The SACGA has grown over the past two years to reach 23 members represented by major gas companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors, pipeline installers and cylinder revalidators. The Association has a mission statement specifically related to promoting safety in the industry and has direct affiliations with BCGA, CGA and EIGA.

The current Chairman is Barry Little, Technical Manager of Air Products (South Africa) but the Chair is rotated on a 2-yearly basis between the three major gas companies in South Africa, Afrox (BOC), Air Products and Air Liquide. The Vice-Chairperson, Laurie Raison of Air Liquide, will succeed Barry Little in June this year. Albert Spencer was for a number of years the General Secretary of SACGA but has reverted to Technical Advisor in the past 2 years.

SACGA's membership presently only represents companies in South Africa but there are plans to enrol members from other SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) countries in the near future.

SACGA is represented on all technical committees of the South African Bureau of Standards covering all aspects of medical and industrial gases. The board of SACGA meets 4 times a year and an AGM is held
in June.

Global associations
In order to assist in the global harmonisation of standards instigated by IOMA, SACGA has organised its working groups to mirror those of EIGA. The one exception at present is that SACGA has a working group covering personnel training which EIGA does not currently possess.

Further co-operation can be seen in that the BCGA TIS12 Document on handling of gas cylinders and warehousing of cylinders has been adopted in South Africa. The gas industry also uses similar specifications for industrial, medical, propellant, refrigeration, food and breathing gases as in Europe. However, diving gases use recognised international standards.

Colour coding of cylinders in the region is based on the old British system for industrial gases and SANS 10006 for medical gases. The industrial gas industry in South Africa is classified within the overall framework of the chemical industry and all personnel training is governed by the Chemical Industries Education and
Training Authority (CHIETA).

Events & conferences
Upcoming events that the SACGA are attending include the ISOTC58 meeting in Paris at the end of February. This has been organised by Afnor and is a sub-committee meeting on cylinders.

This is followed by another plenary session of TC58 (the main technical committee) on the 26th March in Washington DC. This event is held every 2 years.

The SACGA will also be present at the EIGA Annual Association meeting which will be held in Madrid on 16/17 April. This will be immediately followed by the BCGA event in Leeds on 19th April.

The SACGA is therefore very much involved in the international raising of standards across a broad spectrum of equipment and regulations.

The Association is presently designing a web site that will be fully operational by the end of March 2007. In the meantime further information can be found by e-mail: sacgass@iafrica.com