Safety First!

Resources for safe operations

In 2013, GAWDA entered its second year in a partnership with the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) that allows GAWDA distributor members to have free access to CGA electronic publications as well as discounts to CGA’s videos and the CGA Handbook of Compressed Gases. Currently, 73 GAWDA member companies have completed the registration requirements for the program, providing access to safety publications to more than 564 locations in the United States and Canada.

Nearly 100 percent of last year’s participants renewed their subscription access, citing CGA publications as a valuable safety resource. One of these, Ned Pontius, president of Norco Inc. and this year’s president of GAWDA, says, “In our specialty gas operations, we use CGA P-19, P-20 and P-23 to categorize specialty gas mixtures and determine their NFPA hazard ratings, flammability and toxic ratings. In other areas of our operations, we have found that in writing our operating procedures, having easy access to the CGA documents makes it convenient to verify we are meeting all industry standards.”

Distributor Safety Awards Program

Over 60 GAWDA distributor members submitted their 2012 safety data to participate in the CGA & GAWDA Distributor Safety Awards program. Due to the large number of participants, the award presentation was divided into two categories based on the total number of employee exposure hours. We extend our congratulations to the 2013 winners: Melo’s Gas and Gear of Bakersfield, California, which won in the “More than 100,000 Employee Exposure Hours” category; and Minneapolis Oxygen Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which took top honors in the “100,000 or Fewer Employee Exposure Hours” category.

Representatives from the winning companies were presented with customized bronze plaques at the 2013 GAWDA Annual Convention. Both companies will also be recognized for their safety improvement at the 2014 CGA Annual Meeting on March 23-27, 2014, in St. Augustine, Florida. The names of all winning companies are permanently displayed on a perpetual awards plaque at the CGA office in Chantilly, Virginia.

Participation Survey

Since the initiation of these programs, CGA has been conducting outreach to eligible companies that are not participating in the free publication subscription and awards programs. Early communications were sent to these companies’ primary GAWDA contact email, many of which are directed to generic company email accounts. In May 2013, a survey was sent to approximately 200 non-participating company contacts in order to determine what was keeping those companies from signing up and whether any changes to the program were needed to encourage participation.

Over 70 percent of respondents indicated that they were not aware of the free publication subscription program, and 90 percent of those indicated they wanted to sign-up. CGA immediately contacted those companies with program information and registration materials, and will continue follow-up efforts to assist with registration. Additional promotional efforts have continued throughout 2013 with presentations at GAWDA Regional Meetings, articles in CGA and GAWDA publications, and recognition at both associations’ annual meetings through the presentation of the Distributor Safety Award. A summary of all survey responses is on the Sidebar.

This program is all about renewing everyone’s focus on safety and recognizing companies that demonstrate the most improvement in terms of personnel safety. Everyone in the industry wins if only one employee avoids injury; every eligible member should sign up for this free program and review the CGA safety standards relevant to your business to ensure that your company is following the industry’s best safety practices.

We encourage all eligible GAWDA members to participate in this free program. As GAWDA DOT, Security, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd says, “I don’t understand why more of our GAWDA members haven’t signed up for this fantastic program. In exchange for giving CGA your accident data that is held in extreme privacy, the member gets to download—for free—any of the CGA pamphlets, a value worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I have been suggesting to all the members I’m in contact with to sign up for this program. It’s a no-brainer.”

If you have any questions regarding the program, please feel free to contact GAWDA staff member Cecilia Barbier at or the Compressed Gas Association at

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
Michael B. Tiller is president and CEO of the Compressed Gas Association, headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, and at