While difficult to accurately and reliably monitor for dangerous buildups of toxic and combustible gases, confined spaces must have systems in place allowing workers to know what to expect when entering these areas. Whether it would be a low oxygen level, a buildup of methane or benzene, or an equipment malfunction resulting in a gas leak, these and other possibilities make confined spaces some of the most dangerous areas within any facility. However, as increasing levels of technology have been introduced in modern confined space gas detectors, they are now able to provide accurate measurements on many fronts.
Confined Space Gas Levels
Prior to engineers or technicians entering a confined space to install, repair, or test equipment, it is vital they know what if any gas levels are in that area. Otherwise, they could be walking into a disastrous situation. However, through the use of portable confined space gas monitors, those needing to enter confined spaces can do so under the utmost safety. Along with measuring the area’s conditions, the monitors can send the data in real-time to engineers in monitoring locations, allowing for instant analysis.
If a worker unknowingly enters a confined space where hydrogen sulfide is present, numerous difficulties can quickly develop. Along with a burning sensation to the eyes and skin, this volatile organic compound can lead to severe respiratory distress that may result in asphyxiation in mere minutes. To avoid an unnecessary tragedy, confined space air monitoring equipment is utilized specifically to monitor for this dangerous substance, and is installed both inside the confined space location and at other nearby areas that allow for 24/7 monitoring.
While monitoring for specific gases and other substances is extremely important to worker safety, so too is gathering information about environmental conditions within a work area. Because of this, a confined space monitor may also be equipped to let a worker know of certain environmental conditions, including but not limited to temperature extremes, unusually high humidity levels, and equipment vibrations and shocks that may indicate breakdowns or malfunctions. Along with this, the monitoring equipment can also self-calibrate based on changes within the confined space area, thanks to the electronics being enclosed in a protective shield.
Detection of Multiple Gases
Within almost any type of confined space at an industrial facility, laboratory, or other similar work setting, multiple gases will be on the premises. If these are not properly monitored day and night, it is possible a leak of two or more gases can occur simultaneously. If this happens, the mixture could quickly result in a fire, explosion, or toxic buildup that could spread to other areas. To keep this from happening, monitors for confined spaces and gas detection are used that have the ability to scan for multiple gas pathways. Using combinations of open path and sample draw monitoring, these monitors can analyze the atmosphere of a confined space and immediately transmit the data to monitoring centers, where it can be analyzed for potential problems.