In its 90th year, Vanda Jones, Executive
Director, The British Compressed Air
Society, looks at the Society's activities
over the past 12 months
2020 marks the 90th anniversary of the
British Compressed Air Society (BCAS).
Throughout these nine decades, the
Society has played a crucial role in
upholding standards and advising its
members about changing legislation and
standards, to ensure compliance and
safety within the industry.
Alongside offering an independent source
of technical advice to ensure that
compressor equipment is energy efficient,
compliant and safe, the Society acts as a
reliable and reassuring voice in the wake
of changing market requirements.
This has been particularly apparent in
recent months, as the Coronavirus
pandemic has challenged the industry to
adapt to new methods of working, under
very difficult economic circumstances.
Throughout this time, BCAS has been
providing advice and support to its
members affected by the downturn,
lobbying Government to ensure the best
outcome during this uncertain time.
Key worker status
Despite the stringent lockdown measures,
much of the manufacturing industry has
continued to operate during the
Coronavirus outbreak, albeit it with a
limited workforce and with reduced
output in some areas.
BCAS recognised that manufacturing
employees must continue to work during
the crisis and was instrumental in gaining
recognition for their importance to the UK
This work has allowed employees to
demonstrate their status as key workers,
which enables them to continue working
while their children attend school. This
includes the installing, commissioning and
maintenance of equipment that is deemed
crucial to critical sectors including public
services, food processing and distribution,
transport and utilities.
Close proximity working
The Society has also issued specific
guidance for those needing to undertake
essential site work, where social distancing
guidelines cannot be adhered to.
Health and scientific professionals have
warned that the pandemic is unlikely to
be a short-term crisis and that Covid-19
could circulate in the human population
for the long-term, possibly causing
periodic epidemics. As further scientific
recommendations have been issued, these
guidelines continue to be adjusted to
ensure the latest advice is followed.
BCAS would always recommend
complying with the social distancing
guidelines. For an essential activity where
social distancing guidelines cannot be
followed, the first steps are to take all
possible mitigating actions to reduce the
risk of the transmission of Covid-19
between those taking part in the activity.
Covid-19 secure workplace course
BCAS has also spent time creating a new
training course for businesses and
employees concerned about safe working
practices during the pandemic.
Delivered via the society’s new online
learning portal, the ‘Working safely during
Covid-19’ course costs just £4.99 per
delegate and details the Government
guidance for maintaining a secure
workplace, issued 18th May 2020.
It covers the key workplace types identified,
including outdoor work, factories and
warehouses, offices, branches and vehicles
and is designed to fulfil the employer’s
requirement to provide information and
training to its employees.
The comprehensive course identifies the
ways in which Covid-19 is spread from
contaminated surfaces or respiratory
droplets and provides some practical
workplace hygiene rules to help minimise
Another key benefit that the Society has
been offering is to advise its members on
interpreting the Government’s furlough
guidance. BCAS had been highlighting
the restrictive nature of some of the
furlough arrangements, explaining how
peaks and troughs in demand for service
provision had made it impractical to
furlough engineers in three-week cycles.
The Society has particularly welcomed the
new scheme arrangements that came into
effect in July, enabling employers to bring
engineers back on a part-time basis to
meet their customers service and
BCAS is key member of the EURIS
Taskforce, an advisory body that examines
the potential impacts of the changing
relationship between the UK and EU for
the UK Government, manufacturers and
The Society is continuing to lobby to avoid a
cliff edge in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario
and is campaigning for a viable customs
arrangement that minimises costs and
delays and to ensure that UK industry
remains involved in the future development
of European regulations and standards.
Building better for the future
Despite these immensely challenging
times, BCAS, like many other
organisations, has used this time as an
opportunity to reflect on and question
some of its own standard procedures. For
example, the Society is looking at options
to run future committee meetings, which
can involve multiple participants from
locations throughout the UK, remotely –
saving travel time and expense.
Its new e-learning platform is also proving
popular with engineers working remotely,
providing valuable training and ensuring
skills are maintained, even when face-to-face
learning is not a viable option.
Tel: 020 7935 2464
90 years of reliability
8 AirUser 2020/21