This week has not only marked a pivotal period in the world political calendar, but also in the industrial gases sector.

While key representatives gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, key players from the industrial gases community also congregate in Brussels.
Biennially held, the European Industrial Gases Association Symposium provides an opportunity for members and non-members alike to converse, listen and share. Indeed, day two of the 2011 event is currently underway at Le Plaza Theatre in Brussels, Belgium.
Every Symposium brings a new theme, and this year’s event focuses on the very pertinent issue of process safety.
Telling attendance
Perhaps the best ‘performance indicator’ of interest and success is turn-out, and with an allegiance of some 269 participants, this year’s event certainly resonated as a ‘must’ on the industrial gases calendar. Philip Brickell, General Secretary of EIGA, remarked, “At this year’s event there are 269 attendees, from 36 countries and around 96 organisations. This is an indicator of how important this topic is to the industry, as well as an indicator of the quality of speakers we have assembled.”
Focused objectives
Christoph Herrmann, Safety Engineer, Head of Safety for The Linde Group and member of the EIGA Council, welcomed delegates and in doing so offered a concise summary of the motivations driving the 2011 Symposium.
Herrmann advised, “Three years ago, when the topic of the next EIGA symposium was decided, I was delighted that the industrial gas industry chose process safety. Our plants and facilities are part of society’s infrastructure. Consequently, it is our responsibility to reduce the risk for the general public, our neighbours, the environment and our employees.”
“Over the last couple of decades there is evidence that major process incidents are continuing to happen. It is important to recognise that these are low frequency but that they have the potential to incur high impact consequences.$quot;
$quot;So we cannot afford to be complacent, and must not rely on good operational statistics - we all have to learn about incidents. And so, the objectives of this event is to increase awareness of process safety within all gas companies,” concluded Herrmann.
gasworld reports
As ever, gasworld promises to keep you abreast of the full details from both days. For the inside scoop about this pivotal event, key speakers and four constituent sessions, check the gasworld website once the event draws to a close, later this evening.