It’s been a busy morning of progressive thinking and presentations at the BCGA 2012 Conference, with a number of structural and technical developments revealed.

More than 140 delegates have attended the event – a figure that almost matches last year’s record attendance – and it’s clearly been another year of enterprise for the BCGA (British Compressed Gases Association).

Opening the conference, current President Mike Galvin (GCE) took a few moments to look back on the association’s developments in the past year before setting the tone for the rest of the event – forward thinking.

He explained, “Welcome again everyone to the beautiful Oulton Hall, it’s a good day and it’s great to see so many people here. We’re at a record level again in terms of attendance and it’s great to see during what is still a difficult [economic] time.”

“The BCGA has managed to come through this difficult time itself, and very well in fact, with another sound financial year behind us and some notable new members.”

Gasworld understands that the BCGA currently has 72 members and notable new additions to that list include Wincanton and Bristol-based refrigerants supplier A-Gas.

Galvin proceeded to reflect on the departures of renowned BCGA stalwarts such as John Carver, Wayne Pepper and of course, former technical secretary Steve Elliott. Former president Matthias Kuhn’s imminent departure to mainland Europe was also cited.

“We will do some tweaking to the surveys rather than wholesale change and we have a platform to move forward. We’ve set the objectives of the BCGA going forward, based on this quality feedback”

Mike Galvin, President of BCGA

But this was a time to look forward and Galvin spoke of the association’s objectives going forward. “Last year we underwent a strategy review, including an independent membership survey,” he explained.

Of 150 surveys, a 39% response rate was received and five key principles were established in terms of what is felt should be important to the BCGA:

1.       Quality of information provided

2.       Expertise of the BCGA

3.       Technical Support [of BCGA]

4.       Helpfulness and availability of the BCGA

5.       BCGA to be recognised as a source of quality companies/members

“Going forward,” Galvin projected, “we will do some tweaking to the surveys rather than wholesale change and we have a platform to move forward. We’ve set the objectives of the BCGA going forward, based on this quality feedback.”

That forward thinking was reinforced with the introduction of Jake Lake with the day’s first presentation, Lake taking to the stage six months into the role of Technical Manager after the retirement of the aforementioned Steve Elliott.

A number of informative and insightful presentations followed, covering welding fumes and respiratory safety, ongoing health and safety (HASAG) developments and responsibilities, carbon schemes that affect the UK gases industry, diving gases, and the UK LPG scene.

It was also interesting to note that Air Liquide UK Managing Director Sylvie Villiepontoux (soon to assume the role of BCGA President, following the association’s AGM next month) presided over Session Two this morning, while the BCGA expressed its thanks to gasworld for so strongly supporting the work of the association – and safety as a whole.

Full review to follow, later today at www.gasworld.com