Regulations and Standards

One of BCGA’s main objectives is to promote and advise on safe practice, participate in standards-making, provide departments of Government with access to expert advice and to assist in the preparation of practicable and relevant legislation that applies to the industry and its customers.

These objectives are focused on UK legislation and standards, but BCGA also actively supports standards-making within Europe, through the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and globally through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).


All 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. To provide a set of 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).


ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization
IMO – International Maritime Organization
IMDG – International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
OCTI – Central Office for International Carriage by Rail
ISO – International Organization for Standardization
CEN – European Committee for Standardization
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

The Model Regulations are given the force of law by incorporating them into the International Regulations for each transport mode. Each set of 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 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, and to which gas cylinders must conform.

UK Regulations are legal requirements and compliance with the regulations is mandatory.

While the above legislation covers pressure equipment used in transport applications, separate Regulations cover non-transport use such as static storage and cylinders for breathing apparatus.These Regulations include the Pressure Equipment (Safety) RegulationsBCGA CP 39In-service requirements of pressure equipment (gas storage and gas distribution systems), provides useful advice for looking after pressure equipment in service.

BCGA meets with many different government departments and regularly contributes to consultations on UK legislation. These include the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


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 (but this will be 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 (NGOs) and government. These experts negotiate all aspects of the standard, including its scope, key definitions and content. 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 (ENs). 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.

BCGA co-operate closely with international gases organisations. 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 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 the following committees:

  • BSI CII/019, Industrial gases
  • BSI PTI/15, Natural gas and gas analysis
  • BSI PVE/3, Gas containers
  • BSI PVE/3/1, Gas container valves
  • BSI PVE/3/3, Gas container, design, construction & testing
  • BSI PVE/3/7, Gas cylinder, operations
  • BSI PVE/3/8, Hydrogen technologies
  • BSI PVE/018, 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 documents

Other technical documents may also be used. For example, as a Trade Association, the BCGA produces its own documents and these provide guidance on industry best practice. BCGA works alongside international Trade Associations, such as the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) and the American, Compressed Gases Association (CGA), to ensure we are providing consistent best practice information globally. Individual companies produce their own documents and these can identify specific processes and procedures to be followed by that company. These documents are not legal requirements but their use may be mandatory to members of the association or the individual company.