of hazardous materials to help chemical companies deliver best practice in telephone chemical emergency response is now available to download.

Download now

New edition: Global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers


The definitive guide to the global legal standards for emergency telephone numbers concerning the transport and supply of hazardous substances has been updated and is now available to download!

Download now

Upcoming and on demand webinars


Upcoming webinars
Delivering best practice in chemical emergency response: a panel discussion
29th August, 11.30am (BST)
Register now


On demand webinars
NCEC’s experts have been busy over the last few months presenting on a variety topics from incident notification and chemical safety management to poison centres.  You can view some of our recent webinars on demand below:

Incident notification – supporting employees and stakeholders when the worst happens

View on demand

Chemical safety management – g oing beyond compliance

View on demand

Identifying a requirement for effective on-scene command during an incident

View on demand

Global legal requirements for emergency telephone numbers: North and South America 

View on demand


Poison centre notification – the true cost of non-compliance
View on demand

Diary of events

FEICA 2018 European Adhesive and Sealant Conference & Expo
12-14 September, Riga, Latvia.
More details

The Emergency Services Show
19-20 September, Birmingham, UK.
More details

Product Stewardship 2018
27-29 September,  Washington DC, USA.
More details

Cyanide spill

Car on fire

The health hazards associated with cyanide are well known, but what may not be as well known is that it also has a severe environmental impact.

A large spill of a solution containing 2% cyanide occurred at an industrial site, which was near a river and small lake. We received a call from Environment Agency staff at the scene requesting advice on remediating the spillage and how to deal with the large amount that had entered the water course.

Our Emergency Responder advised that the spillage on land could be absorbed using sand or some other absorbent. This method is preferable to using a large amount of water to wash the spillage into a drain. We advised against using chemical approaches to treat the solution that had entered the watercourse. Instead, we provided information about the safe working levels for cyanide. The situation was resolved by using activated carbon as a filtrating agent downstream and then allowing the cyanide to break down naturally in an isolated pond. The water was declared safe to drink after sixteen days, bringing a close to the incident.

Phosphorus fire


We get several calls each year about various things being pulled from the sea or washed up on UK beaches. These calls always pose an interesting challenge as it’s never entirely clear what is being dealt with.

Recently, a member of the public had discovered what they believed to be a piece of amber on a beach. The person took this home where it burst into flames, producing a dense white smoke and a residue. The paper towels used to clean up the residue also ignited and burned with a blue flame. We received a call from a member of the fire and rescue service crew who was attending the scene requesting advice.

We had received a similar call some time ago, so already had a lot of information on what the substance possibly was. Because of the colour of the flame, location of the discovery and behavior of the substance, we strongly suspected that what had been discovered was phosphorus – probably from a smoke munition used in World War II. We provided advice on how to decontaminate the surface that the residue had been on and the appropriate medical treatment for the homeowner due to the fumes they had been exposed to. The tiles were decontaminated by the crew and after receiving a medical assessment for possibly inhaling the combustion fumes, the resident was allowed to return to their house.

Fentanyl discovery



There has been an increase in the number of calls to NCEC regarding the illicit drug fentanyl. This opioid has a potency fifty to a hundred times greater than that of morphine and is often cut with heroin to increase the heroin’s strength. Due to its rise in popularity, and involvement in some overdoses that have attracted media attention, fentanyl has become a major concern for emergency services across the globe.

Emergency service personnel discovered a plastic bag containing around 10kg of white powder, which they had reason to believe was fentanyl. They contacted NCEC for advice about the precautions they would need to take while examining the contents of the plastic bag and what to do if there was a spill of the powder.

Our ER told the caller how to determine if the powder was fentanyl. Information was provided on what to look out for if someone is exposed to fentanyl and the first aid treatment to be carried out. Advice was also provided about the equipment that would be necessary to deal with any spillage. The caller was happy to relay this to the relevant parties and was confident in what they would be doing going forward.

Get in touch

If you would like any further information on the topics covered or have any questions on wider chemical emergency response, regulatory compliance matters as well as crisis management, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards

Dan Haggarty
Head of Emergency Response
The National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)


Jonathan Gibbard

Practice Director

+44 (0) 1235 753654 Find Out More

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