Carbon monoxide, radon, methane, and other industrial gasses are incredibly toxic. Inhale one, and you might feel dizziness, nausea, headaches, respiratory distress, or other signs of gas poisoning.
That’s why a functional gas monitoring system is vital to human safety in any industrial workplace.
Unfortunately, monitoring systems lose their efficacy over time, which can potentially put your employees at risk from a lack of protection.
Are your company’s gas detection devices up-to-date?
Importance of Gas Monitoring
Gas monitoring saves lives. Even if it seems like the risk is low, gas detection sensors are mandatory in the Canadian oil and gas industry.
Federal and provincial laws require managers to install gas monitoring devices in certain confined spaces. They also require gas monitoring devices when engaging with specific environments (like waste management).
For more information specific to your industry, refer to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s guidance.
How a Gas Detection Monitor Works
A gas detection monitor detects gas with a sensor. Typical sensor technology includes:
- Infrared point or imaging sensors
- Photoionization detectors
- Metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) sensors
- Electrochemical/catalytic sensors
Infrared sensors trigger alarms when specific wavelengths of light are absorbed. Molecules of the target gas (but not air) absorb those lengths of light. Or, they trigger over certain backscatter patterns of the light.
In contrast, MOS sensors sound an alarm when a harmful gas triggers a chemical reaction.
Some sensors are capable of reacting to multiple harmful gasses. Most target a specific, known gas, or they note oxygen depletion.
Systems can incorporate an alarm and a sensor into the same device. A chemical reaction of the wire itself may trigger the alarm.
Other systems use electrodes in a sensor. When the sensor detects a dangerous gas, the electrodes transmit a signal through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or RFID to trigger the alarm.
Why Gas Monitoring System Updates Matter
A gas monitoring system’s sensitivity and accuracy will decrease without regular calibration.
In a system that requires the gas to trigger a chemical reaction to sound the alarm, the reactive compounds degrade over time.
Infrared sensors’ perception of backscatter or wavelength absorption can worsen if the temperature or humidity changes significantly. Water vapour in the air can absorb or reflect wavelengths, which throws the system off.
Gas Detection System Maintenance (Calibration)
Calibration sets your monitor’s reference point. It typically uses a docking station to expose the monitor to a known quantity of gas. Reset the sensor based on that quantity.
Calibrate your system every 1-3 months. For best results, keep a maintenance log.
Bump Test Your Gas Monitoring System: Does It Still Work?
A bump test is a functional test. You can do it with a docking station or manually.
This test exposes sensors to a concentration of gas higher than the alarm. If the alarm doesn’t sound, your system failed the test.
Troubleshooting or Replacing Your Gas Detection System
Any component of a gas monitoring system may be broken. Troubleshoot to determine if the problem is with:
- The sensor
- Alarm mechanism
- Environmental disruption
Once you’ve honed in on the issue, you can repair or replace your system.
Gas Detection Systems and Solutions
Industrial work carries risks. But gas poisoning shouldn’t be one of them.
At Electrogas Monitors Ltd., we carry a wide selection of industry-leading gas detection monitors and equipment for businesses throughout Western Canada. Our certified technicians can also service and repair gas detection products.
Ensure your gas monitoring systems are up to date and protect your employees. Contact us today at our offices in Calgary, Sherwood Park (serving Edmonton), and Red Deer to learn more about our gas detection monitors and services.