By Luke Laggis, Editor, Municipal Sewer & Water Magazine
Wastewater work is important. We champion the work you do in every issue of MSW. But no sewer line problem is worth dying over.
Accidents happen all the time. All too often they’re the result of shortcuts, of failing to take simple steps to protect yourself to save a little time. The industry is filled with stories of people who tried to save a few minutes and ended up losing the rest of their years. And if you push your employees to get jobs done faster than safe practices allow, you could lose plenty, too.
There is never an acceptable excuse to enter a sewer without a proper gas monitor, or to enter a confined space unattended or without the required gear. Earlier this year, those exact mistakes cost three Florida utility workers their lives.
As reported by local news outlets, when crew members noticed a section of a paved street wasn’t settling properly, one of the workers removed a manhole cover and climbed down to investigate. When workers on the surface lost contact with the first man, another went down to rescue him. Then another.
The story, along with a complete overview of how to protect yourself from the dangers of hydrogen sulfide, is detailed in this month’s Staying Safe column. You need to do whatever you can to protect yourself and your workers on the job. At the end of the day, the safety of your crew should be top priority. If it’s not, the end of the day — and someone’s life — could come all too soon.
No matter how safety-conscious you usually are, it only takes one lapse, one mistake, to change everything. That’s the thing about safety measures: They only keep you safe if you follow them 100 percent of the time. Accidents are often the result of little shortcuts, of failing to take simple steps in order to protect yourself to save a little time.
Those aren’t situations where you learn from your mistakes; they’re situations where you die from your mistakes. That might seem overly dramatic if you’re used to that kind of work and haven’t had any issues, but do a quick internet search on “sewer fatality” if you want a sobering reminder — page after page of people who didn’t take the proper precautions and paid the ultimate price.
Hydrogen sulfide can choke you out before you even know what’s happening. You probably don’t face that danger on a daily basis, but you no doubt face it at least occasionally.
You probably know that the gas has the distinct smell of rotten eggs, an obvious warning sign. But as it reaches higher concentrations, H2S paralyzes the olfactory nerve. You won’t smell it. You’ll just collapse and die.
Please take the time to read the Staying Safe column. Even if you’re familiar with all the information, the reminder is worthwhile.
The article was originally published in the Municipal Sewer & Water Magazine, September 2017.
Operational shutdown/turnarounds are when maintenance and renewal work is performed in oil and gas refineries. They can occur at any time between three to five years and allow for businesses to maintain safe operations, stay competitive and meet government regulations.
Poorly conducted shutdown/turnarounds can cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue and drive up operating costs, so it’s crucial they’re performed correctly. Some refineries are even requiring that their employees switch from single-gas to multi-gas monitors. Many of our customers have chosen BW Honeywell’s multi-gas monitors with their shutdown/turnaround needs.
Here’s a list of our of our top five multi-gas monitors:
This is our most popular multi-gas monitor thanks to its small size, durability, extended battery life and ease of use. It can be used up to 18 hours on a single 4-hour charge. The MicroClip XL is a rugged diffusion monitor ideal for a range of industrial work sites and confined space entry.Thanks to the one-button user interface, workers can easily access all major features with very little training required to use the device on site.
This gas monitor has an internal pump that detects and monitors toxic gas levels for remote sampling. No matter how dark and dingy your confined space may be, it displays levels of all four gases on its bright, backlit LCD screen (which also shows you battery levels and pump activity).
Once activated, the BW Clip4 is always on. Two years of runtime with no charging, no maintenance or servicing, and no battery replacements. The BW Clip4 has a two‑year warranty to cover its entire service life.
Slim, compact and easy to wear, the X3 protects you from gas hazards that are ever present at job sites, especially in cold weather. This monitor uses a new revolutionary O2 sensor which allows the manufacturer to provide a three-year warranty. This significantly reduces the cost of ownership over the life of the monitor.
The Quattro we stock comes with changeable rechargeable batteries, offering hours of run time. Should it be needed, you can easily swap the batteries for alkalines in the field, though this does require purchasing the alkaline battery pack.
We have heard from a couple of our top sales reps in the gas monitor industry that Chevron refineries are moving forward requiring the use of 4-gas monitors in their process units instead of the old requirement of just single H2S gas monitors. This is a big shift for contractors and the oil giant’s in-house team to switch from using single-gas to 4-gas monitors. This change is slated for official launch in the fall of 2017, but they are already beginning to have their in-house team use 4-gas detectors and are promoting acquisition and use of them with contractors who work at their sites all over the nation.
Neil Dwyer, Regional Sales Manager of BW Honeywell said that the new BWC4 gas detector would be a great option for these particular jobs because it eliminates the need and expense of on-site recharging stations because it runs continuously for two years without the battery needing to be charged. It is recommended that these have a routine calibration every six months.Dwyer said on-site recharging stations at Chevron can be costly since they use power and time of contractors while monitors are being recharged. The BWC4 will give added protection of 4-gas detection in addition to eliminating the need for all of this, saving both the contractors and Chevron time and money.
Ramey Packer, Northern California Regional Sales Manager for RKI Instruments, said he recommends the GX-2009 Confined Space 4-Gas Monitor because it’s lightweight, small in size, and can easily be clipped in the “breathing zone” (within a foot of your nose and mouth – on your upper chest, shoulder, or hard hat) which OSHA and Chevron is strict about. He added that the battery life is 20 hours under normal conditions and 10-14 hours in real-world conditions (if the alarm sounds off, or you frequently bump test, etc.) — enough to last a full shift.
Dwyer expects other companies to follow suit within the coming year to two years. Other oil companies could be held liable in the case of an incident, and potentially be cited for non-compliance by OSHA down the road. They could be liable for not having the same safety standards as a leading refinery such as Chevron, and worse, ultimately risking the lives of contractors and workers.
Chevron will be hosting a safety fair in mid April for industry contractors to connect with the leading manufacturers and check out 4-gas monitor options.
PK Safety’s “From 1 To 4” is a series of blog articles following the switch Chevron will be making from single-gas to 4-gas monitors in the fall of 2017.
By Matt Murdock, COO at Wind River Investments and Alert Plus, LLC
Across the northern regions the leaves have changed color and fallen from the trees, the sound of chainsaws fills the forests as people gather firewood for the coming winter, and homeowners have begun winterizing their houses as temperatures drop.
Mean winter temperatures in much of North America will go well below 0F this year, but what can be done for the average natural gas employee whose sole source of gas detection is a portable gas detector whose lower operating temperature is -4F? How can gas leaks and air quality be known in weather conditions well below the operational rating of their equipment? This very problem struck our community only last year.
On the morning of November 22, 2013, 5 natural gas employees in Wyoming went to work as usual. At 10:15 a.. they began to weld repairs on a condensate tank, the resulting explosion hospitalized 4 of the 5 men and the fire was not put out until 1 p.m. (Casper Star Tribune, Nov. 22, 2014). The cause? Despite practicing normal safety procedures, the welding ignited ambient natural gas in and around the tank. The obvious question is why would anyone in their right mind begin welding when gas levels were so high? The answer is simply nobody – unless they didn’t know the gas levels were so high. On that day at approximately that time, the weather services recorded temperatures at -6F and wind speeds at 4.6mph bringing the wind chill down to -13F or even lower out on the Mesa. This is 9F below the rating of their handheld gas sniffer. This story, minus the explosion, is lived out day in day out throughout natural gas fields across North America and Europe 6-8 months a year.
In a post entitled “Baby it’s cold outside…” an Industrial Scientific writer advises his readers about using gas detection in cold weather. “The low temperature rating for continuous operation of most Industrial Scientific portable instruments is -20 degrees Celsius. However, they may be used at lower temperatures for intermittent periods… The response of the instrument will get sluggish at temperatures below -20C… The display may get dim and even go blank if it freezes… Battery run time will be reduced at low temperatures. Below -20C expect at least a 30- 40 percent reduction in run time… A good rule of thumb for using your gas detector in cold temperatures is that your gas monitor can generally stand to be out and working in the cold as long as you can. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for the instrument as well.” Two things should be noted at this point: 1) -20C is only -4F and in cold regions that’s considered a balmy day, 2) while many natural gas employees must regularly work in temperatures below what is comfortable to them, production equipment does not have the luxury of jumping into the cab of a truck to warm up for 5-minutes before going back to work.
Every month our Product Experts offer top product picks for a given category. This month we provide our favorites for single-gas monitors because they are some of our most popular gas detection products that play a pivotal role in ensuring workplace safety.
Check back soon to see Top 3 Hard Hats recommended by PK Safety!
The previous post in this series was Top 3 Multi-Gas Monitors.
If you have questions or need help finding the right gas detection equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
PK Safety Supply announces the addition of the wearable BW Clip4 (H2S, CO, O2, LEL) Gas Detector from BW Technologies by Honeywell to the line of products offered. The BW Clip4 joins the elite group of portable devices specifically engineered for gas detection in extreme environments.
The innovative feature of this portable detector is that once activated it remains on without charging, battery replacement or repair. You can enjoy two-year continuous operation. The advantage of using this new generation of gas detectors includes a low cost of ownership due to low to no maintenance needed. It provides two-year continuous runtime, so there is no need for sensor or battery replacement. It is built with infrared technology which gives this detector a number of advantages: IR technology based devices are reliable, fast-detecting, power-saving, and accurate. This is the reason why there is no need for battery charging over the life of the detector. It’s never been easier to have reliable gas detection on the job, you just have to clip it on!
Note: Remember to calibrate every six months and regularly perform bump tests.
PK Safety Supply has been keeping people safe for nearly 70 years. The brands that the company offers have been vetted over the years by customer feedback and experience. PK Safety provides customers with the latest, most dependable technology, the best value for the money, and exceptional support. In addition to selling occupational safety gear, the company is a Factory Authorized Service Center for BW Honeywell, Gas Clip Technologies, RAE Systems, RKI Instruments and Draeger gas monitors.
Every month our Product Experts offer top product picks for a given category. This month we determine our favorites for multi-gas monitors because they are some of our most popular gas detection products that are important for workplace safety.
1. BW MicroClip XL – This monitor is simple to operate, easy to maintain and calibrate, and weighs less than your first Nokia phone!
2. RKI GX-2012 – This is a top quality monitor that’s extremely reliable! If you have a good technical background and the budget, this is a fantastic monitor.
3. Gas Clip MGC – The battery lasts two months before needing to be charged. If a mobile phone could do that we would buy two!
Check back soon to see Top 3 Single-Gas Monitors recommended by PK Safety.
If you have questions or need help finding the right gas detection equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
We recently learned about a nationwide program instituted by the U.S. Department of Energy that promotes the use of clean and sustainable energy through weatherization funding. It’s the Weatherization Assistance Program. This came to our attention when a couple of new customers approached us from community action groups that specifically carry out weatherization services. These customers purchased gas detectors for their organizations so we looked into it a bit to find out more and how they are helping their communities. We worked with the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, and B.C.M.W. Community Services. They found us after being advised to purchase RKI Instruments four gas monitors that would bring them into OSHA compliance for their services and qualify them for their state’s funds. One of our Corporate Account Experts worked with them to help choose the right solution for gas detection in their projects, and recommended the GX-2009 4-Gas Monitor from RKI Instruments.
What’s Involved In Weatherization?
In order for a residence or building to be properly weatherized, it will need to undergo an audit. During the home audit, several elements in the home are checked and assessed for energy use in every room and to pinpoint problem areas. These include appliances and home electronics, insulation and air sealing, lighting and daylighting, space heating and cooling, water heating and windows, doors and skylights. Services and upgrades may include:
Some upgrades that are often needed in a weatherization retrofit are: insulating walls, attics, water heaters and pipes, sealing doors, basements and crawl spaces, applying weather stripping and caulk or replacing doors, windows, walls and roofing, installing new HVAC and ducting, and even adding solar energy panels. Confined spaces, like attics and crawl spaces, may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, contain insufficient oxygen or hazardous levels of toxic gases.
