The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) today celebrates 100 years of gas safety, after the founding fathers started the association on March 21, 1913.

Just over a century ago it became evident that a national association of compressed gas manufacturers was needed to promote the self-regulation of the industry and from those foundations, the CGA would go on to be born.

The start-up of the CGA came at a difficult time in world events and within years of its formation, during World War I, the then CGMA (Compressed Gas Manufacturers’ Association) worked extensively with the US Government to provide technical expertise on gases and to develop a programme for the expedited return and refill of empty cylinders.

A wealth of breakthroughs and developments would take place throughout the decades that followed, including the reorganization of the association to become the CGA as we know it today, recognisizing the importance of including manufacturers of industrial gas equipment in the membership.

Highlights

The CGA’s first publication was published in 1924, entitled Safe Handling of Compressed Gases. The 1920s would also see the CGMA make proposals for the requirement of labeling of cylinders to promote the clear identification of contents and ownership – the kind of proposals that would still not be out of date today, almost a century later.

Advances in cylinder design and the transport of compressed gases prompted more proposed regulations in the 1930s, while in the 1940s, the association again provided assistance to the US as an expert for the War Department (WWII). Work was also advanced to standardize cylinder valves and cylinder filling practices during this time, critical to war-time operations consistency. As aircraft use increased toward the end of WWII, the association was also instrumental in guiding the development of lighter weight cylinders.

The 1960s brought a new era of regulation and as new regulations were developed, the CGA worked to share information with members and promote understanding of new safety requirements. Around this time its first safety seminar was held, in 1962, and committee activities were expanded to more effectively address regulator inquiries and promote the development of consistent, feasible regulations for the industry.

In more recent years the CGA has undertaken significant efforts to address compressed gas abuse and misuse.

Further, as a new century brought forth advancements in technology, the CGA strove to implement new efficiency measures to improve the membership experience. The association also worked to secure a contract from the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop codes and standards needed for the developing hydrogen infrastructure.

The CGA has also continued to advocate for industrial and medical gas safety with a variety of US and Canadian regulators and achieved another milestone in 2012 for medical gases in the development and adoption by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy of a Model Act for the Wholesale Distribution of Medical Gases. This act, once adopted by state governments, will aid to differentiate medical gases from those drug products typically distributed by pharmacists. 

In 2012, CGA also created a partnership with the Gases and Welding Distributors association in order to provide CGA publications to GAWDA distributor members.