RESEARCH into gas detection in the workplace has revealed an “alarming” number of safety concerns.
According to the study less than a third of managers are ‘very confident’ that the gas detectors in their premises actually work. And despite the fact that frequency of testing was ranked as the most important factor in ensuring workplace safety, many managers believe their detectors are not tested regularly enough.
The research was commissioned by electrochemical-sensor manufacturer Analytical Technology Inc (ATI) in response to concerns in the water/utility industry about methods of safe gas detection. One hundred people were interviewed across six industries, from food and beverage manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing to water/utilities, and were drawn from various managerial levels.
Research focused on three main areas of interest: current awareness and concerns around gas detection, the purchasing of detectors and factors influencing it, and testing. Managerial staff and their workforce expressed different opinions across a number of important issues. Asked about the procedure if all the detectors in a plant failed, almost a quarter of managers said they would carry on as normal. In contrast, only 8% of their workforce would continue in the potentially dangerous working environment.
While 80% of factory/plant workers were concerned about the risks that gas poses in their workplace, in many cases they were unaware if there are detectors in place to ensure their safety. ATI said that situation highlighted a clear need for procedures to be put in place to enable protection of work forces and compliance with industry regulations.
An auto test function, which automatically checks that equipment is working correctly, was identified as a necessary characteristic of a reliable detection set-up, and 89% of those working with auto test detectors in place said they would never use a system without this function.
Michael Strahand, ATI’s general manager Europe of Analytical Technology, said the research was necessary to highlight the risks posed by gas in the workplace. He added: “In order to minimise risks and ensure safety in the workplace, it is necessary to implement reliable gas detection systems with the ability to automatically test themselves to ensure they are working.
“These devices can measure and monitor harmful levels of gas, providing early warning of gas escapes and allowing for timely remedial or protective actions to be undertaken.”