“THIS IS THE FEDERATION OF EUROPEAN EXPLOSIVES MANUFACTURERS”
The objective of the Federation shall be the advancement of the commercial explosives industry in the widest sense with particular regard to safety, quality, security and legal concerns.
The Federation is voluntary and is not organised for pecuniary profit.
The Federation provides a forum for debating questions, problems, facts and topics arising prior to and during manufacture, storage, transport and use and disposal of civil explosives.
The Federation takes any action necessary for the attainment of its principal objectives and in particular to acquire the facilities necessary to carry on its activity.
The Federation has determined that the most effective way of pursuing the above objectives is through association with CEFIC (Conseil Europeen de L’Industrie Chimique – European Chemical Industry Council).
Nearly 700.000 tonnes of explosives and 100.000.000 detonators are being manufactured in Europe. From these volumes approximately 600.000 tons of explosives and 60.000.000 electric, non-electric and electronic detonators are detonated every year in EU-Europe (Norway and Switzerland included) for civil purposes. Almost all of these explosives are manufactured, transported, stored and used without causing any major incident or alarm to the general public. It is certainly true that, from time to time, accidents occur with civil explosives in which the general public are involved, but this happens at very infrequent intervals and the safety record of the explosives industry is considerably higher than almost any other industry of a similar nature.
Having said that, however, the public perception of explosives is still seriously tainted by the use of high explosives and military propellants in modern warfare and the “merchants of death” syndrome still persists.
This is in spite of the fact that, without the use of high explosives for civil purposes, it is difficult to see how civilisation could have advanced to such a state as it has done today. The general public seem to be unaware that explosives enable the production of aggregate for road building, for concrete: they enable the production of limestone for the manufacture of cement: they enable the production of gypsum for the manufacture of plaster, and almost all other minerals are extracted with the use of civil explosives.
Their use as a tool for the modern mining and civil engineer goes largely unheralded and unsung.
As a result of this, explosives companies have also tended to adopt a “low profile image” and, in spite of an often-stated dedication to overall safety, have frequently suffered at the hands of over-zealous legislators.
When Alfred Nobel first invented dynamite he ensured that his invention was exploited in every country in Europe (some of them still today use the Nobel name) and, as might be expected, each Nation State in Europe developed its own legislative programme.
The formation of the European Economic Community under the Treaty of Rome required that, as far as possible, the National Regulations that affect trade between Member States should be harmonised to a common base. On 5 April 1993 Council Directive 93/15/EEC on the harmonization of the provisions relating to the placing on the market, conformity assessment procedures and supervision of explosives for civil uses became European and National legislation. Other important European Directives regulating explosives followed such as Directive 2008/43/EC of 4 April 2008 setting up a system for the identification and traceability of explosives for civil uses, i.e. the Track & Trace Directive which requires that every explosive product must bear a unique identification which can be traced over a period of 10 years.
This task was mandated from the European Parliament to the European Commission, who sought expert advice, not from the industry itself but from the national legislative bodies. Thus, in the early stages of European legislation which affected the explosives business, industry had little or no say in the matters concerning them.
It was for this reason that a meeting of major European manufacturers was called and held in Amsterdam on the 11th September 1975, at which it was formally proposed that the Federation of European Explosives Manufacturers (FEEM) be formed as a Sector Group of the European Council of Chemical Manufacturers Federation (CEFIC), and Articles of Constitution to this effect be drawn up.
The objectives of the Federation are embodied in the Articles of the Constitution.
“The object of the Federation is the advancement of matters aiding the improvement and development in methods of manufacture of explosives to the benefit of its members: To improve the safety and security and working conditions of the manufacturer of explosives: To improve the safety and security of explosives during transport, handling, storage and use: In addition, FEEM undertakes to maintain high quality standards in its products and to advance the welfare and standing of the explosives industry.”
The prime function of the Federation is to ensure proper and adequate representation of the European explosives industry with both International and National regulating bodies and at conferences where matters concerning the regulation of this trade are discussed. The purpose of this representation is to ensure that these bodies are fully and properly advised on the expert opinion within the industry, and that due consideration is given to the effect that any proposed recommendation or regulation may have on the conduct of the trade.
FEEM recognises that “self-regulation” is the most effective method of ensuring proper order within the industry.
The proper provision of such internal discipline is effective not only in reducing the practical hazards involved but also in displaying to any legislative authorities the model on which legislation should be based.
To this end the Federation has formed a series of Working Groups in specialist areas of the explosives industry and these produce Codes of Good Practice and Technical Bulletins to which all members of FEEM aspire.
The Working Groups concerned are;
- The Blasting Practice Working Group
- The Health and Safety of Operators in Manufacture Working Group
- Safety in Transport and Storage Working Group
- Security Working Group (ad hoc)
- Track & Trace IT Experts Working Group (ad hoc)
- Lead Azide Working Group / REACH (ad hoc)
At the time of writing, some 40 Codes of Good Practice, Technical Guidance Notes and other Technical Recommendations have been issued and these Documents are accepted by industry and by National Authorities alike as authoritative expert opinion on minimum standards within the industry.
There are two types of full membership:
a) Individual Company members or Associated Companies of Multinational Groups where the main shareholder holds 50% or less of the shares are considered as Category A members
b) Group members such as Multinational Holding Companies, acting on behalf of any subsidiaries in which they hold a shareholding in excess of 50% are considered as Category B members.
The affairs of the Federation are conducted by an Executive Committee consisting of a minimum of 7 members elected to that position by the Annual General Meeting. The Executive Committee meets three times a year.
The Executive Committee consists of:
5 Executive Members
In 2015 the Executive Committee members are:
PRESIDENT: BERTRAND POUGNY (EPC GROUP)
VICE PRESIDENT: ULF SJÖBLOM (FORCIT GROUP)
PAST PRESIDENT: DANIELLE ANTILLE (SSE GROUP)
MEMBERS: GIANNI FACCHINETTI (PRAVISANI)
OTTA GREBEN (AUSTIN DETONATORS)
JEFF COURTS (ORICA Group)
VICENTE HUELAMO (MAXAM Group)
In addition, they are served by: Secretary General (At present Hans Meyer)
Basically, the Executive Committee decide policy and this is executed by the Secretary General.
It was previously indicated that the core work of FEEM is to produce Codes of Good Practice. This work is undertaken by the Working Groups who draw on the expertise of each of the member companies in the specialist areas of Blasting Practice, Transport, Safety in Operations, and Occupational Hygiene. The working groups meet twice a year.
LIST OF MEMBERS (as at 2015)
14 INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES
- EURENCO, Sweden
- Explosia, Czech Rep.
- DAVEY BICKFORD, FRANCE
- DYNAENERGETICS, GERMANY
- EURENCO, SWEDEN
- YARA, FINLAND
- KIMIT AB, SWEDEN
- NITROERG SA, POLAND
- MSW CHEMIE, GERMANY
- POUDRERIE D’AUBONNE, SWITZERLAND
- PRAVISANI SPA, ITALY
- SPREWA, GERMANY
- TITANOBEL, FRANCE
- Weatherford, Romania
6 MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES
- AUSTIN POWDER
- EXPLOSIFS ET PRODUITS CHIMIQUES GROUPE
- ORICA GROUP
- MAXAM GROUP
- SSE GROUP
- OY FORCIT GROUP
E.A.S.S.P. (The European Association for the Study of Safety Problems in the Production and Use of Propellant Powders, Switzerland)
INSTITUTE OF MAKERS OF EXPLOSIVES USA