When employees are at work in an industrial plant, offshore drilling platform, or perhaps a laboratory or water treatment plant, one of the biggest dangers they face is an undetected gas leak. When this occurs, not only can a fire or explosion take place, but workers can also suffer various physical issues, many of which can be life-threatening. Rather than face these scenarios, companies invest in a wide range of portable and fixed gas detection systems. But while these systems are similar in many ways, they also have many key differences, all of which may play a role in a facility’s safety program.

Detection System Costs

While cost is always a concern for any company, most attempt to not let it be a factor in keeping employees and facilities safe. As a result, they often invest in both fixed and portable detectors, though there can be a big difference in regards to pricing. For many portable detectors, costs can often be less than $200 apiece, with many being available for less than $100. However, fixed gas monitors tend to cost more, averaging $500-$1,000 apiece. In most cases, this is due to them having more features than portable detectors, such as multiple alarm systems.

Various Features

With both portable gas monitors and fixed gas sensors, various features make them attractive options for companies. For example, portable monitors allow for hands-free monitoring, which can be useful to engineers and technicians working in confined spaces while doing installations, repairs, and inspections of equipment. However, fixed gas systems also provide the added advantage of linking to wireless networks within a facility, allowing for the transmission of real-time data to on-site engineers and off-site monitoring personnel.

Work Environments

In most cases, portable gas detectors are used primarily in confined spaces or with employees who move around to many different areas of a facility during their workday. However, in facilities that are very large and have employees spread out over large distances, fixed detection systems are very effective and cost-efficient. Since they are capable of monitoring large areas, they can alert workers to gas leaks that may be occurring in various parts of a facility, allowing evacuations to be done before a situation becomes critical.

Alarm Features

With a fixed detection system, multiple alarms are often available, since the detectors will be placed in many different types of work environments. With most detectors, alarms such as flashing lights, strobes, and sirens are available. Thus, in areas that are noisy, lights and strobes can alert workers to danger. However, in facilities where workers are spread out, sirens can be very effective.

Multiple Gas Detection

In most cases, portable detectors are designed to monitor for a smaller array of gases than fixed detectors. However, a fixed gas detector and portable gas detector can be linked to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, allowing engineers and technicians to have access to real-time data 24/7, which can be vital should an emergency situation take place during off-hours.