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It’s not all bad news

01 September 2008

It’s strange how we hear more bad news than we hear good. Take the oil price as a perfect example. Last April the price of a barrel of oil broke the $100 barrier and the price of crude was relentlessly reported in the media until it reached its peak of $147.27 in July. Media updates on the increases appeared almost hourly and the implications of price hikes were filling the front pages and clogging our Internet browsers.

Paul Gay, Editor
Paul Gay, Editor

But when the price fell back to pre-April levels, newspaper readers had to hunt for the arguably good news of double-digit oil prices. Once the oil price had dropped to more acceptable levels, there was plenty of far worse news to report so the prospect of cheaper energy was largely left unreported. More cynical observers were not surprised to find that the good news was left untold as a convoy of hurricanes and storms were moving through the Caribbean, devastating large areas on their journey to the American South. Daily reports of youth gang violence and terrorist threats add to the overall gloom, which is far easier to report than good news.

At HazardEx, we understand the importance of reporting as much relevant news as possible, both good and bad. Newspapers and magazines are constrained by their physical size and their mode of delivery. However, it is important that our readers have all relevant information, whether it be good or bad news, at their fingertips. To satisfy this need and to give valuable support to our magazines and newsletters, HazardEx has re-launched its website with daily updated news, views, features and comments on the hazardous area sector.

In the current economic conditions with fears of economic slowdown and impending world recession, the process and manufacturing industries are under considerable pressure to improve efficiency and cut operating costs by reducing materials and energy usage. Sounds easy enough, although history tells us that one of the first cuts to be made can be safety related.

Cutting corners in procedure and pruning maintenance schedules can save quick money but at what cost. To make the right decisions about cuts, plant operators and planners need up-to-date information about their sector, especially if this happens to be a hazardous area. And here’s where the HazardEx website comes in.

Keeping safety professionals in the manufacturing industries up-to-date with the standards and legislation that affect the process equipment in their care is key to the continuing safety and security of plant and personnel. The new look website gives you everything the journals it supports can give you plus much more. Without the constraints of space and delivery times, the HazardEx website, at, will publish more specialist information with the immediacy of the Internet. Naturally, we will continue to publish our two paper editions – HazardEx the journal and Hazardous area International – to our registered readers in the UK and internationally.

Just in case you’d thought there was not sufficient space for good news in our paper products, please read on. The Standards Update section details an interesting change in the way Ex products are marked following certification. The new requirements introduce equipment protection levels and should make life easier for engineers specifying, installing and maintaining hazardous area equipment. The manufacturers are getting to grips with IEC 60079-0:2007 even though it has not yet appeared in its EN version. This means that purchasers and users of equipment, which include Equipment Protection Levels (EPLs) will be seeing a change in which their equipment is marked. A change in standards making life easier for equipment users must be considered very good news.

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