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Obituary Gregor Oberreuter
Originally published:  01/08/2012
Gregor Oberreuter has died suddenly at the age of 59 years. He is survived by his wife and two grown children. Gregor was well known among dangerous goods regulators, having represented Germany at many meetings since joining the Federal Ministry of Transport in 1986.
Over a 26-year career Gregor held a number of positions within the Ministry’s dangerous goods department, for many years focusing mainly on classification issues, including the cross-sectoral harmonisation of classification criteria and labelling under GHS.
Having chaired several international working groups on classification, Gregor moved on to concentrate on the approval, marking and use of receptacles and tanks for the transport of gases. The revision of German legislation following the amendments to RID/ ADR to take account of TPED kept him busy.
A number of Gregor’s recent initiatives remain to be resolved, including the periodical inspection of gas cylinders and the clarification of some issues relating to the type approval of tanks. He chaired two working groups on these topics only weeks before his untimely death.
“Gregor always represented his country to the best of his ability whilst always recognising the greater goal of globally harmonised safety standards,” says Jeff Hart, head of the UK DfT’s Dangerous Goods Division. “He was tremendously respected by his international colleagues for the way in which he was able to alert them to the broader perspective to which specific dangerous goods issues could be related. His depth of knowledge was prodigious and he was always willing to share this with colleagues to work towards solutions to problems. The many expressions of sorrow from colleagues all over the world is testament to the high regard in which Gregor was held.”
As Chairman of the physical hazards IOMC technical focal point, Gregor made a great contribution to the development of the GHS system based on the transport sector’s 50 years of practical experience. The UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS was shocked to learn of Gregor’s death during its July 2012 session and both this Sub-Committee and the Chairman of the Transport Sub-Committee expressed their deep regret and condolences to Gregor’s family.