Legislation and Standards

One of BCGA’s key objectives is to promote and advise on safe practice which is complaint with UK legislation. We do this in a number of ways:

  • We focus on UK legislation, where its relevant to the gases industry.  We provide Government with access to expert advice and assist in the development of practicable and relevant legislation that applies to both industry and its customers.
  • We participate in the writing of standards. BCGA is an active contributor to standards development at the British Standards Institution (BSI), however, as the gases industry uses standards which are common throughout the world, BCGA actively supports standards-making within Europe, through the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and globally through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • We provide industry best practice publications. These incorporate reference to all relevant UK legislation, standards and many other useful sources of information.


UK Regulations are legal requirements and compliance is mandatory. BCGA meets with many different government departments and regularly contributes to consultations on UK legislation. These include the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Regulations for transportable pressure equipment.

All transportable pressure equipment, such as gas cylinders, used for the transport of gases in the UK are subject to Statutory Regulation and as such have to be designed, manufactured, tested, inspected, marked and labelled accordingly. Gases are classified as dangerous goods. There are common rules for the safe transport of dangerous goods that can be used across many national boundaries. The United Nations Committee of Experts (COE) on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, working with many specialist groups, agree a set of basic rules that are adopted for use across all modes of transport and by national governments. These basic rules are published in the Model Regulations (commonly referred to as the Orange Book).


ISO – International Organization for Standardization

CEN – European Committee for Standardization

ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization

IMO – International Maritime Organization

IMDG – International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

OTIF – Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail

RID – Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail

WP 15 – Working Party on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

ADN – European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways

ADR – Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.

TPED – Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive

TGD – European Directive on the inland Transport of Dangerous Goods

The Model Regulations are given the force of law by incorporating them into the International Regulations for each transport mode. Each set of these Regulations include additional requirements to cover their special circumstances, such as the technical requirements for road vehicles or rules for stowing dangerous goods on ships. The Regulations for each mode of international transport are:

  • Air – ICAO Technical Instructions (TIs)
  • Sea – International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG)
  • Rail – Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID)
  • Road – Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)
  • Inland waters – European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN)

The Secretary of State for Transport, within the Department for Transport (DfT), is responsible for the transport of dangerous goods by all modes of transport within the UK. He brings into force the necessary legislation. For example, ADR and RID are implemented in the UK through the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and the Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations.

Regulations for pressure equipment

There are UK Regulations for (non-transportable) pressure equipment, such as static storage vessels and cylinders for breathing apparatus.

These Regulations include:

  • the Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations, which concern the design, manufacture and conformity assessment of pressure equipment and assemblies of pressure equipment with a maximum allowable pressure above 0.5 bar.
  • The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations, which cover the safe design and use of pressure systems. Their aim is to prevent serious injury from the hazard of stored energy (pressure) as a result of the failure of a pressure system or one of its component parts.
  • The Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations (PUWER), which places duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment.


A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. When standards are specified in a regulation they become a mandatory requirement, but when called up in other documents their use is generally recommended (as determined by the author of the document).

Standards are typically developed by groups of experts working within a technical committee. The technical committees consist of representatives from industry, consumer associations, academia, non-governmental organizations and government.

Standards are developed using a consensus-based approach and comments from a wide range of stakeholders are taken into account. They are widely accepted as representing good or even best practice and Enforcement Agencies, such as the HSE, will expect industry to follow standards or demonstrate that their systems provide at least equivalent safety.

Each country has its own National Standards Body. Within the UK this role is undertaken by the British Standards Institution (BSI). BSI works with its European neighbours and contributes to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to develop and publish European Standards (EN). BSI also works with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) contributing to global standards. CEN may be involved in specific ISO standards where they are jointly developed under the Vienna Agreement.

It is notable that the industrial gases industry consists of many significant companies who work across national borders and, as a consequence, the industry is evolving to use mainly global standards; within the UK these are published by BSI as joint standards in the format BS EN ISO or BS ISO.

Standards development in BCGA

As the lead Trade Association for industrial, medical and food gases, BCGA members are encouraged to, and do, take an active role in the development of standards. BCGA is recognised by BSI as a nominating organization and as being representative of the industrial gases industry.

Information on developing standards, including a Pocket Guide to Standards Development, is available on the BSI website.

BCGA has representatives on many standards committees, including:

  • BSI CII/019, Industrial gases
  • BSI PTI/15, Natural gas and gas analysis
  • BSI PVE/3, Gas containers, and its Sub-Committees and Working Groups
  • BSI PVE/18, Cryogenic vessels
  • BSI WEE/18, Gas welding and cutting operations
  • CEN/TC 23, Transportable gas cylinders, and its Working Groups.
  • ISO/TC 58, Gas cylinders, and its Sub-Committees and Working Groups.
  • ISO/TC 197, Hydrogen technologies, and its Sub-Committees and Working Groups.

If you have a particular interest in standards work and would like to be able to influence some of the major changes that are taking place in our industry as we move further towards the use of global standards, contact the BCGA Office.


Industry best practice publications

Many other technical documents are also in use. As a Trade Association, the BCGA produces its own documents and these provide guidance on industry best practice. They incorporate reference to all relevant UK legislation, standards and many other useful sources of information.

As the gases industry is active globally, BCGA co-operates closely with our international colleagues.  We work alongside many National and International Trade Associations, such as the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), The European Cylinder Makers Association (ECMA) and the American, Compressed Gases Association (CGA), to ensure we are providing consistent best practice information globally.

For BCGA members, compliance with our Codes of Practice is mandatory (as a condition of membership), alongside our range of supporting documentation.

Individual companies produce their own documents and these can identify specific processes and procedures to be followed by that company. These industry documents are not legal requirements but their use may be required by members of the Association or the individual company.


BCGA provide many publications which include advice on managing pressure equipment safely. All BCGA publications are accessible via the Publications page.

General guidance is available for: