International Harmonization Council – August 2019 Update

October 4, 2019

The International Harmonization Council (IHC) consists of a group of industry associations that work cooperatively to manage the global harmonization of industry standards. The IHC maintains a portfolio of more than 55 harmonized standards, and is actively working to develop 15 new projects and revise 22 existing projects.

August 2019 Meeting Report

The IHC held its 45th meeting on August 20 – 21, 2019 in Montréal, Québec. The meeting included representatives from the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), and the Japan Industrial and Medical Gases Association (JIMGA), as well as representatives from Air Liquide Canada Inc.; Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; and Linde.

The IHC welcomed Jan Strybol, EIGA’s incoming Deputy General Secretary, and recognized outgoing EIGA Deputy General Secretary Andrew Webb for his significant contributions to the success of the harmonization program.

In addition to the harmonization project workload, participants discussed several critical issues:

Work Process Improvements

The IHC continues to focus on improving the efficiency of harmonization efforts and reducing project timelines. Project data indicates that these efforts have had a positive impact, resulting in a 41% reduction in the time that member resources are actively applied to a project. At this meeting, a proposal was developed for an expedited IOMA (International Oxygen Manufacturers Association) Global Committee approval process for new projects, which would facilitate a timely response to industry priorities. The IHC continues to monitor project data to identify opportunities for continuous improvement of the work process.

Strategic Plan for External Standards Development

Representatives from CGA and EIGA presented a strategic plan for IHC Associations’ involvement in external standards activities. The plan prioritizes the identification and prioritization of external standards participation opportunities, the coordination of industry representatives in external standards development projects, and the assessment of potential threats to the industry’s ability to self-regulate. The members of the IHC supported the plan and will develop a chart showing the specific standards organizations and/or work efforts as related to the amount of resources required to support the work and the impact to member businesses.

Harmonization of Sustainability Metrics

At the request of the IOMA Global Committee, representatives from CGA and EIGA have been conducting inquiries into member companies’ support for the development of a globally harmonized set of metrics related to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Rich Gottwald and Philippe Cornille have contacted sustainability personnel from member companies and will work with them to develop a final recommendation which will be presented to the IOMA Global Committee at their November 2019 meeting.

Interactive Training Tour

After the working meeting, attendees had the opportunity to visit CM Labs, a developer of simulators and interactive training software for a wide range of industrial applications.

Training and education have become an increasing priority for all IHC Associations as the industry seeks to facilitate knowledge transfer to the next generation of professionals. This tour offered a unique glimpse into cutting edge technology, with demonstrations of several virtual and augmented reality training products.

Next IHC Meeting

The IHC will hold its next meeting on February 25 – 26, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan.