Within the framework of Responsible Care, the chemical
industry makes every effort to transport goods to and from its
manufacturing sites and storage locations safely and in full accordance
with relevant regulations and codes of practice. In the event of an
incident, the chemical industry will provide information, practical help
and, if necessary and possible, appropriate equipment to the competent
emergency authorities in order to minimise any adverse effects.
ICE (Intervention in Chemical transport Emergencies) is a co-operative
programme, set up by Europe's chemical companies to achieve this goal. In
each European country, it seeks to create a framework for providing
assistance in an effective way:
||by making use of the emergency response
schemes of individual chemical companies;
||by building on existing emergency
response schemes - local, regional and product-related (chlorine,
isocyanates, ethylene oxide, etc.);
||by co-operating with national
authorities through the National Chemical Federation;
||by promoting mutual assistance within
the chemical industry.
Each national ICE
scheme applies only to distribution incidents (i.e. those that occur
outside manufacturing sites) and is formalised in a protocol between the
national chemical industry federation and the national competent
A national ICE scheme is a voluntary initiative, normally
open to all manufacturers and distributors of chemical products. It is
administrated by the national chemical industry federation which keeps a
register of participating members and arranges for financial
contributions. Up-to-date information on available assistance is
communicated promptly to the national competent authorities.
Level of support by the chemical
Participation in a national emergency scheme is voluntary
but requires a company's commitment to provide help in land-based
distribution incidents on the request of the competent authorities.
Depending on the capabilities and resources of a company, there are three
levels of intervention:
||Level 1: Remote product information and
general advice by telephone or fax.
||Level 2: Advice from an expert at the
scene of an incident.
||Level 3: Assistance with
personnel/equipment at the scene of an incident.
Such a commitment applies firstly to
products manufactured by the company itself and is normally incorporated
into the company's own distribution emergency response scheme. The
emergency services may also require advice or help if the product supplier
is not known or cannot be contacted. In such cases, companies may offer
assistance on the basis of a prior arrangement with the national ICE
scheme. However, safeguarding their own site facilities takes priority
over Level 2 and Level 3 intervention.
The ultimate responsibility
for any intervention at the site remains with the competent emergency
The key document in the protocol between the
competent national authorities and the chemical industry (represented by
the national chemical federation) is the list of participating companies.
This provides details of each participant such as address, telephone and
fax number, range of products (hazardous products are identified by the
four-digit UN number), time availability, intervention equipment and area
of intervention (if limited). It normally includes a map, showing the
location of the participating companies so that the competent authorities
can contact the site nearest to the transport accident.
focal point of a national ICE scheme is the national ICE centre which the
emergency authorities can call:
||when the supplier cannot be
||when an incident happens to
international movements necessitating contact with national ICE
centres in other countries;
||when mutual assistance needs to be
mobilised within the national ICE scheme;
||when the product or the producing
company cannot be readily identified.
called by the authorities, the national ICE centre will provide, in the
local language, initial telephone advice for the immediate control of the
incident. It will promptly alert the producing company, obtain further
information (possibly via other national ICE centres) or mobilise mutual
assistance. To do this, the centre has at its disposal appropriate
communication equipment, a library of reference books or databases and up
to date lists of telephone and fax numbers for contacts within the
The centre is manned 24 hours a day by at least
one person who, in addition to the local language(s), can also speak
English to facilitate communication between the national ICE centres.
Safety data sheets (SDS) are the main source of
information. Participating companies therefore ensure that SDS for their
own products are accessible at all times at the locations identified as
company contacts in the national ICE scheme.
To provide initial
advice, the national ICE centres have a series of reference books or
databases or may have access to a set of SDS.
In 1993, Cefic
published a guidance document on the use of SDS: "Distribution
Emergency Response - Guide to use safety data sheets".
Typical flow of
The following chart illustrates the typical flow
of response in transport emergencies. However, each country can adapt the
operation of a national ICE scheme according to its own specific needs and
practices already in place.
Before providing assistance or advice in distribution
incidents involving their own products, chemical companies should confirm
with their insurers that their policies cover any potential claims that
may arise from such involvement.
Companies which may be involved
in giving assistance or advice relating to other manufacturers' products
should notify their insurers specifically of this fact and obtain
confirmation that their general public liability policy will provide cover
for these activities. This should not lead to increases in premiums.
In 1994, Cefic published a brochure, "Distribution
Emergency Response - Legal and financial aspects of mutual assistance
In order to
provide competent assistance, responders in the national ICE centre or in
a company must meet a number of minimum requirements, either by experience
or by training. These have been agreed within the chemical industry and
are described in a Cefic publication of 1993: "Distribution
Emergency Response - Guidelines for use by the chemical