Many industrial processes and even every-day household applicances involve some level of danger of physical harm. This danger frequently originates from obvious sources, such as heavy machinery or the extreme temperatures found in furnaces or forges. However, another, very real danger comes from an often overlooked source: flammable gases.
Flammable gases are used for many industrial applications, and are almost always labeled as flammable and dangerous. As such, they are usually handled and used with care. But, even when not in use, these gases can pose a real danger. Incorrect storage or faulty equipment can cause gas leaks that can slowly fill a building—even a large warehouse—creating a hazard for everyone present.
Not only can a flammable gas leak lead to a fire or explosion, some of these gases are also dangerous and toxic to humans through inhalation or prolonged exposure to fumes. A number of health problems can result from thirty minutes or less of exposure to a higher than usual concentration of many flammable gases.
Prevention by Detection
When it comes to the dangers presented by industrial gases in the workplace, prevention is key. The most obvious way to prevent gas leaks is to perform frequent checks of your equipment and storage facilities, and replace any faulty or damaged components. Posting safety notices and correct usage guidelines in appropriate locations can go a long way, as well.
No amount of preventative care can stop every flammable gas leak, unfortunately. With this in mind, it is of utmost importance that industrial work areas utilize gas detection or gas monitoring systems. Gas detection and monitoring systems are not only safety features, they are also required for regulatory compliance in many instances.
Gas detection systems are generally comprised of a network of sensors, monitors, servers, and alarms that detect flammable gases and other hazardous gases. These components are integrated through a central computer systems that will sound an alarm or send other alert signals when dangerous levels of gas are detected. Low level alarms can be used in incidences where gas levels are high enough to warrant investigation, but do not pose serious threats. Higher level alarms can signify that the area should be evacuated immediately.
Gas detection systems can range from the simple to the complex; simpler gas monitors are generally used in residential applications, while more elaborate systems are designed for use in industrial settings. The more complex the system, the more difficult it can be to integrate into an existing facility, and the harder it can be to maintain. However, maintenance of these systems is often more time-consuming than anything else. By implementing regularly scheduled system checks and calibrations, a gas monitoring system can easily be kept in prime operating condition.
Early detection of a flammable gas leak can prevent disaster. Implementing a gas detection system in your facility is the safe, smart move for any company.