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HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES


CARELESS FUNCTION TESTS COST LIVES


Stephen Mellor, Product Specialist for Air Products Specialty Gases, warns us of the increasing dangers facing workers due to the absence of adequate safety checks on gas detection equipment.


Carrying out a function test to make sure portable gas detection equipment is working properly is relatively easy to do, and takes only a few seconds of your time. Not doing it, can, and sometimes does, cost lives.


It would be easy to assume the wide range of industries that rely on equipment to detect toxic atmospheres regularly check to ensure theirs is working properly.


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In actual fact, this critical test is sometimes forgotten or not carried out rigorously enough. The catalogue of tragic incidents or near- misses, proves how work still needs to be done to encourage industrial users of gas detection equipment to adopt a testing policy as part of a responsible operating regime.


Virtually all the world’s largest manufacturers of gas detection equipment


recommend it is tested each day before use. By European law they must provide a means of doing so. In Europe there is also key guidance document (BS EN 60079-29-2:2007) covering the selection, installation, use and maintenance of detectors for flammable gases. It states: “Inspection and field checks are intended to verify that the apparatus is in a working state. It is recommended that it is


done by personnel actually operating the apparatus and it is strongly recommended that it is performed each day of use.”


Gas detectors may go wrong for a variety of reasons and all manufacturers agree that it is necessary to check portable gas detectors between calibrations. In some instances, detectors are used in harsh environments and may be exposed to physical


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