Industrial sites, with their range of diverse and complex processes, can be environments that host any number of hazards and potential dangers. While Australian businesses need to adhere to WHS and compliance rules and regulations to provide a safe workplace, this doesn’t guarantee that incidents and emergencies won’t occur.
Many industrial operations will have hazardous substances and materials in the area, such as chemicals and other toxic substances, as well as machinery, equipment and vehicles. Gases, whether occurring naturally or in tanks of gas used in industrial processes, can also be an area of concern.
To ensure the atmosphere of the work site, particularly in areas of confined space or indoor locations, is safe for workers and site visitors alike, gas monitoring services are essential. Gas detection services will detect harmful and noxious gases early and alert everyone to a potential leak, as well as be used to determine if a confined space is safe for a worker to enter.
As gas monitoring services can play such an important role in workplace safety on industrial sites, let’s take a deeper dive into this vital field of industrial services.
Gas monitoring involves the continuous and systematic monitoring and assessment of gas concentrations in the air. The object is to detect any potential leaks, spills, or dangerous levels of toxic, flammable and combustible gases. This is carried out by a trained team using a series of different gas monitors that can detect over 100 VOC gases, or ‘volatile organic compound’ gases.
Gas detection services are most commonly used for testing and monitoring the atmosphere of a variety of confined space environments. Confined spaces might be inside a tank, a pipe, underground sewer systems, void spaces, shipboard spaces and so on. In this instance, a standby officer will use gas monitors to first test the atmosphere inside a confined space to determine if it’s breathable and safe to enter.
Once a worker is given the all clear and does enter the confined space, the standby office will continue to monitor the air for the duration, just in case anything changes.
Ultimately, the primary objective of gas detection services is to ensure the safety of workers and site visitors, prevent potential incidents and protect the environment from the harmful effects of gas leaks or emissions. Therefore, gas monitoring services are essential on most industrial sites.
Gases such as carbon monoxide can be very hard to detect without specialised gas monitors. In fact, it’s the gases that are often the most hazardous that cannot be detected by the human senses of smell, sight and taste. Therefore, the only effective and accurate way to detect if certain gases are present is with specialised gas detection equipment. This is the case with carbon monoxide and numerous other toxic and dangerous gases.
So, how do gas monitors and gas monitoring services work?
There are a variety of different gas detection monitors used to detect a variety of different gases. For instance, an electrochemical monitor is most commonly used to detect harmful gases like carbon monoxide. This device works by sensing electrodes in the air. If the presence of carbon monoxide is detected, the device sends an electric current to sound an alert.
A very handy piece of gas monitoring equipment is the MSA Altair 5X Multigas Detector. This detector and monitor can keep tabs on six different gases simultaneously. This can be extended with the addition of more sensors that can detect exotic gases. The device uses an array of infrared sensors to detect the presence of certain gases and their levels of concentration. Most importantly, there are a number of alarm features built in, such as an audible alarm greater than 95 decibels, a visual alarm with two bright LED lights, a vibration alarm and a motion sensor.
Both four-gas and five-gas monitors are commonly used, depending on what type of materials are present in the area or what types of materials or gases have been present in the past. For effective gas monitoring services, the use of quality gas detection equipment is absolutely essential.
Aside from equipment, a professional gas detection services team has a number of key responsibilities. Standby officers testing the atmosphere of a confined space was mentioned in an earlier section, along with the continual monitoring of both the air quality and the worker whilst an employee is inside the confined space completing a task. The standby officer is required to remain in place and not start any other duties until the worker has finished and exited the confined space. The officer will even wear the same protection as those working within the confined space. Standby officers are highly trained professionals who are very astute when it comes to gas detection and monitoring, as well as communicating with the confined space rescue team.
Due to the potentially hazardous conditions inside confined spaces, documentation is required for workers to be allowed to enter a confined space. The gas monitoring team can organise the paperwork on your behalf, including confined space entry permits, isolation forms, safe work method statements, risk assessments and rescue plans in the event an incident occurs. Security consultants can assure safety by supplying this documentation. The goal is also to create a seamless line of communication between the standby officer, those working in the confined space, and emergency first response teams if they are ever required.
The implementation of gas monitoring services on industrial sites ensures companies can proactively identify and address any gas-related risks, mitigate potential accidents and catastrophic events, as well as comply with safety regulations.
The top priority of gas monitoring services is to determine that the atmosphere of any given workspace, whether a confined space or otherwise, has breathable air and doesn’t contain the presence of dangerous gases. Just as important is the constant monitoring of the atmosphere to detect any adverse changes in atmospheric conditions.
The possible inhalation of toxic gases is not the only concern of gas monitoring services. With some gases, the main dangers are either a fire or an explosion. Whether the hazard is contaminated air or the risk of a catastrophic event occurring, gas monitoring and detection is a vital service that ensures the safety of all workers, site visitors and the general public.
Prevention and preparedness are key components for successful gas detection and monitoring services, and both documentation and training help to guarantee that everyone on-site is aware of procedures in the event of an incident involving dangerous gases.
Without the presence of a professional team of gas monitors on the industrial site, the safety of everyone on-site will be jeopardised. Gas monitoring and gas detection are essential services, particularly where confined spaces are involved. Gas detection and monitoring requires a qualified and experienced team of professionals. Everyone on the team will have been properly trained before receiving their official qualification.
SSTC is your premier security company, as well as offering emergency response teams and industrial services such as gas monitoring services. Ensure the safety and integrity of your industrial site by employing our professional services. For more information on gas monitoring and what SSTC can do for you, get in touch with us today.