vent
5 September 2017

Taking the Guesswork Out of Gas Detection

You take your place in the driver’s seat, and without much thought your seatbelt is buckled. As you approach a red light, you stop. If you get a at tire, you find a safe place and pull over. When your dash alerts you that your car’s gas level is low, at some point in the very near future, you fill your tank. During torrential downpours or snow storms, you adjust your speed. If your check engine light comes on, you take the car to a mechanic. And if you witness an accident, you call 911. For so many of us, driving is something that we have done for seemingly “forever,” and things that keep us, and in turn others, safe on the road have become habit and instinctive.

Then there are moments when we’re in our car, and questioning the next step could be the difference between life and death. Take that annoying yellow light in the distance, a blatant indicator that you almost made it, but not quite. As you approach, do you make a run for it, or do you slow down? Say you want to make a left turn off a busy road where cars are coming at you from the other direction. Do you have enough time to beat the quickly approaching traffic, or do you exercise patience and wait until all is clear? One scenario we have all talked about at one time or another: when your phone rings or dings while you’re driving, and something tells you that you shouldn’t look at it. Do you listen to the voice of reason, or do you ignore it? If the guy in front of you is driving painfully slow in a no-passing zone, do you put up with your heart beating at a fast pace until the solid line turns to dashes, or do you pass illegally and hope that you make it around him before you encounter another set of headlights? For the most part, we all know what we “should” do, but that isn’t always what we actually follow through on. No one has the time or the patience anymore. We just want to get where we’re going… and we’ll be all right! Some of these situations can be difficult for experienced drivers. Imagine a rookie!

 

The road is a dangerous place

The road is a amams , and safety regulations are many and continuously changing through new laws and the development of new technologies. To keep pace with newly recognised dangers, such as more powerful and faster engines and irresponsible cell phone use, and to address and minimize incidents that have set a precedence for laws and regulations that may not have been necessary in the past, new safety regulations are imposed–and technology quickly follows suit. A similar trend holds true for the workplace and gas detection, and as you drive your instrument, some things are more instinctive than others. What no user can afford to do when it comes to these lifesaving instruments, is to take a guess.

 

Gas detectors for protection

For those who have long worked in an environment that requires the use of gas detectors for protection, carrying the instrument may have become habit, very much like a driver putting on the seatbelt. But simply clipping on a monitor does not keep the user safe. Understanding the power and limitations of a gas detector requires some driver’s ed. Training is critical to ensure the user understands the environmental hazards as well as how to use and maintain the monitor. A monitor that is not properly maintained may be useless during an alarm event. Gas detectors today come equipped with features that not only provide clear information on the instrument status and sensors, but also tell the user how to react when an alarm goes off, taking away any doubt or uncertainty about how to interpret the monitor.

 


 

Easily Maintain Your Instruments

 

Before even turning on the instrument a quick status screen displays the current battery charge, as well as the type of sensors that are installed, promptly letting the user know if the gas detector is ready for the job and con figured with the right sensor combination. Pre-programmed maintenance reminders, such as BUMP DUE or CALIBRATION DUE will pop up automatically on the screen and serve as the check engine light so that you don’t need to guess about the condition of your monitor.

“Instrument inaccuracy due to improper or irregular maintenance and calibration can lead to exposure to hazardous levels of toxic gases or to an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. This exposure can cause workers to suffer serious injuries or illness, and even death. Flammable gas explosions are often catastrophic, resulting in worker injuries and death, or destruction of property.”

Proper maintenance is extremely important, and for users who pair their instruments with a docking station, the message on the instrument can simply be set as DOCK DUE, which automates the process and minimizes or eliminates the need to train workers on bump testing and calibrating.

Proper maintenance is extremely important, and for users who pair their instruments with a docking station, the message on the instrument can simply be set as DOCK DUE, which automates the process and minimizes or eliminates the need to train workers on bump testing and calibrating.

Your vehicle’s dashboard provides a number of reminders, such as the seatbelt light, indicators of low gas level, oil, check engine, low tire pressure and so on. Knowing that a light will come on and easily being able to identify what the issue is, not only provides a sense of reliability, but also makes it easy for the driver to know what action to take next.


 

Make Better Safety Decisions

 

When the monitor is turned on, customisable start-up messages can be used to communicate reminders unrelated to gas hazards, such as WEAR FALL PROTECTION ON CATWALK, which may be habitual for some, yet enforces accountability for others. For new drivers who are not completely familiar with a company’s safety policies, the inclination to just run the yellow light or read the most recent text on their phone in an unsafe environment, may lead to catastrophic results, especially if they are in a hurry to get the job done!

Now say that the screen on the gas detector in use is displaying an atmospheric hazard and the monitor is making a lot of noise. Does every user know at what level a reading means evacuation? Or does the “I need to get my work done” or “I’ll be all right” mentality prevail, and the alarm is ignored or even turned off? Confidence in a well-maintained monitor that has the ability to communicate the correct action is more likely to enforce proper and safe behaviour.

