Steve Corner of BOC Gases and chair of the BCGA’s Health and Safety Advisory Group (HASAG), has joined the Health and Safety Executive’s Hospitality Industry Liaison Forum (HILF), with a remit to raise awareness of the dangers of illicit suppliers providing cylinders and gases.
The move comes as the BCGA continues to raise concerns that injuries are occurring due to the activities of unscrupulous operators.
Mr Corner said: “There has been a history of rogue trader safety incidents, causing serious injury and fatalities and we are very pleased to have the HSE and the HILF join our efforts to improve the position.
“We want to raise awareness of the illicit operators and gas fillers who exist in and around the sector and represent a major safety and quality concern.
“The supply of beverage gas from rogue traders can result in serious injuries and even death caused by the rupture of cylinders
“Another problem is illicit gas fillers, who carry out dangerous activities using stolen cylinders which are often out of test date, rusted, dented, counterfeit stamp marked, and with inadequate and illegal food-grade credentials.
“They also interfere with, or remove, Residual Pressure Valves (RPV’s) which are there to help protect the cylinder from moisture ingress and from internal rusting.
“Instead of food-grade gases, we’ve seen welding gases, compressed air and even propane supplied.
“The BCGA’s aims are to ensure that regulators associated with the beverage industry have the best available advice and guidance and that gas safety is maintained as a topical focus area for regulators.”
The Hospitality Industry Liaison Forum (HILF) brings together regulator and representatives from all aspects of the hospitality industry aiming to improve health and safety outcomes across the industry through a collaborative approach.
The new appointment aligns with the BCGA’s commitment to increase awareness of compressed gases, share industry best practice and drive forward safety standards.
Members of the trade association operate in a highly-regulated industry and work together on technical, safety, health and environmental issues to achieve high standards of integrity and environmental care, both within their own and customers’ working environments.
Doug Thornton, Chief Executive of the BCGA, added: “We are aware that rogue traders are stealing cylinders and filling them with non-food grade gases.
“For the sake of safety and reputation, drinks dispense gases should always be purchased from a reputable supplier.
“These cylinders may be cheaper than those supplied by reputable suppliers, but our advice is that they should be avoided.
“It’s a false economy, which could prove fatal.
“The cylinders may not be correctly checked and tested and could present life-threatening hazards if they’re heavily corroded inside.
“Poor quality gas will also spoil the taste of beers, lagers and soft drinks, which will ultimately mean dissatisfied customers.”
The BCGA has developed a range of information to help get its safety message across in the hospitality sector, all of which can be downloaded for free from the Association’s website www.bcga.co.uk
This includes L10, ‘Profit Through Quality – Good Gas Good Business’ prepared in conjunction with the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers Association (BFBi), which offers essential safety advice for all publicans.
Supporting the L10 leaflet, the group has also recently created a wall poster intended to be displayed in pub cellars, entitled ‘Good Gas – Good Business.’ This poster and the L10 leaflet are part of a long-standing partnership between all three organisations to drive safety standards across the industry.
As well as highlighting the problems associated with rogue traders, The ‘Good Gas – Good Business’ poster also addresses the use of gas in confined spaces such as cellars – and the importance of using correctly installed and maintained gas equipment. It can be found in the BCGA website’s dedicated beverage industry area at http://www.bcga.co.uk/pages/index.cfm?page_id=84&title=beverage_gases
The BBPA also include details of gas safety at http://www.beerandpub.com/industry-briefings/gas-safety-in-the-hospitality-industry?from_search=1 and the BFBi includes relevant information on its home page at http://www.bfbi.org.uk/