The location of fixed detector heads is determined by where they will detect gas leaks most quickly. This often means that they are located at height, in ducts, under walkway and other inaccessible places. Ladders may be required to read any display on the detector head. However, if you use a gas detector with a remote display, this fall hazard can be removed. The display can be located closer to the ground, where it is convenient to read, while the detector is still in the best place to detect the gas.
A hazard related to the maintenance of fixed detectors is associated with calibration. In order to calibrate a sensor, which should happen every 6 month as a minimum, gas must be passed over the sensor. This means the gas must be taken to the detector head. For the most dangerous gases, this is hazardous in itself. The inaccessible nature of the sensors then compounds the danger. The latest gas detector technology uses hot-swappable sensors. These can be quickly and easily removed from the detector head without opening the detector. This allows the sensor calibration to be conducted in a safe environment away from fall hazards and where the gas can be used safely. Then, the newly recalibrated sensor is simply inserted back into the detector.
Another instance of introducing other hazards that can be easily avoided is use of temporary area monitors connected by cables. Temporary monitors provide a number of advantages while carrying out a repair. They allow for quick deployment while maintaining high level of protection for workers, during maintenance, shutdowns or turnarounds; providing fence line or ring live monitoring . Connected by wires, they can pose a significant trip hazard; connected wirelessly, this accident waiting to happen is removed.
Gas detectors play a vital function in keeping you safe. No-one is suggesting that you consider, for example, not using a temporary area monitor because it is connected by cables rather than being wireless. However, when the technology is now available to both protect you from gas hazards and reduce you risks of other accidents, it does seem a sin not to be using it.
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Detecting gas, saving lives