Why Are Gas Monitors Needed for Weatherization Projects?
Contractors and service providers encounter a wide variety of health and safety risks when entering a home to accomplish weatherization audits and services. In order to qualify for federal and state funding through the Weatherization Assistance Program, the organizations that carry out these projects need to ensure they are OSHA-compliant. OSHA requires gas monitoring of confined spaces before entering them in order to prevent serious injury or death. In 2015 the definition of a confined space was expanded to include attics and crawl spaces. Most commonly, there are cases where a worker could be exposed to hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, combustible gases or a combination that would poison them or leave them with a lack of oxygen. RKI Instruments is a very dependable and respected brand of gas detection equipment. It makes sense that the OSHA representative recommended these instruments to the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program for their gas detection needs. PK Safety carries many RKI Instruments gas detectors and is happy to help you find the right gas detection solution for your projects.
What Are The Benefits of Weatherization?
Weatherization improvements in buildings and residences can make a positive environmental impact through clean energy use and reduced need for energy consumption. Through the program, organizations are working with qualifying low-income residents who normally wouldn’t be able to make this type of change, and also help them with a reduction in energy bills. In addition, the safety of the residents is often improved with better air quality in the home from newer, retrofitted insulation and filtration systems.
Improved insulation, windows, and sealing leaks around doors and wall joints can keep heat out of your home in the summer and in during the winter. These simple changes can really reduce energy use through the seasons. Depending on your climate, you will have different needs for levels of insulation, moisture control and ventilation. Insulation provides resistance to heat flow, and the more heat flow resistance provided in your insulation, the lower the heating and cooling costs and the more comfortable it will be. Not only is weatherization good for your energy bill, it can help with safety issues caused by aging appliances, insulation, and HVAC systems.
More About The Weatherization Assistance Program and Services
Instituted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Weatherization Assistance Program will fund qualifying community organizations like these, to help local low income residents to reduce energy bills and improve health and safety. The U.S. Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office coordinates with local and state leaders to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency improvement best practices and technologies. These partnerships help American communities overcome barriers to clean and efficient energy use.
The state governments and local agencies usually work to leverage this Energy Department funding with other federal, state, utility and private resources to increase the amount of homes that can be weatherized. The local agencies and organizations work to provide weatherization assessments and services to those who may be in need of solutions or improved technologies for home energy upgrades.
The U.S. Department of Energy developed the Home Energy Score system to build market value for home energy efficiency with nationwide household recognition. In order to score a home, a builder or contractor will use the “house-as-a-system” approach for evaluation. A home is audited and receives a score that reflects its energy efficiency based on the structure, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. This approach ensures that the team of building professionals consider all the variables, details and interactions that affect energy use in the home. In addition to this, they evaluate the occupant behavior, site conditions, and climate.
Who is eligible for Weatherization Assistance?
Weatherization Assistance resources are available in every state through the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 30 million U.S. families may be eligible for weatherization services nationwide. Energy services are provided by the states’ local weatherization agencies, and each state has slightly different eligibility requirements. If you receive Supplemental Security Income, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization services. Not only owner-occupied households are eligible, but renters who meet the criteria are eligible if the landlord accepts the terms of the weatherization contract.
DOE guidelines mandate that states must give priority eligibility to the elderly, persons with disabilities, families with children, and families with high energy burden or high energy use. Each state sets how these priority factors will be applied. One of the primary factors affecting eligibility is income. Depending on what state you live in, you are eligible for weatherization if your income falls below the “200% poverty level” (as defined in http://waptac.org/data/files/website_docs/government/guidance/2013/wpn-13-3.pdf).
Options for assessing and completing energy efficiency through weatherization are available through your state and local government’s Weatherization Assistance Program, and likely through your local energy providers home efficiency programs. Check your local government and power company website for more information. Thank you to organizations like B.C.M.W. Community Services or the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program for providing service options and promoting clean energy use.
This post was originally published in A CONSUMER RESOURCE FOR HOME ENERGY SAVINGS, December 14, 2016.
Gas detectors are essential for confined space monitoring before and after the entry. RKI designs high-rated topside and diffusion gas monitors for these purposes.
The GX-2012 is an active pumped four-gas monitor with sensors engineered to detect Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxygen (O2) and combustible gases (LEL). Its powerful internal pump is able to pull samples from up to 50 ft. away! This key feature makes it a perfect topside monitor for your team working in a potentially hazardous location. What else makes it special? With its three operating modes, you have multiple tools in one instrument. The GX-2012 can be used for the confined space safety monitoring, for the leak investigation, and for the underground leak checking. Intrinsically safe and lightweight, it was created with the petrochemical and wastewater treatment facilities’ employees in mind.
While topside monitors are perfect for evaluating the initial entry conditions, winding confined spaces may contain a hazardous environment impossible to be detected before the worker comes in contact with a harmful gas. This is why diffusion monitors are essential for any comprehensive safety program.
The GX-6000, with its rugged design built for the nastiest environments, is ideal for confined space entry, hazmat response teams, arson investigation, remediation sites, perimeter monitoring, leak detection, and landfill monitoring.
What’s New With the GX-6000 6-Gas Monitor?
Get ready to detect hazardous levels of gases like never before! RKI Instruments is introducing the GX-6000 PID and Super Toxics 6-Gas Monitor 72-6AB. This powerful hand-held instrument is capable of simultaneously monitoring up to 6 gases.
The GX-6000 six-gas, sample draw Monitor with PID, IR and Super Toxic capabilities now has 4 new sensors available.
|Smart Toxics:||Smart Infrared:|
|Cl2: 0 – 10 ppm||CO2: 0 – 5% vol|
|NH3: 0 – 400 ppm||HC: 0 – 100% LEL / 30% vol|
It comes pre-configured with sensors for the 4 standard confined space gases including LEL, O2, CO, and H2S. Additionally, this gas monitor’s smart channel is also customized with a PID high-range 6,000 ppm sensor. You may also select a 6th Super Toxics sensor (SO2 6 ppm, NO2 9 ppm, HCN 15 ppm, NH3 400 ppm, or Cl2 10 ppm). Finally, choose from an Alkaline battery pack, an Alkaline and Li-Ion battery pack with 100-240 VAC Charger, or a Li-Ion battery pack with 100-240 VAC Charger.
The unique feature that differentiates the GX-6000 from other models is its PID sensor. As standard, the GX-6000 with a PID sensor is equipped with a library of over 600 VOC gases to choose from. A Personalized Favorites list of 30 commonly used VOC’s and a list of 8 Most Recently Used VOC’s will make your selection process fast and super easy. GX-6000 is a powerful tool equipped with a strong internal sample pump, a man-down alarm, a panic alarm, a LED flashlight, and a large auto rotating LCD display.
Why Choose RKI Gas Monitors?
While many other manufacturers have launched themselves into the disposable gas monitor sector, the core of RKI’s philosophy is that your gas detection device is built to last. Reliability is the major benefit of RKI gas monitors. Ideal applications include confined space entry, hazmat response teams, arson investigation, remediation sites, perimeter monitoring, leak detection, and landfill monitoring.
BW Technologies is introducing a new disposable multi-gas monitor that doesn’t need charging after activation. Know your team has an active, working monitor out in the field, and not one with a dead battery. The BW Clip4 Four Gas Detector simultaneously measures H2S, O2, LEL, CO, and is available in a black or a yellow impact-resistant housing. It is built with IR technology which gives this detector a number of advantages. Infrared (IR) technology-based devices are reliable, fast-detecting, power-saving, and accurate.
How Does IR Technology Work in Gas Detectors?
Gases with molecules that consist of two or more variant atoms absorb infrared radiation in a unique way and are detectable using infrared techniques. These gases are often corrosive and reactive. The major advantage of IR instruments is that the detector does not directly interact with the gas. The components of the analyzer are protected with optical parts, so the gas molecules interact only with a light beam.
Other benefits include:
• Saves power,
• Fail-to-safe operation,
• No routine calibration,
• Ability to operate in the absence of oxygen or in enriched oxygen,
• Ability to operate in the continuous presence of gas.
Disadvantage: gases that do not absorb IR energy are not detectable (for example, Hydrogen).
With the sophisticated optical engineering, IR detectors are factory-calibrated and are virtually maintenance-free. They are particularly desirable in the working environments where detectors must be located in inaccessible areas.
Why Should You Choose BW Clip4?
The exposure to a hazardous gas creates an immediate and long-term health risk to personnel. When you’ve got your hands full in the field, you need a no hassle Hydrogen Sulfide, Carbon Monoxide, Oxygen, Combustible Gases detection that you can always count on to stay safe.
With the two years of continuous runtime (no charging, no maintenance or servicing, and no battery replacement needed), you can be sure that the BW Clip4 is always on. Just clip it on and get the job done. This versatile portable detector is a perfect match for industries ranging from a confined space entry to firefighting and welding.
The BW Clip4 has a two‑year warranty to cover its entire service life. No need for charging or battery replacement guarantees a low cost of ownership. Just replace the device after two years and switch to a new one.
Working teams usually have more than enough gear to carry, making a small size and a light weight important attributes for any device. Today’s advancement in processing power allows sophisticated software to operate in even the smallest instruments, like the BW Clip 4, which is a major benefit to have.
4 Benefits of Always-On Detectors:
The BW Clip series revolutionized wearable gas detection with the safety of the always‑on simplicity. When you clip on the BW Clip4, you know you are safe. It detects a variety of gases which pose a threat to your teams as they perform their duties. These devices help you ensure that everyone goes home at the end of their shift.
Note: Remember to calibrate every six months and regularly perform bump tests.
Was there anything we overlooked? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve got questions about whether the BW Clip4 is the right detector for your application, feel free to call us at 800-829-9580 or visit us at PKSafety.com.
Published in the Oil & Gas Journal
PK Safety Supply announced the addition of real-time gas monitors to the line of products for oil and gas industry. BW Clip Series are reliable, maintenance-free gas detectors, specifically engineered for hazardous environments and extreme temperatures.
This new generation of gas detectors includes the real-time digital display of gas levels, the ability to calibrate the device, and the ability to put it into hibernation mode when not in use. H2S and CO models provide up to three years of operation and hibernation capability, and all models are maintenance-free with no need for battery charging or sensor replacement. BW Clip Series Real-Time Gas Detectors are based on Surecell™ and Reflex Technology™. Surecell™ is a unique dual reservoir sensor design that dramatically improves instrument performance, response time, and longevity.
Reflex Technology™ is an advanced automated internal test function that routinely checks the operating condition of the sensor to increase safety, up-time, and overall worker confidence. Specifically, there is an automated self-test of battery, sensor and electronics within the BW Clip Series.
The instrument management option with the IntelliDoX Management System combines smart docking modules, updated Firmware V 7.000, and Fleet Manager II 4.3.31 software. It ensures quick bump tests and calibrations, unmatched configurability, enhanced productivity, and the highest level of protection.
Download the full version of the press release: PK Safety Supply Press Release
Originally published in the Oil & Gas Journal, Aug 1, 2016 issue, p.80-81 in a printed version, and p.95 in a digital version of the Journal.
