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What Are The Safety Protocols In Gas Detection And Monitoring

January 24, 2024
Gas Detection Safety

Confined spaces are dangerous and uncomfortable enough without the presence of hazardous gas. Many dangerous gases can’t be detected using one’s own senses. Without proper gas detection and monitoring safety, narrow and cramped environments put your crew at risk. 

In many lines of work, entering confined spaces is part of the job description whether you’re a septic tank servicer, sewerage or stormwater labourer or confined space responder. Sometimes the call of duty can take you into underground pipes, chemical storage tanks and grease traps. In constricted environments, you have to be on your guard for hazards like sewer gas, methane in mines, and toxic fumes from welding.

With many gases hard to detect without the proper equipment, it takes more than sharp senses to mitigate the risks of gas detection in confined spaces. Measures such as a gas risk assessment, the right detection equipment, and an emergency response plan can help ensure gas detection and monitoring safety on your site.

The NSW Resources Regulator states that all mines, quarries and petroleum sites are required to develop health control plans and monitor the exposure of their workers to hazards. In the mining sector, for example, the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation Act 2022 states that a mining operator has to provide gas detection equipment throughout the mine at strategic locations.

In order to protect your workers and measure up to safety standards, it’s vital to work with a professional who can enhance your worksite’s gas detection and monitoring safety approach.

Why Gas Detection Protocols are Important

Without gas detection and monitoring equipment, it can be difficult to detect even dangerous gases like carbon monoxide. These stealthy gases often can’t be smelt, tasted or seen, allowing them to slip right under the radar of you and your staff. 

Gas is acutely dangerous in confined spaces. In the blink of an eye, hazardous gas can fill up a confined space leaving no air to breathe and causing death. Not only is lack of oxygen already a problem, but gas can also cause an explosion if it comes into contact with an ignition source.

Prevention is the best approach to the risks of gas detection in confined spaces. Measures as simple as gas risk assessments play significant roles in ensuring the health and safety of workers, preventing accidents and incidents and complying with standards.

Risks Associated With Gas Detection and Monitoring

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Proper gas detection and monitoring safety is important to help deal with the following risks:

Toxic gases

Poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide are common dangers in confined spaces. Inhaling high concentrations can cause immediate loss of consciousness and death. Gases that can’t be smelt are the most insidious, as it’s impossible to detect them without the right kind of device.

Oxygen deficiency

In a confined space, your oxygen levels are already limited. Gases can displace oxygen and lead to a shortage of it, with results that range from dizziness to loss of consciousness to death.


Gases in confined spaces can create an atmosphere that’s potentially flammable or explosive. An ignition spark or source can cause a fire or explosion. When it’s your life on the line, proper gas detection and monitoring safety is crucial.

How Risk Is Minimised with Gas Detection

Managing the risks of gas detection in confined spaces involves implementing the following measures, among others:

Conducting a gas risk assessment

A gas risk assessment involves assessing potential workplace hazards in regard to your confined spaces and toxic gases. The assessment takes into account the severity of the risk, the likelihood of an accident and what kind of measures are being put in place. From there, a plan to reduce the risks and respond in case of an accident can be established.

Managing the confined space

There are a range of monitors and testers that can be used for gas detection and monitoring safety. Managing the confined space involves opening and freeing gas from the atmosphere of the confined space before allowing workers to access the area.

Confined space standby officers

While a worker is in a confined space, trained officers can stand by, monitoring the worker and the area and making sure there are no issues. A standby office trained in the process outlined in the rescue plan is able to step in in case of an emergency.


An important element of preventing the risks of gas detection in confined spaces is the right kind of documentation and training. Before your staff can enter a confined space, it’s important to get documentation such as isolation forms, confined space entry permits, risk assessments, rescue plans and safe work statements. These documents provide authorisation for entering confined spaces and help ensure effective communication with first response teams.


Before you enter a confined space, it’s essential to have the right tools at your disposal. Safety equipment like tripods, full arrest, breathing apparatuses, radio communicators and harnesses physically protect workers as well as make it easier to facilitate rescue in case of an incident.

What Happens if an Incident Occurs?

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If an incident occurs involving gas leaking into a confined space, it’s a dangerous situation that doesn’t take long to turn potentially fatal. Oxygen displacement, poisoning, fires, explosions, entrapment and engulfment can occur extremely quickly. The response from emergency services has to be even quicker, and proper incident response protocols and training play a large part in guaranteeing gas detection and monitoring safety.

Ensuring safety when working with gas in confined spaces requires having a highly trained, competent emergency response team on standby for a quick response. Emergency incidents are life-threatening and can also cause damage to the equipment and building. Prevention is the best approach, but when accidents happen, a fast and competent response is essential. SSTC’s highly certified emergency response teams can address a range of emergencies and incidents, including gas leaks, confined space emergencies, toxic hazards, fires and floods. Our multi-faceted approach includes prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Gas Detection and Monitoring at SSTC

Working in a confined space is dangerous enough. SSTC can minimise the risk and take the stress out of it as much as possible with our confined space management service. From start to finish, we can assist with every stage of your confined space monitoring process, from sourcing the right permits and documentation to preparing an emergency response team.

Our confined space standby officers are trained in first aid and have the skills and tools to provide gas detection and monitoring. We can detect gases in confined spaces and keep watch over the safety of the workers while also being ready to spring into action at any signs of trouble.

For gas detection and monitoring, we use several pieces of gas testing equipment, including four or five gas monitors. Our five gas monitors are able to detect over 100 VC gases.

Trusted by some of Australia’s biggest construction companies, the SSTC has a strong track record for safety standards as well as 25 years of combined experience.

For first-class gas detection and monitoring safety at your worksite that won’t compromise safety, contact SSTC for a free quote.

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