At the request of the Korea Gas Safety Corporation (KGSC), MATHESON experts have been working with the Korea Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the KGSC to improve gas and chemical safety in Korea.

The relationship began late in 2012 at a chemicals safety conference sponsored by several Korean government agencies, including MOTIE and KGSC. The principal objectives of the conference were the study of chemical spills, improvements in the training of chemical workers, and improvements in the readiness of Korean emergency responders.

During the conference, Kyoung Kyu Kim, the Safety, Health, and Environment Manager for MATHESON’s Korean-based operations, reviewed MATHESON’s emergency response procedures and outlined the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) safety requirements for emergency response.

Kim also recommended that gas and chemical suppliers in Korea be legally obligated to supply HAZMAT training for workers who handle hazardous materials.

With specific reference to compressed gas safety, Kim recommended specific actions be taken to conduct structural tests on gas cylinders, and to create a cylinder remediation company so that cylinders containing residues of hazardous materials can be safely remediated in Korea.

MATHESON’s work with the Korean government did not end at the conference. MATHESON hosted a visit in November, 2012 by three officials from KGSC. The KGSC team and Kim, along with other MATHESON safety experts, toured MATHESON’s gas production and packaging facility in New Johnsonville, Tennessee. The New Johnsonville facility is arguably one of the most advanced gas production sites in the world, and is also the production site for MATHESON’s most hazardous chemical gases. The New Johnsonville site has a spotless chemical safety record, owing to strict adherence to appropriate production procedures combined with elaborate, and redundant, systems for the control, neutralisation, and abatement of chemical releases.

At New Johnsonville, KGSC representatives received information about MATHESON’s emergency response related training program and US HAZMAT-related legal requirements.

The US visit organized by MATHESON also included visits to facilities operated by a compressed gas container fabricator and ultrasonic testing company (FIBA Technologies), and a cylinder remediation company (SET Environmental).

The series of facility tours afforded the team from KGSC some first-hand opportunities to observe the application of safety protocols, manufacturing procedures, cylinder testing, and cylinder remediation/neutralisation.

After the visit to the US facilities, MATHESON organised a training program for Emergency Response Teams at the KGSC Training Center in Seoul for Korean gas companies and others who handle large quantities of gas cylinders. Kyoung Kyu Kim remains personally involved in developing the Emergency Response Team (ERT) training curriculum for standardized ERT training in Korea.

Says Kim, “I’m proud that the KGSC looked to MATHESON and happy to support the Korean Government’s effort to improve gas and chemical safety throughout Korea.”