Confined spaces become hazardous areas when exhaust gathers from cars, trucks, buses, tractors, trailers, forklifts, and other fossil fuel burning engines. Exhaust fumes are highly toxic and exposure to the fumes can result in serious health problems, and even death. That is why the CO and NO2 levels must be measured, and when concentrations reach unsafe, unhealthy levels, the areas must be ventilated. Reliable detection can also protect those who work in these areas from accidents like explosion and fire. A number of different gas detection solutions exist to satisfy these needs. Designing a proper gas detection system can be challenging because of the existing variety of applications in parking garages, hospital/ambulance bays, fire or police stations, boiler rooms, commercial kitchens, indoor stadiums, car dealerships, warehouses, loading docks, train stations, airports, and tunnels. The specifics of the design of the structure must determine which specific monitoring system suits the application best.
The Honeywell E3Point
The versatile Honeywell E3Point network gas detector monitors toxic, oxygen and combustible gases in commercial applications. It can be used as a standalone unit with single or dual-gas detection using a remote sensor, or deployed as a network device interoperable with BACnet, Modbus and other Building Automation Systems. The advantage of E3Point is that it is based on the accurate electrochemical and catalytic bead sensor technology that reduces false alarms. Other benefits of using E3Point include flexible operation, cost effectiveness, versatile communication, and advanced sensing technology. The E3Point Gas Monitor has an accuracy of ± 3%. Diagnostic information can be viewed on LCD display. Interchangeable sensors are pre-calibrated and may be easily exchanged.
To network several E3Point gas detectors together, the 301C is a gas detection controller is the device to do the job. With unique zoning and comparison abilities, it can continuously monitor and average multiple sensor readings in different zones. This unit allows for up to 96 hardwired E3Points to be linked together and back to the 301C on just two pairs of wires. To take advantage of wireless networking, the 301W is a two-year maintenance and calibration free gas detector which uses a wireless mesh network to communicate back with the 301C. The 301C can monitor up to 50 wireless transmitters, and datalogging is an option. Ventilation (exhaust fans) and alarm beacons/warning systems are also controlled and activated by the 301C, and should be placed in appropriate locations as required.
|Facility||Building Environment||Gases Present (detected by E3Point)|
|Parking Structure||CO, NO2, C3H8|
|Loading Dock||CO, NO2, C3H8, H2|
|Transport Terminal||CO, NO2, C3H8, CH4|
|Golf Cart Maintenance/Battery Charging Area||CO, NO2, CH4, O2, H2|
|Maintenance Garage||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2, H2S, H2|
|Hospital/Ambulance Bay||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2|
|Fire/Police Station||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2, H2, H2S|
|Car Wash||CO, NO2, C3H8|
If you have questions or need help finding the right gas detection solution, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Working in confined spaces present three kinds of hazards: flammable or explosive atmosphere; oxygen-deficient or oxygen-enriched atmosphere; and atmosphere with a high concentration of contaminants. In poorly ventilated spaces, atmospheric contaminants build up to hazardous levels very fast and pose an immediate threat to life. To eliminate potential dangers while working in underground mines, tunnels, shafts, and other environments with confined spaces, it is important to use the right testing equipment.
Do you know that in the early days canaries and mice were used for detection of life-threatening gases, such as CO2 (carbon dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide) and CH4 (methane)? The exposure to a high concentration of harmful gases would completely change their behavior, signaling the miners to exit the tunnel immediately.
In 1815, the invention of the Davy Safety Lamp for use in flammable environments, like coal mines, was life-saving! The lamps were equipped with a metal gauge to measure the flame. If flammable gases were present, the flame burned very high with a blue tint. The safety lamp was placed on the ground to detect denser than air gases. The lamp flame would be put out at the 17% of oxygen level, which provided an early indication of the hazardous environment.
Another method of testing the environment became available around the early 20th century. Before the invention of electronic equipment, carbon monoxide used to be detected with the help of chemically infused paper that changed its color to black when exposed to it.
In 1927, Dr. Oliver W. Johnson created the first Catalytic LEL Combustible Gas Sensor to be used in the Combustible Gas Indicator. Interferometers, LEL and oxygen monitors with alarm, watch-type, portable, single- and multiple-gas monitors are the revolutionary instruments that dominated the market for years and are still popular.
So what’s crème de la crème in gas detection today? Real-time gas detectors! In March 2016, Honeywell introduced the BW Clip Real-Time Gas Detectors that come in two-year versions for hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, oxygen and sulfur dioxide, and three-year versions for hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. The key features that make them most desirable are: they are portable, lightweight, hibernatable, and are maintenance-free, as there is no need for sensor replacement and battery re-charge. These disposable gas monitors are the first ones to have a real-time display. The benefit of a real-time display is that it provides an instant gas reading even in non-alarm conditions. Continuous monitoring of gas concentration levels and identifying changes in atmospheric conditions are essential for making informed safety decisions.
The BW Clip Real Time Gas Detector is compatible with the IntelliDoX instrument management system: users can bump, calibrate or configure their detectors, as well as put detectors into a hibernation mode when not in use, to extend the life of the monitor. This is the most economical real-time data display device on the market.
Below is a list of the new BW Clip Real Time Monitors and an overview of their range of measuring:
|2-YEAR REAL-TIME DETECTORS||Model||Default Alarm Setpoints||Alarm Setpoints Range||Measuring Range|
|Hydrogen Sulfide H2S||BWC2R-H||10-15 ppm||1.6–20 ppm||0-100 ppm|
|Hydrogen Sulfide H2S||BWC2R-H510||5-10 ppm||1.6–20 ppm||0-100 ppm|
|Carbon Monoxide CO||BWC2R-M||35-200 ppm||5–200 ppm||0-300 ppm|
|Carbon Monoxide CO||BWC2R-M25100||25-100 ppm||5-200 ppm||0-300 ppm|
|Carbon Monoxide CO||BWC2R-M50200||50-200 ppm||5-200 ppm||0-300 ppm|
|Sulfur Dioxide SO2||BWC2R-S||5-10 ppm||2-20 ppm||0-100 ppm|
|Sulfur Dioxide SO2||BWC2R-S24||2-4 ppm||2-20 ppm||0-100 ppm|
|3-YEAR REAL-TIME DETECTORS||Model||Default Alarm Setpoints||Alarm Setpoints Range||Measuring Range|
|Hydrogen Sulfide H2S||BWC3R-H||10-15 ppm||1.6-20 ppm||0-100 ppm|
|Carbon monoxide CO||BWC3R-M||35-200 ppm||5-200 ppm||0-300 ppm|
Check out our blog post on gas detection: WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RKI GAS MONITORS?
There’s a new kid on the block, and not everyone is happy to welcome them.
Gas Clip Technologies gas monitors have been around since 2009 and these days they’re starting to compete with the big guys like BW Honeywell and Draeger. While they don’t have the track record of reliability these companies enjoy, Gas Clip does offer prices and features that put them into the conversation when it’s time for your company to purchase new equipment. For instance, their Single Gas Clip H2S Monitor is a portable gas detector that’s as well-priced as our far-and-away most popular H2S monitor, the BW Honeywell GasAlert Clip Extreme, and that’s saying something. Gas Clip distinguishes themselves from other producers with models like the Gas Clip Plus for H2S. This single gas monitor offers a feature that’s not available with other single gas disposables. If Gas Clip can do it, we wonder why others don’t. The Gas Clip Plus has a hibernation mode. Instead of continually operating for two years once it is activated (like most gas detectors in this segment of the market do), the Gas Clip Plus can be turned off, and only when the monitor is actively in use will it eat up the 24 month fixed life span.
In the multi-gas personal gas detection area, Gas Clip again sets itself apart. For the same price as monitors using the old pellistor sensor technology, Gas Clip offers the Multi Gas Clip with an IR Sensor. IR sensors for LEL have a number of distinct advantages. They don’t get sensor poisoning from silicon or too much H2S, and only need to be calibrated every six months. IR sensors also use less juice. The Multi Gas Clip can run up to two full months on a single charge. Other monitors need to be charged every day – sometimes twice a day. Typically the IR technology is more expensive to produce, and other manufacturers have been charging top dollar for the improved performance. Gas Clip is delivering the technology without a big jump in price, and companies who can benefit are sure to be paying attention.
While we’ll have to keep an eye on the continued quality, service, and long-term cost of ownership, early indications are that Gas Clip monitors are delivering what customers want – function at the right price. While it may be making the big gas monitor producers unhappy to have a new player, competition is always good for the consumer.
For more information about safety products, please don’t hesitate to call 800-829-9580 or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Confined space 4-gas monitors need to be calibrated. We all know it, and the time is probably coming up soon. Just how often you are required to calibrate depends on you and the recommendations of the manufacturer. (See calibration intervals for more information.) There are several possible methods for tuning up your gas monitor, and whether you do manual calibrations, use an automated calibration and bump test device, or send it in for a professional calibration service is up to you.
Each calibration method has advantages. If you have more time than money (a situation I personally am familiar with) manual calibrations are not terribly difficult or particularly time consuming. This is a great option if you have only a few monitors. Typically a monitor can be fully calibrated in about 5 minutes start to finish. Using a constant flow regulator isn’t the most efficient in terms of calibration gas usage, but what the heck, you’re only doing a couple monitors, and the cal gas will expire after 12-24 months anyway.
If you have lots of monitors you might not be so thrilled about the prospect of spending days calibrating. If you have hundreds, it may be completely unfeasible. Automated calibration systems like the MicroDock II Docking Station for BW monitors or the RKI Instruments SDM-2009 Calibration Station which fits (not surprisingly) the RKI Instruments GX-2009 make upkeep about as simple as you’re likely to get it.
Automated systems are, well, automatic. Push your monitor into the cradle at the end of the day, and these systems will recharge and bump test or calibrate. Whatever is required. When workers come to use the monitor in the morning, they’ll know right away that it’s charged and ready to go because there are nice green lights or an “OK” message on the monitor screen. If you don’t have those messages, it’s better to know before you go into a confined space than after you’re in one. You’ll get a message letting you know what actions need to be taken.
The Draeger X-am Bump Test and Calibration Station might be the simplest and most elegant solution on the market. No need for regulators or extra tubing. Your 4-Gas cylinder simply screws in, and the system is ready when a monitor is plugged in. No electricity involved, so this system is intrinsically safe, and can be placed close or in the to the work area. This system doesn’t expand like other systems, but it is a fine solution for an individual monitor.
Of course there are organizations out there – yours might be one – that doesn’t want to mess with all the equipment and making sure the calibration gas hasn’t expired. For them, we offer our calibration service. PK Safety Supply is a Factory Authorized Service Center for both BW Honeywell and RAE Systems gas monitors. We also carry a complete line of pumps, gas, regulators, internal electronics, and replacement sensors if your monitor requires additional care. We know it’s important to keep your monitors up and running, so we make every effort to calibrate and return monitors within 24 hours whenever possible.
So there you have it, the complete breakdown of your calibration options. If you are still not sure which group you fall into, please give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580 or contact us online at PkSafety.com.
By Dan Hudson
Ever wondered if cold weather adversely affects your monitors? And if it does, what can you do to minimize the effects? Industrial Scientific’s Brad Day provides helpful insights for all you unfortunate souls who have to work out in the cold. Thankfully, with summer around the corner, maybe you can just tuck this article away for the next few months!
Download publication by Brad Day: Operating Gas Detectors in Extreme Temperatures
This post was originally published on http://confinedspacework.blogspot.com/
Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, HVAC techs and many other tradesmen find themselves crawling around attics and crawlspaces on a regular basis. Now they are going to need to bring one more piece of equipment with them – a personal 4-gas monitor. OSHA has recently clarified their standard concerning these very routine work areas and they are officially now classified as confined spaces.
