Technical Committee review
Members were treated to a broad range of speakers and subjects.

Wisely, the technical committee (TC) review session came first hosted by Dr. Clive Morton, business development manager of BOC. The TC aims to provide vital industry information to companies to help them tackle existing and new legistration.

Phil Rigby, principal bulk equipment engineer of Air Products spoke on the amended Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations, which came into effect in July 2005. Security issues were highlighted and Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will enforce UK guidelines. Despite gradual implementation companies were encouraged to study the Department of Transport website for information and continued to report any problems to BCGA.

With over 145 members attending the event, a fascinating cross section of companies was represented from tier 1 to the smaller privately run businesses.

Paul Leadbetter, group-engineering manager of Jackson Keay gave a report on Dangerous Substance & Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR), which was relevant to everyone present. The subject of risk assessments and control measures reminded all that legislation would be in place by the 30 June this year. Members should act now if they hadn\\$quot;t already done so. Health and Safety Advisory Group (HASAG) reported that 2006 would see them focus on cylinders in fires, cylinders and waste as well as DSEAR.

David Hopper, safety & quality manager of Air Liquide, contributed information on Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) and its significance to the industrial gases industry although the primary effort has
been through EIGA he stressed that the BCGA aim to identify the mechanisms for implementation of this far-reaching directive within the UK.

Steve Elliott, technical secretary (BCGA)spoke on how BCGA could prevent or respond to misrepresentation in the national press by presenting a contactable united front.

Conference topics
The second session was \\$quot;˜New Horizons\\$quot; and encouraged members to open their minds to the future of industrial gases with brief lectures by, James Wood, transport consultant of GIST/BOC \\$quot;˜Tackling Transport Today and Tomorrow\\$quot;, Dr.John Davey, consultant (Harp Int.) \\$quot;˜Making Cold Cool\\$quot; and Prof. Roger Timmis, air science
manager of Environmental Agency \\$quot;˜Thinking Ahead on Air Quality\\$quot;.

The third and final session entitled \\$quot;˜Lessons in Business\\$quot;, was far more general and interactive, hosted by Wayne Pepper, country manager of Yara. Peter Day, a BBC radio journalist,inspired thoughts on the \\$quot;˜heartbeat economy\\$quot;, future markets and the changing of nature of customer service. An energetic piece by Steven Carver of ALS Consultants closed proceedings.Using the NASA Challenger programme as a model, Carver proved how organisational communication can breakdown and lessons learnt.

President\\$quot;s interview
As members disappeared to prepare for the annual dinner John Carver, managing director of CryoService and the current BCGA president, gave me a brief insight into the past, present and future roles of the association.

"The focus recently has been principally on standards-making and legislation associated with Britain\\$quot;s membership of the European Union, in conjunction with EIGA."

He continued: "Now that harmonisation with the EU has largely been achieved the BCGA is looking ahead to new challenges. We must maintain and develop good relations with UK agencies such as the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environmental/Transport Agencies to monitor and respond to legislation impact on the industry."

Mr Carver also noted that BCGA has committed further to the work of the technical committee in serving BCGA members by the full time appointment of Steve Elliot.

Also, after nearly 14 years steering the association as director and secretary Malcolm Moye is retiring and handing over the reins to Doug Thornton.

"Through numerous office moves and almost inconceivable change Malcolm has successfully implemented new office technology, welcomed over 21 new members and worked with many TC chairmen from Clive Cummer to Clive Morton, and he will be missed."

Doug Thornton, has a considerable history with trade associations. After working closely with Malcolm over the last few months he will be taking over this month.

Mr Carver spoke about his desire to see the association becoming truly pro-active to anticipate and contribute more to the formulation of policy itself.

The atmosphere of the whole event was very much in the tone of mutual benefit.

The BCGA was created from the British Acetylene Manufacturers Association, established back in 1906. It has evolved and now acts as a trade association representing UK companies that deal in the industrial gases industry.

The basic objective of BCGA is to promote and advise on safe practice, participate in standards making and provide departments of Government with access to expert advice and to assist in the preparation of practicable and relevant legislation that applies to the industry and its customers.

Anyone wishing to discuss or enquire into the work of the BCGA can contact them through their website: