Critical considerations for an optimal gas detection program

gas detection

Investing in a gas detection program is more than just installing fixed gas detectors, procuring some portable gas detectors and training staff.

There are a lot of factors that go into building a successful program that yields 360˚safety which extends beyond mere compliance. There are five key elements to consider when designing a gas detection program.

An ideal solution provider should be able to support businesses in each aspect, as product manager for Thermo Fisher Scientific Nick Taylor said.

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s wide range of gas detection products make it simple and convenient to meet your work site’s needs, helping to reduce gas threats to your industrial plant, your employees and people living nearby. Our product experts are on hand and ready to help you find the best solution – whether it is a simple portable single-gas detector or a fixed multi-gas monitoring system.”

 

  1. Consult with experts 

There is a wide range of gas detectors for mining, oil and gas drilling/processing sites. There are numerous products to choose from, each with features that make it suitable for use in particular environments.

At the minimum, detectors should accurately detect the presence of hazardous gases in the occupational environment and quickly notify the user and site/safety manager of the issue. Ideally, the detectors you invest in should also be sturdy and long-lived and must run effectively and reliably, even in the harshest work environments.

With so many manufacturers, suppliers and options to choose from, it is helpful to get an expert consultation on which product set works best for your needs. Product specialists, especially those who are familiar with a variety of gas detection technologies, can help you at every point in your journey, from selecting detectors, to detector placement, to calibration and through to maintenance.

Their expertise spans the implementation of detectors across sites and industries, so they know exactly what would work best in your environment for optimal safety of your plant, your employees and for people nearby, as well as for compliance.

  1. Ensure the technology is the best fit-for-purpose 

There are various functions of gas detection for which you may have to choose different gas detectors. For example:

  • Continuous monitoring of a single point for flammable gas leaks, perhaps near a valve
  • Monitoring similarly along the length of a gas transmission pipeline
  • Detecting toxic/hazardous gases prior to entry to a confined space – often requiring a “pumped” gas detector
  • Monitoring for the presence of asphyxiating gas, in warehousing, carparks, etc.
  • Monitoring your workers with smart devices that can call for help and send GPS location, even when the worker cannot
  • Fixed gas detectors with wireless connectivity, for ease of access at heights
  • Basic, simple gas detectors, requiring little to no user intervention – just turn on and use

There is a gas detector to fulfil your needs; it is just a matter of selecting one fit for your purpose. However, it is also easy to over-specify the gas detectors you need and end up paying extra for unnecessary features. This is where expert advice from a neutral, trusted specialist can be invaluable.

  1. Ease and convenience for human use 

The work environment in your industry niche may be very challenging, so it is vital that the gas detectors you implement can run effectively in harsh working conditions. Are you confident about your gas detectors’ durability and operational life?

Before investing in gas detection devices, check whether the manufacturer has designed and tested the equipment to be resistant to such as submersion, spray or dust contaminants and even dropping from heights.

For portable detectors in particular, the battery life is another aspect to consider, as your employees will be working for long hours and their detectors need to support them for the duration of their shift.

Also, are the devices easy to use? Portable detectors need to be easy to operate with a gloved hand; for fixed detectors installed at heights, can these be accessed remotely avoiding the need for ‘working at heights’ training/permission?

Always review device specifications and look for the various compliance checks the device has been approved for and if it is ideal for use in your industry.

These specifications and approvals are a great indication of durability and directly impact your total cost of ownership.

  1. Data access and trending insights 

The new generation of gas detectors available today offer smart functions and simple (cloud) connectivity to fleet management systems. These enhance safety, productivity and compliance and enable safety and compliance officers to manage their fleet, monitoring workers in real-time and receiving alerts from such as user-triggered SOS, as well as gas-level based hazards. In addition, easy access to historical data can provide invaluable insights, enabling managers to take proactive measures to ensure continued protection of employees and plants.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a wide range of detectors, both fixed and portable, that can be integrated with on-site and centralised systems to automatically shut down equipment, trigger site-wide alarms, or alert safety and compliance officers via SMS or email.

  1. Technical support

Key to the operation of fixed and portable gas detectors is strong technical support coupled with a strong warranty. We echo the sentiment of several seasoned safety and compliance managers: post-purchase services matter. When investing in gas detectors, a strong warranty, exceptional customer service and technical support with on-site calibration, testing, and maintenance go a long way. It is a sign of the supplier’s confidence in its products.

The best way to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a gas detection safety programme is to consider the total cost of ownership. The sticker price can be a key driver when it comes down to signing on the dotted line, but it should not be the only consideration. For example, your total cost of ownership might go up over time if the gas detector you choose has a sensor that needs to be replaced in half the time compared to another detector that costs 20% more upfront. Other expenses such as support, testing, consumables, calibration gas and maintenance, throughout the life cycle of your detectors, also add up in the total cost of ownership. It is wise to factor in all these expenses, else your bargain might end up costing you more over time.

You don’t want to risk disruptions in the daily operations of your site. A holistic gas detection program ensures smooth operations, provides peace of mind and lets workers focus on the job. Our strong partnership with a variety of leading manufacturers means Thermo Fisher Scientific is not tied to any one product or brand ecosystem.

Thermo Fisher Scientific can help you choose the gas detectors best suited for your workplace hazards, while providing ongoing support for your maintenance and training needs.