Confined spaces are inherently dangerous, and OSHA’s not unreasonable response is to require additional safety. There is sure to be some eye-rolling from the folks affected by this new clarification. But OSHA is a force of nature. Slow and plodding, sure. But now that the ruling has come down, folks working in attics and crawl spaces will either suit up with an appropriate confined space gas monitor or run the risk of OSHA fines.
We all know this will affect the small businesses and contractors the most. While even the least expensive monitor is several hundred dollars, there are four-gas personal detection units that are relatively inexpensive and provide very good protection and value for the money. Gas Clip Technologies makes the Multi Gas Clip with Pellistor Combustible Sensor detecting H2S, CO, O2 and LEL. This monitor has a typical battery life of 25 hours and all the bells and whistles of the more expensive monitors.
However, as modern as they have become, gas monitors are a pain in the neck. There are no two ways around the fact that buying the monitor is just the first step, and probably the easiest. All monitors must be charged, maintained, calibrated with specific cal gas, and the information from the monitors may need to be downloaded in the event of serious accident. That’s a lot to add to the plate of independent plumbers and construction workers.
Here are some of the highlights of the clarification of the PRCS standard. Each company will have to assess their job site to determine the presence of confined spaces. Workers required to go into confined spaces will need to test with a “calibrated direct-reading instrument” for 02, LEL, CO, and H2S. Permits are required, but the contractor doesn’t need to go to the building department for this and can write them up and post them themselves. However, only those employees specifically trained and authorized will be allowed to enter the permitted confined space and this adds another burden to business owners and responsible parties on the job sites. In some cases, an attendant will need to be monitoring the confined space from outside.
So to recap, extra safety equipment, increased training, and ongoing maintenance. Safer is better, but some companies will find this a tough change to make.
If you have questions about this new clarification in the permit-required confined space rules, please feel free to give us a call at 800-829-9580 or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
RKI Instruments isn’t a sexy company. They don’t spend their money on fancy marketing handouts or ad campaigns, and they often name their instruments after the year they were launched. So why do so many companies prefer RKI gas detectors to all others? Maybe it’s because their products flat-out work, and continue to work (properly cared for) for years and years.
RKI Instruments has been in business for 20 years and produces some of the most sophisticated gas monitoring devices on the market. While many manufacturers have launched themselves into the disposable monitor sector, RKI takes the longer view with their devices. Their philosophy is, properly cared for, your RKI instrument should be built to last for as long as you are.
The RKI GX-2009 is typical of this focus on quality. While this 4-gas confined space diffusion monitor is about the size of a pack of cards, it displays real time concentration readings of your standard gases (H2S, CO, O2, and LEL) and is tough as nails. Single gas monitors are also likely to be very compact and reliable. The 01 Series Single Gas Instruments from RKI feature a constant readout of gas concentrations on the screen and the signature reliability of RKI as another great selling point.
More powerful and exotic monitors like the RKI Eagle 2 can detect up to 6 gases and feature a PID sensor for detecting either high or low ppm levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s not named after the year it was introduced, which is unusual. But these heavy duty detectors are used by many cities and government agencies as well as large companies with sophisticated gas detection needs. Is it streamlined or fancy? No. Does it work incredibly well? Can it pull samples from up to 125 ft. away? Is it made in the US? To all of these question – Yes.
So while RKI isn’t the largest manufacturer in the world, the fact that most companies that use RKI instruments stick with them speaks not only to the reliability of their monitors, but also to the following they have developed in the sectors of the gas detection market that matter most. Maybe it’s time you try one of these tough, simple units and find out what all the lack of fuss is about.
If you work in a facility that requires specific tolerances for your personal gas monitor alarms, PK Safety has factory-authorized technicians that can configure your devices. Whether you have one monitor that needs an alarm threshold adjustment or hundreds, our staff can make the changes and get them on their way back to you the day we receive them.
Custom alarm point setting or configurations direct from the factory take time. Sometimes a long time. Order your monitors though PK Safety and you can have your custom settings added at our facility and shipped to you faster and easier than using the factory.
Say for example you have a custom calibration requirement for your BW Clip H2S Monitors. Some plants require a low setting of 3ppm and a high of 5ppm instead of the standard 10/15. Each monitor will need to be adjusted and for your own safety this should be done by a factory-trained technician.
Volume discounts are available for programming your custom alarm points if you’re getting calibrations reset on over 5 monitors. The price per monitor can be as low as $2 each if you’re having more than 200 done at the same time. We understand that these monitors are not only a lifeline for your employees, they are required for you to operate. We take the turn-around time on these adjustments very seriously and are organized to make the adjustments quickly and get them back to you in the minimum amount of time possible – usually they can be reset and shipped back to you the day we receive them.
If you have questions about custom calibration pricing, volume discounts, bulk orders, or anything gas monitor-related, we’re happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team at 800-829-9580.
It’s a no-brainer. When it comes to choosing the right ventilator for confined space work, it needs to do three things really well:
How does one go about shopping for these bad boys? Look no further cause we found “The One” in the ECKO K30 blower/ventilator from Euramco.
Unlike traditional blowers with their easily dented metal housings, the portable ECKO K30’s corrosive and UV resistant polyethylene shell is built for less than ideal storage conditions and weighs only 37 lbs. A molded handle means less moving parts. Older ventilation fans have screw attached handles that would loosen over time and rattle when in operation.
And since we are on the topic of sound, here is another thing we love about the K30: it’s relatively quiet. For a fan moving over 2400 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air, this is impressive. At 10 feet, you can expect decibel levels of 84dB. According to NIOSH, permissible daily exposure time before damage occurs at this level is 8 hours. With adequate ducting, you can reduce levels even further. Communicating effectively with your crew in permit-required confined spaces can be a little less taxing on the vocal cords with this ventilator.
Lastly, an arrow adjacent to the molded handle points to which direction air is flowing out. It’s a simple feature that allows you to quickly set up without much guess work.
So if you’re going to pick up an OSHA required ventilation fan to provide air and exhaust toxic vapors during confined space entry, you need to consider the three features we mentioned above. The ECKO K30 is a cost-efficient fan that does it all. For an in-depth look, check out our features video below.
Like what you see, yet still have confined space equipment questions? You’re always welcome to contact our technical product experts. Call us toll-free at 1-800-829-9580 or visit us online at PKSafety.com.
Rehabilitation of underground pipes and subterranean confined spaces through a process known as CIPP or “cured in place piping” is quickly gaining momentum around the world. Water, sewer, gas, and chemical pipelines and other subterranean systems with difficult accessibility can now be cleaned and resealed without digging up the entire system.
CIPP creates a pipe within a pipe and can be used in a system with as little as a 4 in. diameter. Much larger pipes, over 100 inches, can also be serviced using this method. Little or no digging is required in this environmentally friendly operation. The process involves resin-saturated polyester tube liners being inverted or pulled through a compromised or structurally unsound pipe. This liner can be inverted using water or air pressure.
Curing of the resin liner is accomplished using hot water, UV light, or steam and takes from five to 30 hours to cure completely. In the end CIPP forms a tight-fitting, seamless, and corrosion resistant tube within the original pipe.
Of course there is quite a bit of confined space entry safety required for this type of operation. Entrants must be carefully trained using gas monitors as well as entry and retrieval devices. And there are several safety standards associated with CIPP including ASTM F1216 which uses test specimens oriented parallel with the pipe axis, as well as the Europe standard EN ISO 11296-4, which tests samples oriented in the hoop direction.
At the end of the day, this is a smart technology for many applications and helps utilities and municipalities as well as private projects avoid costly dig and replace methods.
If you have questions about CIPP as it relates to confined space entry safety, please give us a ring. If you have experienced any specific challenges installing CIPP yourself, we’d love to hear about it.
Flammable and toxic gas detection is a must for many oil refineries, offshore platforms, laboratories, chemical production plants, and public works facilities. If your work requires constant gas monitoring, you need a reliable, easy-to-maintain fixed gas sensor system that will warn you quickly if a problem arises.
How complicated a fixed gas system depends largely on the use of the data provided by the sensors. For example, if a fixed gas detection system is used only for warning nearby workers, then the outputs from the detection system can be very simple. However, if gas level data is needed to properly administer the site, data storage may be needed, and a more advanced system will be used.
Typically several fixed gas sensors are placed in the areas where leaks are most likely to occur. These are generally connected electrically to a multi-channel controller located some distance away in a safe location, though some locations will use sensors directly connected to the controller.
When choosing a fixed gas system, it’s important to know how the information will be used so the correct components can be purchased. While some systems employ remote pumps to pull the air from a specific location, others are diffusion sensors that test the surrounding air and can either be read at the source, like the RKI M2 series of stand-alone fixed gas monitors which also relays that information to a remote controller, or a less sophisticated system where the remote sensor relays the information which is only read at the controller like the RKI S2 sensors.
Regardless of the type of flammable or toxic gas produced in your facility, there are fixed gas sensor options to deal with it. When putting together multi-point systems the components must be compatible. Some systems will transmit carrying not only the output signal but also power to the electrical bridge circuit, which is located at the sensor to reduce signal voltage drop along the cables.
A qualified electrician needs to install these systems. It’s also worth noting in the beginning whether significant disruption to production will be incurred if the system needs to be offline for calibration and maintenance of the gas detection sensors. Some sensor/transmitters, like the M2 series, can use a magnetic tool for adjustment that does not require opening the unit for zeroing and calibration, and therefore doesn’t require the immediate area to be declassified when performing these tasks.
To find out more about fixed gas sensor systems, give us a call at 1-800-829-9580 Monday through Friday 6 am – 5 pm.
Thanks for reading.
Ideal for real-time monitoring of hazardous gases in confined space work, BW Honeywell’s GasAlert Quattro is a four-gas monitor that’s easy to love. It’s not apparent at first, but our five reasons will have you falling head over heels.
Generally speaking, full-size sensors last longer than their smaller counterparts. While the Quattro won’t win prizes for its physical dimensions, it is packed with four sensors for full spectrum gas monitoring. Now think about it for a moment. Multi-gas monitoring of Hydrogen sulfide, Carbon monoxide, Oxygen and combustible gasses in a single unit? Who can say no to that!
One Button Operation
You would think a multi-gas monitor requires a handful of buttons to configure. Not at all with the Quattro. From the very beginning, BW Honeywell envisioned a one-button system that’s simple and fool-proof to operate with or without gloves on. You save both time and money on personnel training. Most of all, you can be confident that should anything occur, your team can react in a timely fashion.
Long Battery Life
The portable Quattro shares many of its features with the BW Max XT II. The major difference being the Quattro does not possess an internal sample motor for pulling remote samples. As a result, the monitor lasts longer between recharges.
The Quattro is made for open air monitoring through diffusion. However, if confined space entry is required, a Confined Space Entry Kit is an option that allows you to remotely draw and test air samples before entering a permit-required confined spaces.
Tough as Nails
Dust and water resistant, the Quattro’s impact-resistant housing makes it suitable for even the most rugged of work environments. We are not suggesting you try, but Quattro gas monitors have a reputation for surviving long drops onto concrete floors without losing sensing capabilities.
Was there anything we overlooked? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve got questions about whether the GasAlert Quattro is the right monitor, feel free to call us at 800-829-9580 or visit us at PKSafety.com.
Confined space entry is a complicated business. But buying the tools you need to perform regular, compliant entry of a permit-required confined space (PRCS) doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve been in business longer than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been around, and it’s our business to know exactly what you need to be compliant with their most current regulations.
We’ve put together two confined space entry kits together that fit the unique needs of the two main groups of folks performing these tasks: city and utility workers and contractors. If you work for a water treatment facility, MUD, or site maintenance for light, medium, or heavy industry, chances are you have regular need for confined space entry equipment, and you’d prefer that equipment stays in good working order even with heavy use over the years.
