The EIGA (European Industrial Gases Association) Winter Seminar 2014 focuses on safe operation and regulation with respect to flammable gases. Flammable gases are an important part of the gas industry product portfolio and are widely used in many industries.

Due to their properties they are hazardous and, thus, there are safety issues that need to be addressed. To achieve this, the seminar aims to discuss the following themes;

  • Sharing of experience and best practices.
  • Professional approach to safety issues (E.G. Protection of operators).
  • Review or introduction of the basics, including key safety principles, hazards and safeguards.
  • Learning from incidents.
  • Awareness of applicable regulations.
  • Awareness of existing industry knowledge and the EIGA library.

The parallel sessions will focus on acetylene and on other flammable gases such as hydrogen and gas mixtures.

And that is Day One finished. Be sure to visit the gasworld website for day two 07.30 (GMT) tomorrow.


16.10 (GMT) – The final speaker of the day is Air Liquide’s Christophe di Giulio who will be speaking about the transport of flammable gases and management of associated risks.

He began by saying, “Driver training, accurate marking and labelling, documentation of transport, load securing and ventilation are just some of the factors required when meeting ADR rules.”

“EIGA has published two safety leaflets, SL 04 – the safe transport, use and storage of acetylene cylinders, and SL 03 – safe transport of gases.”

Mr di Giulio also highlighted other EIGA publications, which involve the subject matter of his presentation and concluded, “The risks depend on the type of containment, on the flammable gas, on its physical state, and on its quantity.”

“Read EIGA documents for more information but I insist practical exercises with flammable gases as these are very useful to get prepared for transportation emergency events.”


16.00 (GMT) – “Wireless safety systems are increasing safety as real-time remote readings can be obtained instantly from 500+ monitors. This enhances safety and enables quick accurate decisions to be made and you will know where all of your staff are on site.”

“In conclusion, gas detection technology and innovation is only part of the solution. Integration of technology to protect the plant and people is the future. But this future is already here.”


15.55 (GMT) – “It’s life saving pieces of equipment – but what do all the flammable gas detectors have in common?”

“They have to detect gas either in ppm, mg etc. They have to be robust and proven technology, relevant to applications and constantly evolving to meet legislation and needs of our customers.”


15.45 (GMT) – The penultimate speaker of the day is Terry Alberti, from Honeywell, who will be speaking about gas detection for flammable gases.

“When we are constructing sensing technology – we have to consider things like what is being detected, what are the hazards and what is the environment, among other things,” described Mr Alberti.


15.25 (GMT) – “When speaking of the electronics industry we are talking about silicon manufacturing, photovoltaic and solar cell manufacturing.”

“With the exception of hydrogen and silane, the risks are quite low and most flammable gases consumption can very by a factor of three.”

“However, large quantities of Hydrogen and Silane are used. But for safe usage we use remote shutdown device and fire detection to promote safe usage. Risk assessment is also vital. Identification, analysis, evaluation, and treatment are the four key steps for this to be achieved.”


15.20 (GMT) - Mr Eiselt concluded by advising the audience to “be ready to adapt”. Next to the stage is Jacques Lamotte who will be speaking about the management of flammable gases in the electronics industry.


15.07 (GMT) – “The objective is to point out the intrinsic properties/hazards around flammable gases and their mixtures for classification,” he said, adding “and give an overview about the regulatory background.”

He explained the definition of flammability as a “gas or gas mixture is flammable in air at atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 20c at a standard pressure of 101,3 kPa.”

“There are three conditions that may lead to a trigger – fuel, oxygen supply and ignition source for flammable gases. Just fuel and an ignition source for chemically unstable gases and just fuel and oxygen supply for pyrophoric gas.”

Continuing he detailed various standards and ISOs which are mandatory for the safe use of flammable gases.

“The ISO standard provides a well evaluated data of substances widely used as a mixture component. But it may lead to over classification of refrigerant gas mixtures compared to tested refrigerant gas mixtures.”


15.00 (GMT) – And we’re back. Session 2 begins with an introduction from the chairman before the first presentor – Joachim Eiselt explains his subject “The classification of flammable gases”


14.25 (GMT) – And following a very active questions and answers session there is now a refreshment break with the event recommencing in 30 minutes time.


14.00 (GMT) - And that’s the first session over. An interesting variation of subjects regarding safety - from different viewpoints and angles - from site safety to safe selling and storage of flammable gases.


13.55 (GMT) – “But it’s not just about physical security, it’s about knowing your customer (a guidance book has been produced by EIGA). With suspicious enquiries – ask questions.”

“Significant increase in use is just one thing that may trigger a feeling. If it feels wrong it is usually wrong.”


13.50 (GMT) - “The first step is understanding what can happen and what can go wrong. We need to keep our sites secure and ensure we have security measures in place like access control, perimeter fences, CCTV and movement control. But also having a good relationship with neighbours and the police. it’s about deter, detect and delay (in case they attack us).”


13.45 (GMT) Warren Rockett from Linde as well, is a member of the EIGA working group WG-13 Security. “The objective of this presentation is to look at the security element of the storage and transport of our gases.”

