One of the main keys to the progression of gas monitoring equipment centres on their ease of use – in particular, relating to the calculation and documentation of data that is collected through industrial hygiene functions. To effectively maintain the health of a worker’s space or atmosphere, you first need to know what hazards may be present. In many cases, the industrial processes will clearly determine the potential hazards. In some cases, the initial screening of an environment is tested with sorbent or colour-detector tubes as a cost-effective way to analyse the environment, and after specific hazards are determined, continuous monitoring in the workspace is put in place. This is where gas monitoring instruments play a crucial role in maintaining proper hygiene of an industrial environment. A monitor used primarily for safety purposes sounds an alarm when readings of the target gas exceed the predetermined low alarm settings programmed into the monitor. Alarms are also sounded when the environment becomes oxygen deficient or enriched.
A monitor used for hygiene purposes not only has the ability to detect dangerous levels of explosive or toxic gas and monitor the oxygen levels in the atmosphere, but it also has the ability to record atmospheric readings of the area’s hygiene through a practice called datalogging.
The role of the datalogger in industrial hygiene
Many of today’s monitors come equipped with a datalogger. A datalogger is a device containing a microprocessor that stores information, electronically extracted from an instrument.
The instrument can be connected to a computer or other printing device for later reference and printouts.
The two most important bits of information tracked in a datalogger, related specifically to hygiene, are STELs (short-term exposure limits) and TWAs (time-weighted averages). STEL represents the average of a gas concentration a worker has been exposed to over a 15-minute period. If this amount exceeds predetermined limits, the worker must remove him/ herself from the hazard for a period of at least one hour before re-entry. STEL values may only be exceeded four times during a normal work shift. TWA literally means the average amount of gas a worker has been exposed to over a given time period. This time is usually defined as eight hours to represent a normal workday. If a predetermined TWA value is exceeded, a worker may not re-enter the workspace for the balance of the workday. In addition to STELs and TWAs, datalogging typically captures each gas sensor reading, temperature, instrument user ID and site ID, and time and date of the sample. This is valuable tracking information the datalogger can provide to safety professionals to maintain accurate records and documentation so they are within safety regulations. This information is important not only for the immediate health and well-being
The evolution of gas protection A look at occupational gas detection.
GAS MONITORING of workers who may be exposed to atmospheric hazards, but having the hygiene information documented will allow operators to make educated and calculated decisions on how to eliminate gas hazards from the work area, and keep it safe for workers.
Instrument docking systems
Instrument maintenance can be managed using automated docking systems. These ystems can provide the following.
Automated calibration/bump testing: Single-button calibration and bump test options are available to simplify and fully document sensor response and routine maintenance.
Record-keeping: Docking systems automatically record, store and print valuable information, such as bump and calibration records. In addition, record-keeping of all hygiene information is stored in the monitor and downloaded to a PC or server.
Recharging: Docking systems can be used to charge monitors when not in use.
Instrument diagnostics: Automated maintenance systems include technology that also provides a means for diagnosing potential problems with your monitor, such as low or marginal sensor life, date of the last calibration, along with the number of days until the next calibration is due. The evolution of automated instrument maintenance systems has provided the opportunity to utilise two-way wireless and/or Ethernet connectivity to link up to 100 standalone instrument docking modules from remote locations anywhere in a facility, across the country or around the world. This connectivity allows information from each station or site to be relayed back to one central database, allowing for a total, centralised, instrument management programme.
Clearly, electronic gas monitors and their expanding capabilities can help to ensure that the atmospheric conditions in your work areas remain in good hygiene.