Not to make too sweeping a generalization here, but many of the contractors we talk to aren’t in that type of situation. They often encounter a job where confined space entry will be required, and they need to do it the right way. And when this project is over, they don’t expect (or probably want) to be performing loads of confined space work. The kit we have put together for the contractor’s kit does not cut corners on safety. But it does arrive at compliant package that’s about $1,100 less expensive than our other kit.
The CS Entry Kit is our heavy-weight offering. Not in terms of actual weight: With an aluminum tripod and a blower that’s made of UV-resistant polyethylene, this kit can be lugged from site to site without much effort. It’s a complete Confined Space Entry System that utilities, water works, and wastewater treatment facilities all over the country are using on a regular basis. And that’s the real difference between these two kits: The CS Entry System kit is designed for teams that are performing PRCS entry on a regular basis. The equipment is a bit more robust, and the harness is more comfortable.
The Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit on the other hand also meets all OSHA requirements for confined space entry while still being economically priced.
For gas detection, the Entry Kit features the BW Max XT II 4-Gas Monitor. This handheld monitor features a big LED screen that’s easy to read, and it has an internal draw pump that can sample the atmosphere from up to 75 feet away. And while we don’t recommend it, the Max XT II has been thrown across a room, and dropped from significant heights, and it keeps on working.
The less expensive Contractor’s Kit also has a solid 4-gas monitor, the QRAE II. The QRAE II has an easy, two-button user interface, as well as a strong sample draw pump. Is this a durable, reliable monitor for gas detection? Absolutely. Is it the best you can buy? Probably not. No. But it’s a tool that has been used by thousands of our satisfied customers, and can be trusted to keep your team safe. The real question is: Does it provide safety to the levels required by OSHA. And for that, the resounding answer is Yes.
If you have questions about the kits, or you fall somewhere in between the two groups we have identified, give us a call, or contact us online at PkSafety.com Monday – Friday from 7am to 5pm PST. We are happy to answer your questions or help you put together a kit that best suits your needs.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.
If your company needs to supply personal hydrogen sulfide monitors to its employees, now is a great time to stock up on BW Honeywell Single Gas H2S detectors. BW Honeywell is the leader in lightweight, reliable H2S detection so finding a GasAlert Clip Extreme H2S Monitor on sale is like finding $20 on the ground. If you have lots of employees, it’s like finding thousands of dollars just lying around, and who doesn’t like to save money?
Workers use H2S monitors, and they lose H2S monitors. The BW GA24XT-H is bright yellow so even when it’s dropped in a dark corner of the work site, you can still find it. We don’t know what the ratio is of single gas detectors being used every day until the end of their two-year continuous lifespan and those that are dropped accidentally down a hole, but we’ve heard loss of these suckers is pretty high. Don’t ask how it happens. The GasAlert single gas series has an aggressive little alligator clip on the back to firmly attach it to clothing. But loss does happen. Stock up while prices are down.
Industries such as pulp and paper production produce invisible bucket loads of H2S as a by-product of wood breaking down into pulp. The petroleum industry deals with the stinky hydrogen sulfide gas all the time at their oil and natural gas wells, and especially at older production sites. In refineries where H2S is removed from natural gas and oil, and in pipelines used to carry unrefined petroleum, all workers are required to have these units clipped (securely) to their person.
Construction needs these H2S monitoring devices as well. During excavation work in old landfills and swampy areas, exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas can be very dangerous. These monitors provide great value for H2S detection for construction companies. Even light exposure can be hazardous. We know the old guys on the job site roll their eyes. Science is for wussies, right? But here’s how exposure breaks down, and this is why a bunch of those old guys have the shakes.
1,000-2,000 ppm: Loss of consciousness and very possible death
100-1,000 ppm: Here come the serious respiratory, central nervous, and cardiovascular system effects
150-200 ppm: Olfactory fatigue (sense of smell is significantly impaired)
100 ppm: Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH concentration)
5-30 ppm: Moderate irritation of the eyes. (Seems like a big jump to the next level but this list is from ACGIH and NIOSH)
5-10 ppm: Relatively minor metabolic changes in exercising individuals during short-term exposures
Less than 5 ppm: Metabolic changes observed in exercising individuals, but not clinically significant
5 ppm: Increase in anxiety symptoms (single exposure)
5 ppm: Start of the dose-response curve (short-term exposure)
0.032-0.02 ppm: Olfactory threshold (begin to smell)
Sewers, sewage treatment plants, manure tanks, and other areas where organic material break down are ripe for H2S production. Workers need to be aware of the heavier-than-air properties of this gas and remember to wear the monitors below their oxygen intake manifolds (their nose and mouth). The BW Honeywell monitors provide early warning that can save a life. And with these prices you can save life at a significant cost savings. That’s a win-win in any company ledger.
If you have questions about H2S monitors, we know everything there is to know. Seriously. If you have questions about bulk purchases of H2S monitors or specific applications, please give us a ring at 800-829-9580.
Thanks for reading.
When the oxygen content drops below 17%, but work has to go on, count on the PAS Lite SCBA system from Draeger. The PAS Lite is designed not just for breathing in dangerous atmospheres, but also for working in them. The components of the PAS Lite system work seamlessly together for comfort and extreme protection in some of the world’s most dangerous work or rescue environments.
The PAS Lite SCBA systems is comprised of a Draeger Panorama Nova P mask, a lung demand valve and hose, a 30-minute aluminum pressurized air tank, and a lightweight pack frame and fasteners. The system comes with a high-impact plastic storage case that is hi-viz orange so it’s easy to pick out in the event of an emergency.
The Nova P mask is made of EPDM rubber which is a synthetic elastomer with outstanding flexibility and comfort. The double-sealed design creates a tight, but malleable fit for a wide range of head and face shapes. The lung demand valve attaches easily to the front of the mask and immediately supplies air from the positive pressure air cylinder.
The entire system is supported by a carbon space frame and attached to the worker with non-metallic buckles. The carbon frame helps keep the overall weight of the system down to a very manageable 15 lbs. Like a hiking backpack, the PAS Lite system has shoulder straps, but most of the weight is carried at the hips with the wide, comfortable belt that snaps in the middle for easy donning and doffing.
Both the air supply hose and gauge hose are closely attached to the backpack frame to reduce the chance of getting them caught or tangled while working. These hoses can be switched to suit the individual worker’s preference. Another advantage is the hoses, if they become damaged, can be switched out without replacing more costly SCBA parts.
SCBA systems are used for confined space rescue, as an escape system for workers trapped in areas with serious IDLH atmospheres, and for required work in areas with less than optimal atmosphere. Draeger is a recognized worldwide authority on SCBA and gas detection technologies. For more information about SCBA, confined space entry safety equipment, or gas detection, please visit us online at www.PkSafety.com, or call us at 800-829-9580.
Some folks simply need their single gas monitors to go into alarm if gas concentrations reach dangerous levels. Many companies working with low-level or moderately dangerous environments are simply looking for a device that will allow them to meet minimum OSHA requirements. But for organizations that are serious about gas monitoring, Drager is already on the radar. PkSafety.com is pleased to be carrying Draeger gas monitor devices because they have such a consistently good reputation among confined space professionals. The Draeger Pac 3500 is a single gas instrument which personifies the Draeger commitment to excellence. This monitor features constant gas level readout capabilities and a range of other features we’ve highlighted in our video.
The Pac 3500 is designed to be a personal single-gas monitor. Draeger makes these monitors to measure three different gases – Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxygen (O2), or Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). An important feature of the Pac 3500 monitor is the constant read-out of the gas level, but if you prefer, you can have it just be an alarm monitor. In this mode, once the unit goes into alarm, it would display the gas in PPM (parts per million).
The Pac 3500 is a two-year disposable diffusion detector. An internal timer marks time once the unit is turned on. During that period, the 3500 should be bump tested to make sure it is responding to gas, but according to the manufacturer, the unit doesn’t need to be calibrated. Customers in heavy industry and in the oil and gas field trust Draeger products for their unmatched accuracy resolution. Patented XXS sensors read all the way down to .1 ppm and are among the very top of the industry for reliability and accuracy. Should the unit come into contact with dangerous levels of its specific gas, the monitor sounds a 90 dB alarm while LEDs flash and the instrument vibrates.
For more information, please respond to this post, or visit us at www.PkSafety.com.
The Accuro manual hand pump from Draeger is used in an incredibly wide range of industries for gas detection. Scuba divers use it to test the air from their pumps for carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), oil mist, and water vapor. Submariners use it to measure oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide, and hydrogen (both 0-2000 ppm and 0 – 4% LEL).
More often this versatile, non-electric bellows-style pump is used in industrial plants and factories to provide quick, reliable readings of everything from hydrogen sulfide to the more exotic gases such as ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen chloride (HCI). In fact Draeger has colorimetric tubes for an incredible variety of gases and measuring ranges. Over 200 types of tubes are able to be used to measure more than 500 different gases. From contaminants in compressed air to more technical gases produced in factories and laboratories the accuro pump, which also comes as part of a kit, is a relatively inexpensive and reliable way to do the important work of measuring gas levels. Specialized tubes can also be used over an extended period of time, such as a full shift at work, to determine workers’ daily exposure to onsite gases.
Draeger came out with their first detector tube in 1937. Since then, they have become the world leader in gas and vapor analysis. And while the Draeger company produces more sophisticated gas measuring devices such as the X-am 5000 four-gas monitor, the Draeger Tubes have been a user favorite for over 70 years. Likely it’s because the Accuro pumps don’t need to be calibrated or bump tested, and they have an extremely low cost of ownership over the course of their operating life.
If you’d like more information about using Draeger Tubes or the Accuro pump, please contact us online or give us a call Monday through Friday 7am – 5pm PST.
The X-zone 5000 from Draeger is designed to get workers out safely in the event of an accident. It combines the best of fixed and portable gas detection technology into a wireless and modular defense system against dangerous gas leaks.
Draeger has been the company that people who are serious about gas detection and safety have turned to for many years. The X-zone 5000 is another in a long line of innovative safety devices that uses cutting edge communications technology combined with top-of-the-industry gas sensors. Simply insert one of the Draeger X-am 5000 or X-am 5600 multi-gas detectors into the R2D2-like unit, and you have a diffusion monitor that will alert all workers in the area if a dangerous level of the tested gases is present with a (frankly) piercing audible alarm and red flashing LED lights.
The X-zone 5000 is a modular unit, so it can be linked with other X-zone 5000 units operating on the same wireless channel. Up to 25 units can be operating to protect workers around a work site. Once the units are communicating, any of the sensors that pick up gas will immediately go into alarm. The X-zone 5000 that has picked up the gas will alert workers nearby (and a long way off) and will flash red LEDs. The other units in the daisy chain will also go into alarm but will flash red and green LEDs.
This provides workers a pathway of safe exit. By staying away from the X-zone 5000s which are flashing all red, they know they are going toward an area that is free of gas, at least for the moment.
Another way the X-zone 5000 area monitors can help is with confined space entry. Attendants on the outside of a Permit Required Confined Space (PRCS) don’t need to see or be in communication with the confined space entrants in order to know that a dangerous atmosphere has developed. They can begin their emergency aid, or at least be ready to help far more effectively. And the wireless capabilities of the X-zone are far superior to hard-wired communication solutions.
Deciding which type of gas monitor is right for you is simple if you know what you need the monitor to do. The difference between the two main styles of monitors comes down to the way they sample the air. Here is a video we made recently that explains the difference between a diffusion and a pump-style gas monitor.
At PkSafety.com we carry both types. Single gas monitors like the MSA ALTAIR Single-Gas H2S Detector are something you strap to your belt or the front of your shirt and wear with you in areas that may have pockets of hydrogen sulfide. It warns you with beeps, flashing lights, and buzzing if the levels become to great.
