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Another Invisible Danger – GAS

Some substances are not only odorless, but invisible to the naked eye. This makes gas monitoring critical to the safety of workplaces.

Gas safety is a critical consideration in an airborne hazard management in many industries and one which is growing priority for the health and safety executive. Furthermore, in addition to conventional hazards, such as carbon dioxide and food and drink manufacturing, businesses now also need to consider the introduction of new and lesser-known risks, such as the growing prevalence of hydrogen as the more mainstream fuel source.

As substances which usually can’t be detected by the human eye and which can also be odorless, gas monitoring and detection of abnormal or dangerous levels is critical to the safety of many businesses. However, gas safety is often part of an extremely broad portfolio of safety issues. And as a result, it can be a complex and challenging area to address effectively. Specific training on gas safety, particularly for gasses that are specific to certain industries can be a valuable way of helping to correct these types of misconceptions. Advice should be sought on the different types of monitoring and detection devices, which may be needed for different settings and applications.

For an example, a common mistake or work around is for a portable personal gas monitoring device to be used instead of permanent point detectors. Additionally, there are alarms that can be designed to be heard or seen when worn on a person, so are not sufficiently loud to warn someone on the other side of the room, for example, or in a large space. Eliminate human error. Using fixed permanent gas detection, removes the opportunity for human error or risk taken in situations where, for example, a portable device may have run out of charge due to operational or production pressures. The temptation might be to enter the area of risk anyway, on the assumption that it’s only for a short time. There have been cases happening where carbon dioxide has been present and fatalities have occurred as a result.

There’s also examples of shortcuts where people are taking the shortcut to save money. Consider a food factoring business that uses carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the packaging process. Both gasses post serious risks at certain concentrations, yet it is not unheard of for a business to rely on someone opening external doors to ventilate the area as a solution to this type of critical safety issue. While carbon dioxide appears to have little toxicological effect in low concentrations, the risk of not having a suitable gas detection system in place is that there’s a buildup of higher concentrations. There is a risk of employees experiencing increased respiratory rate, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, and impaired concentration, and loss of consciousness.

If you need any support with your gas planning and documentation, please contact us today on 07770 302504 or email joanne@chestnutassociates.co.uk