AIGA Meeting in Kuala Lumpur endeavours to improve gas product vehicle safety.

The 5th annual meeting of AIGA was held in Kuala Lumpur and was jointly organised with the FMM Malaysian Industrial Gas Manufacturers Group.

The theme for the meeting was ‘Product Vehicle Safety and Accident Prevention’ and was well attended with a total of 155 delegates from 28 companies and institutions from 15 European, North American and Asian Pacific countries. The event was supported by the presence of EIGA, the CGA and JIGMA personnel, empahsising the importance of the event.

AIGA held its AGM before the event and new members for the Board were elected. These included Murray Covello, President of Praxair Asia, who took over from Mok Kwong Weng, Regional Director for Air Liquide North East Asia as the President. AIGA’s Vice President is Wilbur Mok of Air Products Asia, the Secretary is Sanjiv Lamba of Linde Gas Asia and the Treasurer is Helmut Schneider of Messer China.

An opening remark by Murray Covello emphasised that the number of accidents caused by product vehicles was very high when compared with production in the gas plants. Therefore, the meeting was intended to improve the situation.

There were 12 presentations and workshops in the one-and-half day event, providing a good mix of topics, covering human factors, management systems and skills, equipment design, and even high technology control and monitoring systems.

The 11 speakers from Air Products, Praxair, Linde Gas, Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), Taiyo Nippon Sanso, Cryolor and AIGA Transport Work Group Team ‘B’ all shared openly their experience, opinions and solutions adopted on the subject.

James Lucas of Air Products Asia, described the nine primary causes of truck accidents of which seven were related to the driver, highlighting that fatigue was the number one cause. Dave Sonnemann of Praxair Inc. gave one presentation on Transportation Safety Management and one workshop on Vehicle Rollover Prevention.

Peter Lazarus of ACE made a remark in two of his slides that, “We never find time to do things properly,” “..but we always find time to fix our mistakes.” He also explained the four E’s of systematic approach to operator training, notably Ethos, Engineering, Education and Enforcement.

Nozari Nordin of Air Products Asia shared practices in the hiring and recruitment of drivers. Tony Williams of the Linde Group pointed out that the reason for transportation as the highest risk of activity of daily operation, was that activities were unsupervised most of the time and therefore a different approach should be adopted to improve safety performance.

Ichirou Nakayama of Taiyo Nippon Sanso shared Japanese experience of product vehicle safety management, including the application of digital tachograph to assess the performance of drivers and their ‘Yellow Card System’.

Jim Carlins of Praxair demonstrated the application of various advanced systems installed on the vehicle to help prevent accidents, including an on-board computer linked with a satellite data modem.

Michael Blondin from Cryolor shared the company’s improvement in road tanker design, which not only covered road safety but also considerations of the tanker operation. Similarly, Hou Xisheng of Praxair China gave his opinion on the improvement cylinder trucks operation safety by adopting vertical cylinder delivery together with associated equipment - since horizontal cylinder delivery was still common in many places in China.

A panel presentation of fatigue management was given by the Transportation working Group Team ‘B’ of AIGA at the end of the meeting. The presentation included a thorough explanation of the causes of fatigue and reminded us not to overlook this.

Summing up
Thomas Lout of Praxair Asia, also Director of the Technical Group of AIGA, summed up the meeting with the following points as he alluded back to several notions raised earlier in the seminar.

‘Walk the Talk’, as firstly mentioned by James Lucas of Air Products in his presentation, is very important and we have to be consistent and give the right messages to our people.
MBWA – ‘Managing By Walking Around’. Sitting in the office would not help improve the management and Thomas mentioned that Murray Covello, President of Praxair Asia is a good example.

Drivers, instead of the professional operators of the road tankers and trucks, would not listen to people of non-professional grade. As over 98% of the delegates at the meeting were not professional truck drivers, he recommended us to win respect from the drivers and talk the same language of the drivers.

This remark in fact, came after C.N. Loke, the Regional Operations Director of Air Liquide, made a comment about our credibility to instruct drivers whilst we would not be as experienced as they were. “Although I am not a lorry driver, one week after the meeting, I am still practicing the driving skills taught and I will keep these skills for safety!”

For more information on AIGA’s meeting on gas product vehicle safety and the organisation’s other activities go to: www.asiaiga.org.