A diffusion gas monitor is used by bringing it into areas where gas may be a problem. The sensors need to physically come into contact with the gas it is designed to monitor.
The other type of monitor is the pump monitor. 4-gas monitors like the BW Honeywell Gas Alert Max XT II or the RAE Systems QRAE II have internal pumps that suck air through a tube which can be lowered or pushed into the space workers are going to be entering.
Gas monitors with internal pumps are designed to pull air from a remote location to determine if the atmosphere is suitable for workers to enter. They generally cost more than non-pump monitors, they are often noisy, and they rattle when in use. But they provide a clear picture of the air in a confined space before workers enter. Some monitors such the QRAE II can be converted from pump to diffusion in order to save battery life and stop that incessant buzzing noise. If remote sensing is not necessary, this is sometimes a nice option.
If you still have questions about which type of monitor is best for your specific needs, or you just don’t like watching videos, give us a call. We have certified technicians and experts on staff to answer any questions you may have.
Paddle-gate! The great ping pong doping scandal of the 2012 Olympics. How did we miss this when it happened? The one opportunity for levity in our confined space world? How often does Olympic Ping Pong collide with sophisticated RAE Systems gas detection devices? Not often enough, in our view.
Since the 1970s serious ping pong players have apparently been souping up their paddles to increase performance. Early spin doctors found they could gain more control and even add speed by smearing bike tire repair glue and other substances on the rubber that covers the blades of their rackets. Up until 2008 this so-called speed glue was allowed in international competition. However new rules in 2012 banned it from Olympic play.
To catch paddle dopers, London Olympic officials used a MiniRAE Lite PID Monitor from RAE Systems to detect the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by modified racquets. Perhaps regulators chose the MiniRAE because it can display results from the testing in English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian, and Arabic.
The device is made to detect gases released from organic compounds, though it seems unlikely RAE Systems had this use in mind while developing this line of gas monitors. More often photoionization detectors (PIDs) are used for environmental monitoring on landfill sites, in petrochemical production, and for measuring spillage dangers and effects.
Paddle speed glue detection is serious business for those who play clean and have been practicing their table tennis moves 14 hours a day since being edged out of the medal rounds in 2008. A fair playing field (or table) free of VOCs isn’t too much to ask. Kills, drops, and chops, for those who have practiced long enough to be in the Olympics, must be done with skill, not glue.
Who is Gas Clip Technologies?
Whether you work in oil and gas, utilities, telecommunications, marine, or other demanding industries, you need portable gas detectors that are reliable and durable. Gas Clip Technologies (GCT), although a relatively young company, started a revolution in the gas monitor industry using quality products with innovative new features. According to users GCT gas monitors are affordable, reliable, and easy to use. However the reason they’ve been adopted so quickly are the unique new features.
“Innovation is the lifeblood of our business. We continue to build the latest technology into our products.” –Gas Clip Website.
How Do They Innovate?
GCT kept things simple for the end-user while offering innovative features users want. Their gas monitors are comparably priced to other monitors making them an even easier choice for purchasing managers. The hibernation mode offered on their SGC was so successful that BW Honeywell now offers a similar feature on their new single gas BW Clips.
The Hibernating SGC – Like most single gas detectors on the market it has a simple interface. It has adjustable alarm set points, real-time readouts, etc. The innovation comes from the hibernation feature.
Do you ever go for periods of a week or more not needing your gas monitor? That can be a huge waste of a gas monitor’s fixed life. The SGC offers significant cost savings for this situation. Using a GCT IR Link or SGC Dock you can place the SGC into hibernation. This pauses the monitor’s use of its fixed life. When you wake it up again it will continue counting down from when it was hibernated.
The MGC Infrared – Ever forget to charge your cell phone? Now consider if that were responsible for keeping you safe. Running out of battery on your gas monitor because you did not charge it long enough is dangerous.
The solution is the Multi Gas Clip (MGC). It has the longest battery life of any portable gas detector – 2 months. No need to charge or turn it off for 60 days. Shut down the unit nightly and the battery can last up to 4 months (but be safe and still charge it routinely).
What’s the secret of the MGC’s extended battery life? It uses low-power photo-metric technology for the detection of the combustible gases (LEL). Instead of draining the battery with pellistor technology, the MGC uses an IR source. This conserves power, so the battery lasts.
Gas produced and put into bottles for bump testing and calibrating gas monitors has a finite shelf life, and paying attention to that expiration date might save your life. Using expired gas can lead to incorrect calibration of your gas monitor.
Gas concentrations have been known to drop over time. Reactive gases such as hydrogen sulfide react with the material of the cylinder container, and tests have shown some levels to slip from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 6 ppm over a 12-month period. Since calibration gas can change so rapidly, it’s important to buy only from a reputable source. Saving money on gas is simply not worth the danger posed to workers who rely on correct readings for their safety. Remember, you only need one accident to make that $100 gas savings seems like the worst decision you ever made.
Because cal gas is regulated as a hazardous material when it is shipped, it will take longer and probably cost a bit more than most packages. Be sure to order a few weeks or even a month early if you see your gas supply is about to expire.
Having a quality 4-gas monitor like the QRAE II is a step in the right direction for confined space safety. However gas monitors require bump testing and regular calibration to maintain peak performance. Since your gas monitor might save your life one day, peak performance seems like a very practical bar to set.
To get the most from your QRAE II, RAE Systems created an Accessories and Calibration Kit (CKS2). The CKS2 provides tools that extend the capabilities of the monitor as well as providing the components for calibration and bump testing. All of the tools come in a hard carrying case with foam cutouts for the monitor and other tools.
For those doing confined space entry, the expanded capabilities gained by the CKS2 kit can be invaluable. If your QRAE II gas detector is a diffusion-only monitor, the kit includes a squeeze bulb hand pump. By attaching the hand pump and Tygon tubing to the monitor, air can be pulled from the confined space to your monitor and give you a reading before employees enter the area. If the space you are entering is wet, the kit also includes three water trap filters that will prevent water from being sucked into your detector and spoiling the results (and maybe your detector). These filters come in handy if you are doing work in tanks or sewers where it’s often soggy but all strata must be tested for gas levels.
Calibration of the QRAE II monitor is relatively easy once you have the proper tools. Check the video below for step by step instructions. The CSK2 Calibration Kit help simplify calibration by keeping everything you need it one place. It comes with a 4-gas canister of calibration gas and the required demand flow regulator.
The Confined Space Entry Kit for the QRAE II allows a diffusion monitor able to pump air, it provides tools for proper calibration and bump testing, and it keeps the sensors free from water. It makes the QRAE II a more powerful device, and provides all the necessary tools for proper calibration. All of this while keeping the QRAE II and kit organized in a handy carrying case that is easy to find when it’s time to test or service your monitor.
We wanted to take a few minutes to talk about our Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit. This is perfect for folks doing occasional confined space work who don’t want to make a big investment in equipment. The Kit meets all relevant OSHA standards but won’t break the bank.
It comes with a QRAE2 four-gas monitor. It’s one of our best sellers for confined space entry. The QRAE2 has an internal pump and a hose attachment that allows you to pull air samples from the space you’re about to enter. It’s is simple to operate – only 2 buttons – and it’s highly resistant to water and dirt.
The Harness, Winch, Tripod and Pulley in this kit are all from Protecta. They are designed to work together if there is an accident. This system allows an outside attendant to pull an unconscious or injured worker out of a confined space without having to enter themselves.
The Full-Body Protecta AB17530 Harness offers 5 points of adjustment and should fit folks in the medium to extra-large size range. It has a single dorsal D-ring where the winch cable attaches.
The tripod in this kit is a Protecta AK105A. It’s made of aluminum. It’s light enough for one person to carry and set up. The legs are retractable and marked so it’s easy to set up right the first time. This tripod meets or exceeds the 5000 lbs. required OSHA load capability.
The Protecta AK205AG winch that comes with the Contractor’s Confined Space Entry Kit attaches to the tripod leg and works well for occasional confined space entry jobs. If you are doing this stuff every day, there are winches that may provide easier movement through the site. But for the one-time or periodic confined space entrant, this is going to work great and meet all safety standards.
It comes with 50 ft. of cable and, like the other components, meets all the OSHA standards for entry. The cable from the winch goes through another component that folks often forget – the snatch block pulley – which hangs from the tripod.
All of these products are made to work together and the set-up is very simple.
The final piece of this Confined Space Contractor’s Kit is the Allegro 8-inch blower. This lightweight, durable blower has a corrosion- and UV-resistant polyethylene housing. It is designed to flush your work area with clean air and comes with 25 feet of ducting. The ducting can be put away for storage in a convenient case with built-in handles.
This is a great kit for contractors and other folks needing to perform occasional confined space entry. Assembly is a snap, and you can be sure all the components are going to work together just right. The Kit provides both compliance with the OSHA standards and real safety for your workers.
If your work requires more frequent confined space entry, you should consider our upgraded kit –the Confined Space Entry System – which features a more robust equipment list.
If you have questions regarding your specific confined space entry, please call 800-829-9580 or contact us on the web at PkSafety.com.
Thanks for reading!
The sensors in your gas monitor work in different ways to keep you safe. Some wear out relatively quickly, while others could conceivably last forever. Here is a very quick overview to help you understand basic gas sensor technology. We hope this information will allow you to see the benefits of regular maintenance, bump testing and calibration.
The most common sensors used in confined space work are Oxygen, % LEL (Lower Explosive Level), Carbon Monoxide, and Hydrogen Sulfide. However all sensors are not created equal. The methods used to detect the levels of these important gases are very different, and the sensor life and durability vary.
For instance, sensors for Oxygen (O2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) are generally electrochemical-type sensors. A measurable electric current is produced when a chemical reaction takes place inside the sensor. The measure is generally displayed for toxics such as CO and H2S in parts per million (ppm) and percentage of volume for O2.
While these are all electrochemical sensors, an Oxygen sensor is a “consumable” sensor, while the toxic sensors (CO and H2S) are generally “non-consumptive”. For an Oxygen sensor to work, it needs to convert lead into lead oxide and measures the chemical reaction. Even if the monitor is turned off, as long as oxygen is in the air, the lead is being converted and the life of the sensor is decreasing. Some folks remove their sensors and put them in air-tight containers, but since you have to warm up the sensor for anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours each time you plug it back in, the sensor savings can be negligible.
Toxic sensors are non-consumptive, meaning they don’t need to convert an element to create the reading. Generally these sensors have various electrodes and a small reservoir of some type of acid electrolyte. A measurable current is created as gas is encountered by the sensor, but neither the electrodes or the acid are depleted, so in theory, they could last forever. In the real world, however, they are damaged by contamination or leakage and that reduces the actual life to something like two to four years. Also, remember the little pools of acid? If these sensors are damaged, waiting to replace these sensors can sometimes create even more costly repairs to the monitor.
Finally we’ll talk about Lower Explosive Level (% LEL) sensors. These are solid-state catalytic sensors. Stick with us if your eyes are starting to roll up in your head from the excessive tech talk. They derive readings from two ceramic rings that go around a coiled wire. Each ring has a catalyst system that makes one ring active while the other is completely inert. When the monitor is on, the active ring burns any combustible gas it encounters, while the inert ring does what inert things do – namely nothing. The imbalance in the sensor circuit is measurable and can be displayed by the monitor (typically, but not always) as a % LEL.
LEL sensors, like the toxic sensors, can realistically last for quite a while and have been known to last for over four years. However, they are the most sensitive sensors in a four-gas monitor, and can break if the monitor is dropped. Highly fuel-rich but oxygen-deficient atmospheres can also lead to LEL sensor failure due to build-up of tar and unburned fuel on the activated ring.
