How Many Gas Detectors Do You Need for Your Application?

Buying safety equipment is a boring job but one which is essential if the workplace is to be safe for workers in a hazardous environment. This includes purchasing gas detectors. The criteria for selecting which and how many to buy are complex.

Apart from the price, which is often the primary consideration, other factors include buying rugged and dependable equipment which is easy to use and reduces any future hidden costs of servicing and maintaining the selected equipment in the future, which adds to the cost of ownership.

Is it possible to keep the reins tight on the budget while still making sure that the company has the best possible safety setup? Very much so, if quality is held in mind while looking for other ways to cut the cost.

One simple but incredibly profitable method is looking for detectors which fit the job profile but have other characteristics that make it possible to do the same job with a smaller number of instruments.

By way of illustration, consider that a certain company employs 450 workers on the field, all of who are exposed for at least a part of the time to a hazardous area known to contain hydrogen sulphide at least some of the time. This exposure may not be daily, rather weekly, but this still makes the use of a personal single-gas detector for H2S mandatory.

Another problem is the need for employees to enter confined spaces during the course of the workday. Both of these must be faced, and the safety guideline team may conclude that the worker is safest if at work he carries a four-gas monitor for a fourth of his time at work.

On the other hand, it may not be possible to set apart one person just to look after gas detectors. In most cases the safety manager is the one who is supposed to troubleshoot the device, carry out repairs according to his overcrowded schedule, and in between, make sure all defective and repaired or serviced instruments are swapped back into the run.

In addition, the safety manager must also record and remember which instrument is with which employee, using a spreadsheet to keep track of the name and serial number of the worker and detector respectively.

This is difficult to update manually, so each employee may be issued one personal gas detector which is exchanged if necessary, that is, if any issue arises, in consultation with the supervisor. This means, of course, that the serial numbers on the spreadsheet cannot always be relied on.

If an instrument is given out by someone other than the safety manager, this adds to the problem, as the latter then needs to find out which one was given and to whom, when he gets some free time.

Area monitors with long run times help to minimize the need for more instruments in your pool of “spares.”

Area monitors with long run times help to minimize the need for more instruments in your pool of “spares.”

The probable course of action is the decision to buy 500 or so standard four-gas detectors, keeping 50 of them as spares in case any of the remaining 450 instruments wear out, or need to be repaired.

There are several ways to cut down on this purchase number, however:

Gas detection service can be made use of by adopting a reliable service program to replace equipment within days of a request being made when, for instance, a gas detector fails its calibration test, indicating it is not functioning. This makes it unnecessary to have a large number of replacements on hand while the faulty detector waits to be serviced or repaired.

Using management software to keep track of the gas detectors, provides automatic notifications about failing equipment, and helps to maintain surveillance on the state of the equipment fleet, which allows preventive maintenance to be carried out.

The software can predict the need for replacement of a worn-out sensor before the instrument actually fails its calibration test, so that this event can be followed immediately by the replacement of the instrument without any delay, by pre-ordering a new one.

It can also help to make sure that the necessary steps are being taken to keep the instruments in good condition, as by doing bump testing every day to ensure that they will respond when exposed to toxic or combustible gases. Thus, using this type of software allows the safety manager to know the overall state of health of the instrument fleet as well as the working profile of individual devices.

Advanced technology helps on-the-spot assignment of users to gas detectors without having to designate a separate one for each. This itself goes a long way in reducing the fleet size, since the user can simply touch a tag to have their name linked instantly to the device rather than having to manually update the user details.

These not only show which instrument is being used by whom but allows the manager to plan the total number of instruments which will be in action at any one time, and buy accordingly, rather than just purchasing one instrument for each worker.

Gas detectors that allow users to be assigned on-the-fly by tapping the instrument to a hard hat tag can significantly shrink the size of the instrument fleet.

Gas detectors that allow users to be assigned on-the-fly by tapping the instrument to a hard hat tag can significantly shrink the size of the instrument fleet.

Choosing durable instruments with a long working life goes a long way in saving money on gas detector purchase, as it means less time is required to carry out device checks, wait for replacements and arrange for repairs and service.

If these four steps are carried out it will be easy to cut down on gas detector purchase requirements. The number of spares can be significantly reduced without any concern as to quality failure, since replacements will arrive within days of any reported issue with an instrument. Rugged instruments mean less downtime and reduced maintenance needs.

Better user assignment allows the number of simultaneous users to be monitored before deciding the number to be purchased rather than going by the total number of potential users on the field.

Thus, this type of planning could help the company in the example above to cut down its requirement from 500 to just 100 instruments, saving money on equipment, and allowing the safety manager to do what he ought to be doing, namely, looking at ways to improve safety in the workplace, rather than filling out forms and keeping instruments running.

In short, choosing the right equipment is not just a routine chore but one which allows huge savings of time and money by selecting instruments by features appropriate to the company’s needs.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Industrial Scientific.

For more information on this source, please visit Industrial Scientific.

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