How to decide what portable gas detector one needs?

Choosing the right portable gas detector for your company is not always that easy. The market is flooded with Out-of-the-Box solutions that at first glance look as if they might fit
your requirements. However, your company is unique, why should a generic solution provide the answer to your challenges?

Nevertheless, choosing the right portable gas detector is not rocket science either. It is a simple elimination process in which you must answer the following 5 questions for yourself:

  1. Which gases are used in the processes or can occur on-site?
    Depending on the answer, the solution might be as simple as a one-gas detector or a demanding as a multi-gas device capable of supporting highly specialized sensors. All that is important now, however, is that you have a complete list of the gases that may occur.
  2. How long are your employees exposed to these gases?
    We tend to forget that every one of us is permanently exposed to gases. They are called the atmosphere. It goes without saying that gas detectors must warn of suddenly occurring dangerous gas concentrations. However, it is at least as important to monitor the permissible workplace concentrations. Good portable gas monitors protect against both acute and long-term risks.
  3. Are there special requirements regarding explosion protection?
    In principle, any electronic device can become an ignition source. Where Ex-zones are designated, only appropriately certified equipment may be used. Even more demanding requirements apply to the mining industry.
  4. Do some or all devices have to feature special functions?
    The most common additional function is probably a pump. Health and safety regulations all over the world require that Confined Spaces must be cleared before they can be entered. Failure to do so properly is one of the most frequent causes of fatal accidents at work worldwide. Remote monitoring of gas detection devices is also becoming increasingly important. The keyword here is Connected Safety. GfG uses radio modules to inform the supervising person or a control center about alarms, emergencies, and the gas concentration on site. It is important that the chosen method of communication also works reliably on-site and ensures that interrupted connections are indicated immediately. A sometimes overlooked requirement is battery life. The gas detector must have a rechargeable battery that will last for long working days including travel times. Special requirements arise from the use of pumps, radio links, or sensors with increased power consumption.
  5. What is the total cost of ownership?
    The last point to consider is the price. You run a business therefore costs are of importance, but compared to the costs associated with even a small accident or short production downtime, the money you might save by buying something cheap is negligible. Choosing a quality product might even provide an opportunity to save on insurance costs, because you can prove that you’re actively improving safety, adhering to compliance regulations, and thus minimizing insurance risks. That does not mean that one has to neglect the cost involved. In addition to the initial costs, the expected lifetime of the sensors, the costs for replacement sensors, the daily bump tests, and the regular maintenance have to be considered. The estimated TCO will provide better guidance on what product to choose than the device’s purchasing price.

In the end, you will always need to speak to the supplier of your choice, to ensure that the sensors have the correct resolution, that all potentially occurring gases are monitored, that
national and international safety standards are observed and all the criteria formulated are met. Nevertheless, those 5 steps should provide you with a sound base to reach a decision.

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