All of this is just to remind you – sensors don’t last forever. Regular bump testing and calibration is the only way to assure the gas monitors on your job sites are performing and keeping workers safe as they are designed.
Thanks for reading.
The second in a two-part series on confined space gas monitoring:
They say that knowledge is power. This is certainly the case when it comes to safety in confined spaces. It is only after we are aware of the potential dangers of confined spaces that we can recognize a seemingly empty space as containing life-threatening possibilities.
In the first part of our Gas Monitoring discussion, we talked about Oxygen (O2) levels and Lower Explosive Limits (LELs) and how to monitor for them with your gas monitor. In this section, we’ll discuss the other two gases OSHA requires all confined space entrants to test for before entering – Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Hydrogen sulfide, the gas that smells like rotten eggs, occurs naturally in hot springs, natural gas and in crude petroleum. It also is produced by the breakdown of organic materials. H2S is heavier than air, so be sure to check all levels of your tank or space before entry.
Because of the distinctive smell of H2S, many workers think they can detect it without proper monitoring equipment. Rely on your monitor, not your sense of smell to detect H2S. With constant low-level exposure, or at a higher concentration, a worker’s ability to smell Hydrogen Sulfide will diminish even though the gas is still present.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is very common on job sites. It is produced from internal combustion engines – pumps, cars and trucks, or generators. A worker who breathes large amounts of CO displaces oxygen in their system. This can result in damage to the heart, brain and other important organs.
The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for CO is 50 parts per million (ppm). This means that over an 8-hour period a worker should not be exposed to more than 50 ppm. Your monitor will keep track of the total exposure over time as well as exaggerated short term exposure. All you have to do is keep track of your monitor.
For all the hazards of confined space atmospheres, proper monitoring will provide a roadmap for safe entry. Knowing what you are monitoring for and how it is produced will give you an added measure of protection when confined space entry is required.
While we sell just about every bit of safety equipment under the sun nothing is more popular at PK Safety than our gas monitors. We’ve been selling gas monitors since they were the size of a shoe box (some of them still are). Over the past few years one monitor – the GasAlert Micro Clip XL – has emerged over the years as the clear favorite for personal 4-gas monitoring.
The XL is actually the latest version of the Micro Clip XT. BW continues to improve the functions and battery life of Micro Clip and the XL is the latest advancement of this tiny powerhouse. On a single charge, the XL can be used up to 18 hours straight. A full charge can be completed in less than 6 hours.
The Micro Clip XL is a personal diffusion gas monitor designed to be worn on the clothing of persons entering a hazardous confined space environment. Weighing in at a mere 6.7 lbs. it’s light enough that workers forget it’s there until an alarm sounds. Actually, that’s not entirely true, the IntelliFlash which is an occasional flash of the LED alarm (without the audio of course) verifies operation and compliance to both the user and the supervisor.
The MicroClip XL is also and excellent choice for cold weather performance. And the tamper-proof, one button operation makes it simple to operate in the field and reliable for those tasked with compiling the data.
Obviously it checks for the standard 4-gases – O2, H2S, CO, and LEL of combustibles. But unlike some monitors, the MicroClip XL provides constant readout of the gas concentrations. Calibration procedures are simple. Full function self-test of sensor, battery status, circuit integrity and audible/visual alarms on start up and the units are compatible with the BW MicroDock II automatic test and calibration stations.
If you have questions about the MicroClip XL or you want to buy in bulk, please give our folks a call at 800-829-9580.
When considering which personal gas monitors to use for your facility the long-term cost of ownership is going to be at the top of your list. Replacing sensors and hardware over time can be expensive, but so can replacing entire monitors. The BW Quattro has a two-year sensor warranty which makes it a popular choice for companies who like to know when costs are likely to occur.
When considering the right monitor for your operation, you need to take into account a few critical bits of information. First how often are those sensors likely to need replacing. This is probably information you already have. If your sensors are subjected to a higher degree of exposure to the target gases, it may be that the Quattro is a good choice. Any sensors that go down can be easily replaced by BW at no cost as long as it’s within the two year warranty period.
Sensors aren’t cheap to replace. Often they are about half the price of a new monitor. That’s just how it goes. Some companies replace the entire unit after the two year warranty expires instead of replacing individual sensors. It’s kind of like the decision to repair a used car again. At a certain point, it’s not worth continuing to put money into.
The BW gas monitor housings are extremely tough. But they do occasionally go down. Display screens can go dark, housings can crack (though you’ll have to do something pretty drastic to do that), and filters can get clogged. Replacement parts are also available for the BW units. We carry every piece you’ll ever need at PK Safety. But you need to weigh the price of those replacement pieces, as well as the cost of having them serviced, against new units.
If you have questions about the monitors you own, or the ones you need, give our folks a ring at 800-829-9580. We’ve made a video about the Quattro that will answer other questions you may have about the monitor.
The first of a two-part series on confined space gas monitoring:
Unlike a raging river or pounding surf, the dangers of confined spaces are often silent and unseen. Unless a dangerous atmosphere creates a visible cloud of vapor, there isn’t any way for you to see what hazards lurk within a confined space. This is precisely the reason monitoring equipment is so vital to confined space entry.
While it isn’t possible within this format to provide a comprehensive guide for the use of all the different types of gas monitors out there, we will try to cover some of the monitoring theories that will apply to many types of the confined spaces. Only by consulting your user instructions from the manufacturer and training in non-emergency situations with your device can you hope to become proficient in understanding exactly what the information it provides means in terms of safety for you and your team.
To really know what sort of atmospheric hazards are present, your gas monitor must be functioning properly and calibrated. If you are new to confined space entry, or have not used a particular type of monitor before, consult your user manual and make sure all sensors have been properly treated or burned in and are ready to test for hazards.
Before you use your monitor to sample the air, it’s important to know what sorts of atmospheric hazards can exist in confined spaces and how your monitor will react to them.
Most modern 4-gas monitors will check for LEL, 0xygen, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide. Specialized monitors can also be specifically configured to check for other dangerous gases present in your industry.
When measuring for lower explosive limit (LEL) remember that not only do you have to understand how to properly interpret the information provided by your monitor, but you also have to understand that depending upon the density of the gas you are trying to monitor, concentrations may vary within the space. A gas that is heavier than air such as hydrogen sulfide will tend to accumulate near the bottom of a space, while lighter vapors like methane will rise. That is why samples must be taken from at least the top, middle and bottom levels of the tank.
Oxygen levels in a neutral location will be 20.9%. Higher or lower concentrations present serious hazards and must be closely watched. There are a number of conditions that might lower oxygen levels such as decomposing organic material in a sealed space or welding operations. The levels might also be lowered intentionally as with the addition of nitrogen gas to create an inert space, or carbon dioxide for fire suppression. In any case, in an area with less than 19.5% O2 content (the threshold for oxygen deficiency) a confined space entrant should not be allowed in without a positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus or positive pressure supplied air respirator.
An oxygen-rich environment has a whole other set of problems. Atmospheres with greater than 23.5% oxygen lend fuel to combustive materials, and items that might normally be difficult to ignite may burn easily. In particular, pay attention to things like flammable liquids (with FP over 200 degrees F), electrical equipment and clothing that can create static.
As with LELs, oxygen must also be measured at various levels within a confined space. The danger here is that you measure in the middle of the tank, and it is fine, but then when you drop your screwdriver and bend down to pick it up, you breathe in a heavy dose of H2S, and that can put you on the ground in two seconds flat.
We live in the real world here at PK Safety. We know you need to fulfill OSHA requirements for 4-gas monitors for workers performing confined space entry. We also know price is a consideration for every business. Luckily there is a solution.
The BW GasAlert Micro Clip XL is the perfect hybrid of affordability and rugged performance. This monitor is a step forward for BW as they have worked on extending the battery life of their confined space gas monitors. The Micro Clip XL can be operated for up to 18 hours on a single charge. Charging time for this monitor is only 4 hours.
The Gas Alert Micro Clip XL has sensors for hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), oxygen (O2), and the lower explosive limits (LEL) of a range of combustible gases. These are the standard requirements from OSHA for confined space entry.
BW Honeywell has been making reliable personal gas detectors for over 30 years. As one of the largest distributors of BW gas monitors, we’re able to provide some of the best pricing on the web. But gas monitors are an ongoing proposition. Depending on the scope of your work, you may need calibration services from our factory-trained technicians, calibration gas on an ongoing basis (make sure to check your gas expiration dates as the gas will degrade over time), and other supplies.
At PK Safety we aren’t selling toe nail polish and inflatable pool toys. Safety is our only business. If you have a questions about which BW monitor is best for your specific application, a call to our US-based customer service team will not be an exercise in patience or communications skills. You’ll get the information you need to make the right decision both in terms of safety and the bottom line. You can reach them at 800-829-9580.
Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS) entry requires specialized equipment. That equipment needs to be on-site and close at hand in case of an emergency. Creating checklists of all the items that need to be included for workers to enter confined spaces can be as lifesaving as the equipment they itemize.
Don’t trust your entry team’s lives to your memory of all the pieces of PPE required for entry. A simple checklist can create the types of routine surrounding PRCS entry that will avoid dangerous or unprepared work in these highly regulated areas.
Use the equipment checklist for periodic inspection of the items when they are not being used by workers. Essential safety equipment must be checked by on-site personnel to make sure it is functioning properly. Broken, frayed, uncharged or un-calibrated equipment can actually cause an accident when all other procedures in the confined space entry have been executed correctly.
Depending on your confined space, some, if not all, of the following equipment should be on site and recently inspected:
Simply creating a checklist is clearly not enough. The supervisor, entry team and others on the job site must be aware of its existence and understand that no entry is possible without fulfilling all necessary items. Obviously items that don’t work or can’t pass inspection can’t be crossed off your PRCS checklist.
When isolating or ventilating a permit-required confined space, it is critical that a competent person on your team take meter readings with a 4-gas monitor for oxygen (O2), toxic gases and if applicable, combustible gases (VOCs) with a PID to determine if the processes have been effective. Of course you already know this if you or your company are performing this type of work. But are you measuring for the correct PEL levels?
PEL limits change with some regularity, and what may be right one year, may not be legal the following year. Further what is a legal level in Arizona may not meet the Cal-OSHA standards in California. As an example, in 2010 over 200 regulation changes were proposed for existing federal PELs and 164 new substances were proposed that hadn’t been regulated in the past.
The suitable levels for each of the atmospheric hazards should be clearly listed on the confined space entry permit and it is the Confined Space Administrator that is obligated to know if any changes in the standards have occurred. To check the level of the specific chemicals you will be dealing with, you can search the OSHA PEL webpage. Additionally RAE Systems has a very good chemical PEL reference page that provides TWA (Time Weighted Average), STEL (Short Term Exposure Limits), and IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life and Health) generally given in parts per million (ppm), or sometimes in milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) for every many of the chemicals out there.
New gas monitors will always have the most up to date federal levels programmed, but these levels can and should be changed manually if there are changes in the laws or if your state has different requirements. If OSHA PEL or Cal-OSHA levels change, contact the manufacturer of your monitor for assistance or consult your manual for instructions on how to change the alarm levels.
A good customer (all our customers are good, of course) recently asked us to figure out exactly how many bump tests they would get from a 58L of NIST Traceable Gas for their new Gas Clip Technologies Multi Gas Clip (MGC) Monitors (with 2 month battery charge life). The quick answer – a little over 300, and maybe as many as 600. But there’s a catch.
