Gas detection is the simple phrase used for ‘atmospheric testing’ or ‘atmospheric sampling’. The process involves capturing a sample of the atmosphere so it can be analysed to determine the percentage or amount of a particular substance in the atmosphere (the air we breathe). |
Electronic gas detectors are most commonly used because of their ease of use, accuracy and instant results. An electronic gas detector can be equipped with one sensor or several, each for a different gas. The most common gases ‘detected’ for in construction, oil and gas and refining are: oxygen, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide and benzene.
When do I perform gas detection?
• Confined space entry
• An area known for or suspected of having a toxic atmosphere or hazardous airborne contaminants
• An area known for or suspected of having a flammable atmosphere
Confined spaces safety
Gas detection is absolutely necessary for confined space entry – you must not risk sending a person into a confined space without knowing the contents of the atmosphere.
Your typical confined spaces include: barges, crawl spaces, holding tanks, hoarding, hoppers, manholes, pipelines, pits, pontoons, process towers, silos, sumps, trenches, tunnels, underground chambers, utility vaults and vessels.
For every confined space entry there must be a designated confined space safety attendant who is responsible for the gas detection of the confined space. Through the years I have witnessed and been involved with hundreds of confined space entry related work. I have seen very strong and very weak safety practises relating to gas detection.
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