One of the main functions of the Commission is to make proposals for all new Community legislation. Before it issues an item of draft legislation, the Commission carries out extensive preliminary soundings and discussions with representatives of governments, industry, the trade unions, special interest groups and, where necessary, technical experts.
EIGA has participated in the consultative meetings for the preparation of EC Directives that have or will have an impact on the production, transport or use of industrial and medical gases - e.g. the Seveso Directive, the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED), the transportable Pressure Equipment Directive (TPED), the Pipeline Directive, the Dangerous Preparations Directive, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive, the Food Additives Directive, the Guide to Good Manufacturing Practice for Pharmaceutical Products, etc.
EIGA is invited to participate in the Standing Committees that monitor the compliance with those regulations in the EU member states. EIGA members can contact the EIGA office or the chairman of the relevant EIGA Working Group when encountering problems to comply with European legislation affecting the production, transport or use of gases.
Regional Gases Associations
A key focus area for EIGA is the promotion of harmonisation within the Industrial Gases industry, through co-operation with other Gas Associations. There are three main reasons for this.
- Establishment of consistent world-wide standards for the industry’s activities, in order to realise continuous improvement in the areas of safety and product integrity.
- Presentation of an agreed industry viewpoint in discussion with standardisation and regulatory authorities.
- Avoidance of unnecessary duplication of work, and the potential for inconsistency that this brings.
Maintenance of close and effective working relationships with other major Gas Associations is therefore an important aspect of EIGA’s work.
EIGA has worked closely with the U.S. Compressed Gases Association (CGA) for several years in pursuance of these objectives. A work process has been established whereby all new work items are reviewed prior to commencing work to ensure duplication of effort is avoided, and to determine how liaison is best achieved. In some instances, joint working groups have been established, and the same final document has been issued by both Associations.
Following its formation in July 1999, the Japan Industrial Gas Association (JIGA) has also become involved in the harmonisation initiative by joining the International Harmonisation Council (IHC).
As of 2003, the Asian Industrial Gases Association (AIGA) is also joining in the efforts and the Australian New Zealand Gases Association (ANZIGA) is expected.
National Gases Associations
Where standardisation and regulatory issues are involved, CEN, ISO and UN meetings provide common fora for the harmonisation initiative. Work in these fora is conducted through national delegations, who seek advice from the industry experts in their countries. In order that the Industrial Gas Industry is heard to speak with a single voice, it is therefore important that there is consistency of approach between EIGA and the national industrial gases associations, so that the national delegations do not receive conflicting advice.
In order to promote this consistency, and again avoid unnecessary duplication of work, EIGA holds meetings with representatives of national gas associations to establish how such harmonisation can be achieved, and to ensure that an effective communication and liaison process is maintained.
United Nations (UN) Roster consultative Status GHS
At its Substantive Session in July 2003, the following status was granted to EIGA:
(Non Governmental Organization), which means that EIGA may designate official representatives to the United Nations - to the United Nations Headquarter in New York and the United Nations offices in Geneva and Vienna.
The regular presence of our organization will allow EIGA to participate effectively and fruitfully in this consultative relationship.
The work on the globally harmonised system for classification and labelling of chemicals has produced the first edition of the "Purple book" at the end of 2002. EIGA has actively participated in the work and continues to do so by proposing amendments and additions.
Other Transport Regulating Bodies Bern-Geneva-London UN/ADR-RID-IMO
The transport of gases in Europe is governed by international agreements (ADR, RID, ADN), all harmonised with the United Nations Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNRTDG). The regulating bodies of those agreements and of the UNRTDG meet several times per year in Geneva and Bern.
Since 1976, EIGA has an observer status at those meetings and is now a recognised key player assuming the chair for all matters concerning the transport of gases. Over the years, EIGA has made successful proposals for the fundamental revision of Class 2-Gases in ADR/RID 1997 edition, the restructuring of the provisions for the transport of gases in the restructured ADR/RID 2001 edition and for new provisions for gas receptacles and multiple element gas containers (MEGC's) in the UNRTDG 2001 edition incorporated in the ADR/RID 2003.
EIGA members having difficulties complying with European transport regulations should contact the EIGA office or directly the chairman of the EIGA Working Group Transport.
The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) is the United Nations’ specialised agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. Of interest to the gas industry is the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) code governing the transport of dangerous goods. The code is based on the United Nations Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods and becomes mandatory in 2004.
International Organization for Standardisation Geneva ISO
International Standardisation Bodies ISO
The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 countries, one from each country. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing co-operation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.
EIGA, through its members, is active in various ISO technical committees and their associated working groups which are of particular relevance to industrial gases. Examples are ISO TC 58 (gas cylinders), ISO TC 220 (cryogenic vessels) and TC121 (anaesthetic and respiratory equipment). In addition, EIGA has liaison status with all relevant technical committees and attends their meetings as an observer where appropriate.
Comité Européen de Normalisation - Brussels CEN
The mission of the European Standardisation Council - Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) is to promote voluntary technical harmonisation in Europe in conjunction with worldwide bodies and its partners in Europe. CEN has 22 national members. The standardisation bodies from the countries of EU, EFTA, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Slovakia.
CEN was formally established in 1975. The role of CEN was substantially enhanced after 1983 when it started to develop European Standards with an increase level of commitment. European standards form an essential part of the new approach to European Directives.
Experts from EIGA member companies participate in various CEN technical committees and their associated working groups which are responsible for developing standards applicable to the industrial gaseses industry. Examples are CEN TC 23 (Transportable gas cylinders) and CEN TC 268 (Cryogenic vessels). In addition, EIGA has liaison status with all relevant technical committees, and attend their meetings as an observer where appropriate.
Other Standardisation Bodies BSI - DIN - AFNOR
All countries have their own standards organisation; examples are British Standards Institute (UK), Deutsches Institut für Normung (Germany) and Association Française de Normalisation (France). As well as producing Standards for use in their own countries, these organisations also represent their national positions in the international regulatory forum.
EIGA members are frequently called upon to provide expert advice in the industrial gaseses field to these bodies, both for the development of national standards and for the preparation of input to the international standardisation process. In this regard, the EIGA objective is to ensure consistency of approach at the national and international levels.