Calibration gas has a shelf like. It’s longer than a gallon of milk, but still shorter than you might expect. The 4-gas mixture for the MGC has a six month shelf life. After that time the gas will begin to degrade and the specific percentages will no longer be so specific. If you haven’t used it by the date on the cylinder, you’ll need to discard it and replace it.
We came by our 300 bump test number by taking the flow rate of a regulator at 0.5 LPM. Worst case scenario it will take you take 20 seconds per monitor (really the time will be closer to 10 seconds – thus our possible 600 number). Using the 20 second estimate that equals 0.1666 liters (1/3 of 0.5 liters) of cal gas per bump test. 58 liter cylinder divided by 0.1666 equals a little over 300 tests.
Storing the cylinder properly is also important. Like a pantry for confined space safety, your gas should be kept in a cool dry place. Not always possible, but please avoid extreme high (100 degree F +) temperatures. The 4-gas (quad) mix has a relatively short shelf life to begin with. The trunk of a car would not be considered a good place to keep cal gas. In particular the H2S will deteriorate faster.
When transporting the cylinder, it should be protected from dropping or hard impacts. The aluminum cylinder is tough, but any compressed gas should be treated with respect. You are not able to take this on an airplane. When shipping, we use a heavier than normal box, and it is considered haz mat by UPS, etc., with special labeling and training for the shipper.
Calibration interval recommended by the manufacturer for the Gas Clip MGC is once every 6 months (180 days) minimum. For bump tests, best practice is before each use. This is particularly true for confined space entry. The gas detector is then verified to be working, with alarms functioning, before entering a potentially deadly environment. We have customers all over the block on this, mostly related to what their application is. But confined space entry is not something to skimp on.
Gas monitors need regular calibration and bump testing if you want to be sure they are working properly. Like a guitar, monitors can drift out of tune. You’ve got a couple of choices to get it working properly. And as everyone who owns a gas monitor knows – whether it’s a multi-gas monitor like the GasAlert Micro Clip XT, or a single-gas monitor like the Gas Clip Technologies H2S Monitor – a quick bump test before using it to protect your life is an excellent, and highly recommended idea.
I’m fully aware that the instructions for your disposable monitor say that no calibration is required for the life of the instrument. But bump testing the sensors is important. The sensors used in the disposable monitors are often the same as the ones used in unlimited life monitors, and those in other gas detectors are bump tested regularly.
Bump testing is easy. The basic concept is to expose the sensors to the target gas so you know for sure the monitor will go into alarm if it happens in the field. Whether you’re using a single gas monitor like the GasAlert Micro Clip Extreme or a multi-gas monitor, they’ll come with a clip and a bit of clear hose that you’ll secure over the sensor plate. Attach the other end of the hose to your calibration gas and regulator. Turn the monitor on and let it boot up. Then open your regulator and allow gas to flow until the monitor goes into alarm. This will take 10 seconds – certainly no more than 20. Turn off the gas, coil up your hose, and put it away till next time.
For calibration there are several options, and it’ll depend on the type of work you do, how many monitors you have that need to be serviced, and how often you use your monitors. We have several clients that use multi-gas monitors for environmental surveys. They only need them a couple times a year, so they send their monitors to us for calibration services each time.
Another option is a docking station. Draeger has a simple solution in their Bump Test and Calibration Station. It uses no electricity, so it’s great for remote operations in the field. Another option if your company uses BW is the MicroDock II. This expandable system can be configured to work with a range of BW monitors and has the added benefit of being a charging station as well. Workers come in from their shift, push the monitor into its cradle, and the MicroDock II does the rest. The next shift of workers can easily see which monitors are ready to go and which are still undergoing charging or sensor testing.
Of course calibrating manually isn’t difficult. But if your company has 500 monitors, you’d better hope you’re not the new guy in the department. Cause it’s going to take a while. We also have a nice, basic video that shows how to complete a calibration of a BW 4-gas monitor.
Before we upgraded our facilities, sent our tech guys to Level 3 BW Honeywell gas monitor training, and increased our factory-direct parts supply to become a BW Factory Authorized Service Center, these guys were already pretty unbearable. Sure it was handy to have someone around who could drill down to the smallest detail of monitor capabilities and explain error codes while grabbing their lunch from the company fridge. It’s the calibration knowledge, the sensor life, the warranty information – they just don’t stop talking about it.
Sure it’s great for our customers. If you need information about your GasAlert Micro Clip XT or want to know if your Max XT II that just fell two stories, but seems to be working fine is really ok (chances are it is), these guys can tell you.
But for those of us who have to be around them day in and day out, well, it’s no picnic. And if it was a picnic, they would be busy telling us the best way to pull samples from the double-door underground gas and electric company access manhole nearby or which monitor would pull samples the farthest.
It’s annoying. Trust me. But for you, it’s probably great. Do us all a favor, keep them talking.
The BW GasAlertMax XT II is a humdinger of a detector, both for its ease of usage and reasonable price. In my opinion, this is the best gas detector to buy if you’re entering a confined space or septic tank. This one button unit makes it perfect for both the glove crowd and the technologically challenged. Plus, its simple operation makes tampering with its functions nearly impossible (a helpful feature if you want to ensure that you crew doesn’t decide to change any o the setting without letting you know).
Many features make this gadget a must-have. An internal pump guarantees accurate readings and has a filter that you can see through a little window, so that you know when it is time for a replacement. It detects four toxic gases at one time, including the carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, oxygen, and LEL. The sensors that detect each of these gases are a cinch to switch out – simply unscrew the face plate, pop out the old filter, and snap in a new one.
Our customer really like the sampling pump hose connector on the GasAlert Max XT II because it allows you to sample the air in a space safely before you enter and because of the way that it is built in to the monitor. On other monitors it sticks out and is prone to breaking, but the placement on this sampling hose connector makes for a much more durable gadget.
Another feature that people love about this gas sniffer is it’s large display and bright color. Confined spaces tend to have less than spectacular light, so if you drop this detector on the ground, its bright yellow color makes it easy to find. The monitor is pretty durable and can take a beating. Plus, it’s hands free, so you can clamp it on your belt, pocket, or co-worker’s earlobe and continue to work with both hands.
Most gas detectors break the bank and require a PHD to operate. This one does neither. You won’t be sorry when it enters your life. It may even save it. (For more information, watch our product video on the GasAlert Max XT II.)
If your company is searching for personal hydrogen sulfide (H2S) single gas monitors, here’s a quick run-down of the best disposable monitors on the market. We find there are two basic groups of people buying portable single gas monitors, those who want the best price and those who want the best monitor for a discount.
The reigning champion of these devices in the inexpensive group is still the GasAlert Clip Extreme from BW Honeywell. This lightweight device has a standard measuring range of 0-100 ppm. No big surprises here. The pluses are the durability, reliability, lack of maintenance requirements, and of course the price. The BW Clip Extreme single gas monitors for H2S is currently under $100 and can go down to $90 if you are buying in bulk.
Another great option for an inexpensive H2S monitor to meet OSHA requirements is the Gas Clip Plus Hibernation Monitor. The point of departure for this device from it’s competitors is the hibernation feature. Unlike most disposable monitors with a two-year lifespan, the Gas Clip Plus offers companies the option of turning the device completely off and stopping the lifespan clock. This is a great option for situations where monitoring needs to happen for certain projects, but not on an ongoing basis.
If there is one company out there known for the sensitivity of their sensors, it’s Draeger. This is also the upper end of the price spectrum. For companies that are serious about knowing gas levels, the Draeger Pac 7000 is a heavyweight in a lightweight package. This model can be calibrated and has no fixed lifespan. It’s what we call a lifetime monitor because it can continue to provide service for years. The sensors are known to be low-drift, and the monitor provides a constant readout of hydrogen sulfide levels.
Slightly less expensive, and definitely smaller still are the RKI Instruments 03 Series monitors. These monitors are about the size of a pack of wooden matches. And they provide constant readout of the gas down to 1ppm. And they’re incredibly lightweight.
If you’re looking for these monitors, or you want to know how the monitors you company is currently using stack up against these models, give us a call at 1-800-829-9580 during regular Pacific time zone business hours.
Gas measurement is without a doubt the most important part of confined space safety.
Do it right, and you and your crew go home at the end of the day—do it wrong, and you might never go home again! So if you’re a newbie (or even a little rusty), you’ve got to do your homework.
Here’s the first lesson: get the right tools! If you already have a gas monitor, take it out and look at it. Without this device you are nothing! It always has to be with you in any confined space — no excuses! But make sure you have the right kind of monitor. A single gas monitor, for example, won’t give you enough information to enter a confined space safely. You’re going to need a pump-equipped gas monitor that tests for at least three common problems: dangerous oxygen levels, explosive gases and hydrogen sulfide. Why so broad? Because you can never know what a confined space will throw your way.
We applaud you if you’ve already got a multi-gas monitor with a pump. Really, we’re clapping wildly! But make sure you use it correctly. Always test multiple parts of your space. What do we mean? Well, the the thing about the three gases we look for is that they often collect in different zones.
Notice that in this scenario explosive gases gravitate toward the top of a confined space. Only test the bottom of a space, and risk blowing yourself to kingdom come. Only skim the top, and you chance missing hydrogen sulfide or dangerously low oxygen levels that could make you keel over. In short, skipping zones is a bozo move.
These lessons are pretty simple, but unfortunately far too many confined accidents happen because people throw basic safety precautions out the window. So, as simple as they might sound, they’ll help keep you and your team safe if you follow them. No doubt, there’s still a lot more to learn, but we’re here to help you along. Have particular concerns? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
We’ve had several questions lately about our UEi Test Instruments and it seems like a good time to review these smart, relatively inexpensive gas detecting devices. Unlike our more robust industrial gas detection units that need to meet OSHA guidelines for gas detection, the UEi units are mainly designed to meet the needs of HVAC professionals and for individuals who want to get to the bottom of a home or RV gas leak.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) detection is something that falls into both the professional and homeowner markets. The UEi CO71A for CO is programmed to alarm and display warning levels as per OSHA 8 hour exposure to Carbon Monoxide. The unit comes fully calibrated from the factory and has a 3 year warranty. This unit should be re-calibrated annually to maintain appropriate accuracy. If your work requires extremely high tolerances for sensor accuracy, you might want to consider having the unit calibrated more often that once a year.
UEi uses calibration gas prepared according to standards traceable to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). A calibration certificate is returned with the unit. If you require calibration, you can send it in to the manufacturer, and for $37.95 USD, they will calibrate and return the unit to you prepaid. For home inspectors doing regular CO analysis of the atmosphere in houses, the UEi CO Detection Kit is designed to check ambient carbon monoxide levels in areas, find leaks along pipes, and measure CO concentrations given off by furnaces or residential appliances. The kit comes with a flue probe, a temperature probe, tubing, and a protective carrying case.
The gas detection unit more frequently bought by our homeowner and RV owner customers is the UEi CD100A Combustible Gas Meter. This unit is optimized for natural gas or methane. However, the solid state sensor reacts well to a wide variety of flammable gases. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and propane are easily detected. Our customers use the CD100A regularly on boats and RVs to check the connections for leaks. This is in addition to the traditional use of finding gas leaks in the home.
With the flexible wand, and near instantaneous response, finding leaks, even small ones, is a snap with the CD100A. This unit can detect the following gases: Acetone, Industrial Solvents, Alcohol Jet Fuel, Ammonia, Lacquer Thinners, Benzene, Methane, Butane, Naphtha, Ethylene Oxide, Natural Gas, Gasoline, Petrol Propane, Halon, Refrigerants, Hydrogen Sulfide, and even Toluene.
If you’ve got questions about our home and HVAC gas detection units please give us a call at 800-829-9580.