New Partnership Offers Safety Benefits

GAWDA partners with CGA for free access to safety standards.

At GAWDA’s Annual Convention in New York City, GAWDA President-Elect Bryan Keen announced a new relationship that will provide GAWDA distributor members with free access to the Compressed Gas Association’s electronic safety standards.

GAWDA’s Executive Director John Ospina (right) and CGA’s President and CEO Michael Tiller

GAWDA’s Executive Director John Ospina (right) and CGA’s President and CEO Michael Tiller announce a new partnership that will bring safety resources to GAWDA members.

Founded in 1913, the CGA’s primary mission is to develop and promote safety standards and practices for the safe manufacture, transportation, storage, transfilling and disposal of industrial and medical gases and their containers. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has accredited CGA as a standards developing organization, and CGA is the recognized leader in the development of gas and equipment standards in North America and around the world, many of which are referenced by regulators at all levels of government.

There are two parts to this new relationship: a co-sponsored award recognizing improvement in safety performance and access to CGA’s library of technical publications.

CGA and GAWDA will co-sponsor a new Safety Improvement Award for GAWDA distributor members. The award will be given every year at the GAWDA Annual Convention, as well as at CGA’s annual meeting, to the distributor with the greatest improvement in safety performance during the previous two years. The award is based upon the total recordable case incidence rates as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Those companies participating in the award program will be given free access to CGA electronic publications. CGA has roughly 300 different publications addressing all aspects of the industrial and medical gases industries. A list of CGA’s publications may be viewed online at www.cganet.com under the tab “Publications.”

“The entire GAWDA Board of Directors is excited that we are able to offer these benefits to GAWDA distributors,” says Bryan Keen. “In addition to the valuable safety information to which our members will now have easy access, the savings we are providing to our member, compared to the cost of purchasing the publications directly, is huge and, in most cases, is in excess of the entire GAWDA dues amount.”

The historical relationship between CGA and GAWDA has been positive but focused primarily as a cooperative relationship for addressing regulatory issues. “This expansion of our relationship to focus on safety, in addition to regulatory concerns, will be a significant value to the industry,” says CGA’s Tiller. “The mission of both CGA and GAWDA is to promote safety, so providing access to CGA publications to the vast distributor network GAWDA represents should reduce the number of injuries and incidents and improve regulatory compliance. Not only are there benefits of improved safety for our employees and customers, but the increased safety of the industry also increases the credibility of CGA and GAWDA when we are working with regulators and legislators.”

How It Will Work
The program will be initiated in First Quarter 2012. GAWDA distributor members will submit their safety data based on OSHA Form 300A directly to CGA. CGA will keep each company’s data completely confidential. “CGA maintains confidential information regarding company revenue levels to compute its annual dues assessments, as well as similar safety information for our members. We take this trustee role very seriously,” states Tiller. “No one, outside of staff persons responsible for calculating the award winners, including members of the Boards of Directors of either organization, will have access to individual company data unless specifically authorized by the company in writing.”

Once a company submits its safety data, it will be eligible to identify one person from each location to have free access to CGA electronic publications. In addition, these individuals will receive CGA member discounts for hard-copy publications and other safety information (videos, Handbook of Compressed Gases, etc.). CGA publication access, including access to printed copies, will be limited to the designated individual at each facility location. Distributor members may purchase access for additional employees for only $100 per year, a fraction of the normal subscription rate.

A large portion of CGA’s funding comes from the sale of publications, and every penny of those sales goes into developing new safety information and updating existing standards. “We trust that GAWDA members will respect the copyrights of CGA documents,” says Tiller.  CGA uses digital rights management software for all of its members, subscribers and individual publication customers. This software locks the downloaded publication to a specific computer solely for the individual subscriber. “Many people don’t realize that CGA is not a government agency and that we do not receive government funding, or they think safety information should be freely available online, but the harsh reality is someone has to fund this work or there will not be safety information in the future. Every year our members contribute tens of millions of dollars worth of resources to maintain our standards, and the funding we seek from subscribers and customers is an essential part of
our budget.”

Tiller hopes this relationship creates additional incentives for companies to become GAWDA members. “GAWDA already provides a great value to its members, and those companies that might not have seen that in the past will certainly see the value with this additional benefit. The more GAWDA members that are focused on safety and regulatory compliance, the safer it will be for all of our employees and customers.”

GAWDA’s Executive Director John Ospina (right) and CGA’s President and CEO Michael Tiller announce a new partnership that will bring safety resources to GAWDA members.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association