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6 July 2018

The latest Responsible Care report from the Chemical Business Association (CBA) shows a year-on-year increase in the number of accidents though the long-term trend continues to decline. The number of transport incidents continues to fall, despite higher volumes of chemicals being delivered.

CBA’s 2017 report on the health, safety, security and environmental performance of its distributor member companies marks the twenty-fifth year in which this aggregate data has been published for the chemical distribution sector.

The Report is based on returns from 89 companies employing 5,825 people.

In 2017, CBA member companies made over one and a quarter million separate journeys to distribute nearly four million tonnes of chemicals to businesses operating in virtually every sector of the UK economy.

Andrew Beck, Chairman of CBA’s Responsible Care Committee, said, “Accident levels have shown a year-on-year rise, though the long-term trend remains downward. It is also pleasing to note that transport incidents continue to fall despite the total tonnage delivered maintaining its historically high levels.”

Reportable Accidents

In 2017, member companies reported 33 accidents resulting in incapacities of more than three days – an increase on the previous year (2016 – 25).

CBA continues to publish data for accidents resulting in incapacities of more than three days. This exceeds the seven-day standard required by RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences) but preserves the integrity of the time series CBA has established over the last 25 years. Under the current RIDDOR standard, 25 accidents would have been reportable (2016 – 17).

In 2017, accidents resulting from a manual handling process or a slip, trip or fall accounted for 33% of the total. Eight accidents resulted from an exposure to a harmful substance (2016 – 6).  No fatalities were reported in 2017.

Lost Time Accident

The Lost Time Accident (LTA) rate is the ratio of reportable accidents to 100,000 man-hours – the assumed number of hours worked by one person during a lifetime. Applying the stricter three-day absence criterion, the LTA rate increased to 0.30 in 2017 (2016 – 0.22).  The LTA rate for just those accidents statutorily reportable under the current RIDDOR requirements was 0.23 in 2017 (2016 – 0.15).

Transport Incidents

Incidents involving transport are the key measure of the sector’s performance.  CBA’s data goes beyond the current criteria used by the Department for Transport and the RIDDOR legislation and includes any transport incidents requiring the attendance of the emergency services. Such incidents can include minor traffic accidents, mechanical breakdown or a simple puncture repair.

Even after applying these stricter criteria, the number of transport incidents continues at a historically low level – a notable achievement by the industry and one illustrating the long-term impact of CBA’s Responsible Care programme.

In 2017, CBA member companies made more than one and a quarter million separate journeys to distribute almost four million tonnes of chemicals.  Three transport incidents were reported (2016 – 5).  This equates to 0.77 transport incidents for every million tonnes of product distributed by CBA members in 2017 – a decrease on the previous year (2016 – 1.2).


CBA collects data on the disposal routes used by its distributor companies for the two main categories of waste. In terms of Special/Hazardous Waste, 11% was recycled, recovered, or disposed of with energy recovery in 2017 (1,475 tonnes), with only 5% of the total sent to landfill.  Of the Non-Hazardous Waste generated, 43% was recycled, recovered, or disposed of with energy recovery and 16% went to landfill.


There was one conviction recorded against a CBA member in 2017 (2016 – 1) arising from a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  One Prohibition Notice was issued by the HSE in 2017 (2016 – 1), along with six Improvement Notices (2016 – 4).

Further information from:                                                                              Peter Newport,

Chief Executive, CBA

Michael Cooper,

Responsible Care Co-ordinator

01270 258200


(1) The Chemical Business Association (CBA) represents the independent chemical supply chain.  Its membership includes distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies.  CBA’s members, the majority of which are SMEs, are the main industry interface with thousands of UK downstream chemical users.

(2)  CBA member companies employ more than 8,700 people.  They distribute, pack, and blend over 4 million tonnes of chemicals each year with a market value of almost three billion euros.  In addition, CBA’s logistics member companies handle more than four million tonnes of chemicals annually.

(3) Compliance with Responsible Care has been mandatory for CBA members since 2002.

(4) To read the full Distributors’ Report, go to and click on Responsible Care.

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