In the Oil and Gas eld it is estimated that one in four technical professionals will retire in the next seven years (published in 2013), a shortage that could become even more severe. Employee ratios between company staff and contractors have risen from about a 1:1 ratio 20 years ago to approximately 1:5 today. Contractors, new employees, and maybe even experienced workers who have been lucky enough not to fen counter a gas alarm, may find themselves trying to decide how to react in an emergency. To further increase the effectiveness of gas

detectors and improve user response, safety managers can set custom alarm action messages such as EVACUATE or VENTILATE to correspond with alarm set points. These messages help users take the appropriate ac

tion in case of an emergency.

Full-screen alarms that use the entire display area for information on the sensor in question provide the user with clear information on what gas is causing the alarm. Screens that display all loaded sensors simultaneously during an alarm event require more interpretation and therefore may lead to longer reaction times.

 

 

 


 

The Right Gas Monitor for the Environment

 

In order for a gas detector to perform its lifesaving duty, it needs to be appropriate for the environment. Can this gas monitor really do what you want and need? What atmospheric hazards are present in your workplace? How many gases do you need to monitor at once? Oxygen, combustible gas, and toxic air contaminants, such as CO and H2S, are the most common sensors in a detector. However there are many different hazards to detect, so knowing your environment is critical.

As a driver, if you know that you will never see a blizzard, snow tires may be overkill. But if you are someone who lives in Florida and drives through the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit family in New York at Christmas time, a four-wheel drive may not be a bad idea. One gas detector with flexible sensor options that can be easily switched out and con figured, and can respond to different toxics or exotics simultaneously, or be used in unique situations eliminates the need to keep up with different environment-specific instruments. This in turn simplifies training, maintenance, and reduces cost of ownership. Put all of this in a small, IP68-rated, easy-to- read and interpret instrument, covered by a Guaranteed for LifeTM warranty, and you have just addressed some of the key issues workers encounter in carrying a gas detector.

 


 

Responding to Non-Gas Hazards

 

As you pull into that left turning lane to cross a busy road into a shopping plaza that boasts a sign of your favorite fast food restaurant, you witness the guy in front of you not quite making that same turn as he gets hit by an oncoming SUV. At this point, your instinct tells you to pick up your phone and dial 911. Environments that require the use of personal gas detection devices, more often than not, present a number of non-gas hazards. In 2014 there were 4,679 deaths in US workplaces, and approximately 90% of those were not related to gas exposure. A gas detector can be used to call for help with a dedicated panic button that can be easily pressed by a user in distress sounding a loud alarm that alerts nearby workers. In case of an accident in which a worker completely loses the ability to move, the man down feature senses the loss of motion, and again sounds a loud alarm to alert others.

 


 

Technology for Easier Tracking

 

So many features are available that address the needs and concerns of the instrument user, and rightfully so. Yet management has the sometimes grueling task of determining the source and details of any possible incidents. As gas monitors become more sophisticated, they are able to store larger amounts of valuable data. While more information is always better than too little information, it’s not always easy to relate data back to what’s going on in the eld. Industrial Scientific’s iAssignTM Technology uses near eld communication (NFC) to assign a user and a location to an instrument, streamlining information and improving asset management.

NFC is a short-range, extremely low-power communications protocol between two devices. In the automotive industry, the NFC market is rapidly emerging, driven by combined forces of NFC-enabled mobile device growth and new automotive service trends such as car sharing, corporate fleet management, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi pairing, and the demand for personalisation inside cars. All of these can potentially make good use of NFC-enabled mobile devices. In a recent interview with HIS (research and analysis rm), the NFC Forum states that it expects to see NFC adoption for multiple automotive uses poised for a breakout of new products and services in 2016-17.

With Industrial Scientific’s Ventis ProTM Series Multi-Gas Monitors and iAssignTM Technology, the operator can wirelessly assign his name and a location simply by tapping a small iAssign tag to the instrument. Once the user and/or site information has been transferred from the iAssign tag to the instrument, all data recorded in the instrument will be tagged with the user and location information. Tagging allows anyone reviewing the data to easily see who had the instrument and where the operator was using it, making the information more actionable.

Even with the development and implementations of new features and technologies in automobiles, drivers may have to continue making judgement calls in certain road and traffic situations. But when it comes to gas detection, guesswork just isn’t an option. Providing workers who are on the front lines with a gas detector that is easy to use and carry, requires little to no interpretation, communicates proper emergency reaction, and ultimately earns the users’ trust and sense of reliability is not only an option, but should be a must. For management, reducing the amount of user training required, being able to streamline data obtained from the instruments, and employing a monitor that is IP68 rated with a Guaranteed for LifeTM warranty, should make the selection process simple, and take the guesswork out of gas detection!

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