“Major crime and terrorist use of these products is also something I want to talk about. In 1999 224 people were killed by terrorists who used gases to cause a devastating explosion suing acetylene and oxygen.”

“It’s easy to get hold of, and we have to admit that we are not as good as we should be in ensuring these products don’t get into the wrong hands.”


13.30 (GMT) – “We established a short term and medium term program to retrain and certify all staff dealing with acetylene. We had 10 employees to one expert trainer and any shortfalls are assed and the person is retrained until they pass – with 740 employees trained and certified.”


13.25 (GMT) – Next to the stage is Volker Hoeh, from The Linde Group. He began by speaking of historical incidents at acetylene plants – Belarus, August 2011, Ireland, November 2011, and Saudi Arabia, January 2012.

“From 2007 to 2011 we looked at the process time of the incident. Generator charging was 19%, with carbide transfer, generator operations, cylinder venting and cylinder filling all responsible for 15% each.”

“The main root causes were behaviour and lack of competence. Clearly something had to be done so Linde launched the Acetylene Safety Programme.”


13.20 (GMT) – “Maybe the most important section of this presentation is the following. In the past it was lack of knowledge that was the general cause of incidents. Now 56% is human error – of which 42% is a skill based error.”


13.10 (GMT) – “Now we have hydrogen – which can be delivered as a liquid. Obviously you have the cold risk but in the incidents reported to EIGA, 40% resulted in no injury and damage was caused to the equipment and property.”

“But still there were 11 fatalities, or 6% of the total figure of 185 incidents, five multiple fatalities, or 3% of the total figure.”


13.00 (GMT) – “There were 239 incident reported to EIGA in the SAC data bank but there are more than likely more that are unreported.”

“151, or 63%, were at production/filling sites and 61, or 26%, due to cylinder handling at a customer site (leakage, oxy-fuel welding).”

“We know how to deal with acetylene – but incidents still occur.”


12.50 (GMT) – Dabilo Ritlop, “My job today is to highlight the hazards of flammable gases through review of incidents.”

“The EIGA Safety Advisory Council (SAC) involves members exchanging information about any serious incident at any EIGA member company site, contractor site or customer site.”

“Acetylene is an important gas in our industry and is the most efficient of fuel gases (for welding, brazing or oxy-cutting). But has an unstable triple bond which hides a large amount of energy.”


12:47 (GMT) - Danilo Ritlop then begins his presentation.


12:42 (GMT) - Bernard Jumeau, from Air Liquide and chairman of the day, is on stage currently highlighting what can be expected from speakers in this first session and the structure of the event. “Three sessions will be held from now until tomorrow morning (two today and one tomorrow) followed by two streams about acetylene and other flammable gases running simultaneously.”


12.34 (GMT) - “One in five incidents involved flammable gases and 10% of this number result in fatality. This undermines our work that we do to make the usage of these gases as safe as we can. I won’t invent anything today - we are here to learn lessons,” Mr Skare said.

“There has to be a reason as these events are preventable. What we need to do is find the route cause and fix it.”

“This involves everyone, from plant designers… to our customers. We are all involved.”


12:32 (GMT) – “Product safety is the topic of next year’s seminar held on the 28th and 29th of January 2015. If anyone has an interest in this broad subject, contact us regarding submissions for this event,” suggested Mr Brickell before he left the stage and handed over to EIGA President Todd Skare.


12.26 (GMT) – Lunch has come to an end and the theatre is filling with delegates, who are eager for the event to begin and for presentations to start. And with that, Mr Brickell has taken to the stage and has begun with introductions and safety briefings.


11.00 (GMT) – Delegates have now dispersed for lunch. Coverage of the event will begin again in an hour and a half.


10.55 (GMT) –  “We’ve had excellent response to this event with nearly 200 delegates registered for the seminar and we had a waiting list for those who wanted to attend the training course as it became fully booked very quickly. It really has been a success with the attendees,” said EIGA General Secretary Phil Brickell.

“This format is something we will be doing again in the future as it appears to be very popular.”


10.12 (GMT) – The Messer Group’s Danilo Ritlop provides the first presentation of the day regarding the subject of incident involving flammable gases. Two separate speakers then follow him from Linde – Volker Hoeh and Warren Rockett. The first will be speaking about best practice for acetylene plants while the latter will be looking at the security aspects of flammable gases.


10.10 (GMT) – A steady stream of attendees are beginning to arrive at the Sheraton Hotel and are collecting their badges and papers in preparation for the commencement of the seminar. EIGA President, Todd Skare, rightly opens the event with the first plenary session scheduled to commence at 12.50 (GMT).


10:00 (GMT) – Welcome to the live coverage of EIGA’s 2014 Winter Seminar. This year’s event has a slightly different format compared to last year’s event, which was the association’s 90th anniversary. The session actually began yesterday and provided those that registered with a training course regarding this year’s subject of Flammable Gases. The training ends, however, just before the scheduled lunch – with the regular seminar starting from 12.30 (GMT) until 16.35 (GMT).