man with a hardhat checking a gas detection monitor

3 Gas Detection Practices to Leave Behind in 2023 and 3 to Take with You

Improve the safety of your workers with new approaches to gas detection and safety programs.

In the blink of an eye, 2022 is long gone and 2023 is in full swing. Children are back in school. Adults are back at work. Some people are already busy working on their goals—both personally and professionally. Others are just getting started.  

Whether your organization offers a minimalist approach to safety operations or boasts a more robust model, your goals around protecting workers from gas hazards can range from improving on last year’s exposure metrics and preventing equipment failures to eliminating avoidable gas exposures. No matter your goals, implementing a robust, full-service gas detection and maintenance program can make achieving those goals easier.  

While everyone’s gas detection and safety programs look different, there are still ways you can achieve the next level of gas safety for your organization. Here are three gas detection practices to leave behind in 2023, as well as three to take with you, to best achieve your safety goals this year.  

1. Leave Behind the Hidden Hazards Found in Confined Spaces 

It seems like no matter what you do, confined spaces on your site still have hazards—and it’s putting your team at risk. With the right gas detection program in place, you can uncover any and every hidden gas hazard within a confined space before entering so you can prevent exposures before they happen.  

In some cases, it can be as easy as placing an area monitoring that automatically sends data back to hole watches in real-time so they can prevent a dangerous entry from happening. In others, it can involve workers easily adapting their monitors from personal monitors to sampling equipment with easy-to-use slide-on pumps—with one less monitor to juggle so they can get to work quicker.  

Plus, once data is picked up from an area monitor or workers’ monitor, safety personnel can automatically track gas hazard levels all from one dashboard—no matter their location. So as gas levels change, they can ensure workers are making the right decisions. If a team member does still go down, safety teams will not only know immediately, but they’ll also know the exact cause to ensure that rescue teams are prepped, preventing even more accidents.  

2. Leave Behind Poor Team Communication 

In most aspects of life, communication is key—and gas detection is no different. That’s why you should leave poor team communication behind in 2023 to help improve safety operations. Instead of asking your workers to check in more frequently with each other or safety personnel, you can rely on gas monitoring equipment that automatically shares real-time gas readings, man-down alarms and panic alarms between both peers and safety personnel. This means the entire team knows who is in danger and why.  

With this level of communication between team members and devices, for example, hole watches can gain direct visibility into confined space entrant meter readings. This enables them to mitigate any gas hazards before an evacuation is needed—or worse. Plus, by automatically sharing real-time gas readings, organizations have eliminated up to 60 percent of would-be rescuer deaths in confined space entries.  

3. Leave Behind Poor Data Management 

The final thing to leave behind in 2023 is poor data management in your gas monitoring programs. With a fully equipped gas detection safety program, you’ll be receiving a lot of information, and you need to be able to easily process the information, find historical data and more to make the best decisions for your team.  

In addition to previously mentioned examples, proper data management will allow you to know the risk of recordable incidents through real-time tracking and predictive information (depending on your application). With this information, you know your readings are always accurate, providing an additional layer of assurance for employees who work in hazardous locations.  

Additionally, by simplifying the management of your gas detection data, you can expedite reports by keeping all maintenance records, data logs and alarm data in one, easy-to-access spot. So whether you’re working with local compliance agencies or looking to run predictive models, you can find the data you need to get the job done.  

4. Add Improved Emergency Response Techniques 

In any safety program, gas detection or not, having the proper emergency response plan in place is critical. In 2023, think about adding new gas detection solutions that enable safety personnel to respond quickly and effectively in emergencies with equipment that lets them know where workers are with location-based alerts and notifications—including who entered a confined space or hazardous zone, how long they were there, what they were exposed to and more.  

Additionally, adding a full-service gas detection program can help improve emergency response techniques by providing instant text and email alerts with both location and hazard details. This allows safety teams to monitor, escalate and respond to workers as they need help. Plus, the insights and information can be used to quickly make smart, safe, data-driven decisions rather than relying on instincts in emergency situations.  

Furthermore, for remote workers in the field, you can eliminate manual check-ins with reliable gas monitors that can communicate with each other and safety personnel so you can know where workers are, who is impacted and more.  

5. Streamline Operations to Increase Equipment Uptime 

In its simplest form, to have an effective gas detection program, you need equipment that works. But you also don’t want to waste time repairing equipment. In 2023, aim to add more streamlined operations to help increase equipment uptime. This can look like different things depending on your organization and gas monitoring program.  

Some full-service gas detection programs can help teams increase equipment uptime by providing painless maintenance solutions. With 24 to 48-hour turnarounds on replacement equipment for some programs, you can ensure operations never stop due to faulty equipment and that your people are safe.  

In some situations, this can also look like reliable backups to your organization’s fixed systems. This can be achieved by adding easy-to-use, multi-gas area monitors that can run for up to 25 days (or indefinitely with solar power). In addition to being a backup to your fixed systems, you can minimize setup times for any of your gas detection needs with drop-and-go area monitors that feature out-of-the-box connectivity via wi-fi, cellular, satellite and other gas monitors.  

6. Implement 24/7 Monitoring Solutions 

Everything you leave behind and take with you in the new year all roll up into one thing: adding a 24/7 monitoring solution. This allows safety personnel to easily gain real-time visibility into the overall health of the entire site, as well as the ability to prevent hazards or respond in an emergency with real-time data and information  

Adding a 24/7 live monitoring solution to your gas detection program can also help streamline operations. By implementing location-based alerts and notifications, you can see when workers are entering specified zones or confined spaces, as well as know how much time they’re spending in different zones to better allocate resources.  

With this information on one dashboard at your fingertips, if an incident does occur, you can spend less time investigating and respond to workers immediately if and when they need help.  

Additional 24/7 monitoring solutions can include call center agents who continuously monitor gas detector readings and escalate incidents according to a configurable response plan. For example, if a worker’s monitor goes into alarm, an agent will follow your designated response plan until the situation is safely addressed. This means workers get the help they need when they need it, all while increasing site capacity so you can handle other tasks.  

At the end of the day, everyone’s gas detection and safety programs are different, but by putting a solid foundation in place, you’ll be able to streamline operations, improve communication and much more to ensure the safety of your workers in 2023 and well beyond.  

This article originally appeared in the March 1, 2023 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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