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Personal gas monitors – a critical decision

03 June 2014

Choosing the right personal gas detector needs a detailed understanding of which gas or gases may be present in the working environment as well as the conditions in which each gas presents the highest levels of risk. It is only when these factors are thoroughly defined and understood that the right equipment can be specified.

For single-gas personal gas monitors there are also four key performance challenges to consider: The monitors must be easy to use and light enough not to interfere with the worker’s freedom of movement; they must be accurate, reliable and capable of withstanding harsh environmental conditions; and they must alert the worker to danger even when there is a high level of background noise.

These are the challenges which are addressed by Crowcon’s compact, tough and lightweight personal single-gas Gasman monitors. Designed to monitor and detect levels of flammable gas, oxygen and 16 individual toxic gases, each monitor’s range and alarms can be configured for use in different applications or regulatory alarm levels. For increased safety, each monitor has two instantaneous alarm levels, as well as a time weighted average (TWA) alarm when monitoring toxicity. These safety alerts use a combination of a 95dB audible alarm, a vivid dual red/blue visual alarm and an internal vibrating alarm to ensure prompt evacuation from a hazardous zone even with a high level of ambient noise.

The flexibility of the Gasman range, combined with specialist support from Crowcon, can help to ensure that companies avoid some of the common misconceptions which can result in exposure to high-risk situations.

Take the drinks industry, for example, where carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital part of the manufacturing process. One of the most common misconceptions is that using an oxygen monitor will protect workers from toxic levels of carbon dioxide. The fact is that normal air is 80% nitrogen, so carbon dioxide will be more likely to displace more nitrogen than oxygen. This means that monitoring oxygen levels will not necessarily alert a worker to high levels of carbon dioxide. As carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it can often accumulate in confined areas such as at the bottom of tanks or silos, where asphyxiation is a significant risk. In addition, carbon dioxide is also a toxin at exposure levels as low as 0.5% by volume. Exposing a worker to a 20% to 30% level of carbon dioxide for just 1 minute could result in a coma.

Ensuring the safety of workers, therefore, needs a combination of specialist knowledge of the behaviour and properties of different gases, as well as durable, tough and easy-to-use safety equipment.

With a tough polycarbonate housing and a full over-moulding, the Gasman personal single-gas monitors are water and dust resistant to IP65 and provide high impact resistance to ensure that workers are protected in harsh working environments. The light weight, simple, single-button control and a backlit LCD helps to make these monitors easy and convenient for workers whilst offering employers the flexibility to have monitors configured for specific applications.

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