In today’s world, a day rarely goes by that an incident involving a fire does not happen. This is especially true of industrial fires in the oil and gas industry, where hazardous conditions can result in tragedy. However, for those companies that have properly installed LEL monitors at strategically planned points in the facility, many accidents can be avoided.

Manufacturer’s Manual
Before installing a LEL monitor, it’s important to look over the manufacturer’s manual to make sure the proper procedures have been followed. In many cases, specialized instructions are included with these monitors, which if not followed precisely can result in the monitor functioning incorrectly. Depending on the conditions in which the LEL monitor will be exposed, it’s vital that all instructions be followed exactly as they are written. Since the sensors used in these monitors are usually guaranteed for up to three years, paying close attention to the instructions will lead to a monitor lasting as long as expected or perhaps longer.

LEL Sensors
Because the sensors in an LEL monitor are extremely sensitive, making sure the monitor is installed according to specifications will help keep the monitor working as expected. Depending on the type of LEL monitor used at a facility, it may contain one sensor for detecting only one specific type of gas or multiple sensors for detecting multiple gases. However, most LEL sensors are able to respond to virtually all combustible gases, since the sensors are generally non-specific. However, careful consideration must be given as to where the monitors will be installed, since the sensors are very sensitive to temperatures and could provide incorrect data if used in the wrong environment.

LEL Monitor Calibration
Of course, to ensure an LEL monitor works properly, it must be calibrated correctly on a regular basis. As with other aspects of the monitor, calibration must be done according to instructions provided. Based on manufacturer recommendations, a bump test should be performed prior to using each of the units. By doing so, employees can make sure the monitor’s combustible gas detector is in proper working order. Done by exposing the monitor to a certain amount of gas concentration, the bump test should not be substituted for regular calibrating. Otherwise, the unit’s sensors can be thrown off and begin to record inaccurate readings.

LEL Monitor Training
While the monitor must be calibrated properly and installed correctly in order to provide accurate readings, it’s also imperative that all workers be trained in the proper use of the monitors and how to perform calibration. For example, workers need to be trained to realize that a zero reading on the monitor may not necessarily mean no gas is present. Instead, it may simply mean the concentration of gas present falls below the monitor’s detectable limits. Also, workers should also be trained to remember that if they are working in a confined space, gas levels should be evaluated every four feet in the area around them. By doing so, they can maintain a proper safety level.