As with any tool, proper maintenance is crucial to the tool performing its job properly. A gas detector is a tool that is used to ensure that you make it home alive at the end of the day. With that being said, it is very important to properly maintain these tools. Obviously, gas detectors are a staple for protecting workers from inhaling toxins. Also, they are a resource for determining possible explosions. CO2 is heavier than air and can easily settle into holes or pocket. This presents a double-edged problem. You don’t want to inhale CO2, but it also can be an explosive condition that is waiting to happen. Gas detectors can also help ensure that downtime will be minimal and your operation will continue to run as expected. Gas monitors that are properly maintained will help everyone get a better grasp on their job site which will allow safety officers to have the correct PPE on hand and protocol for a disastrous event.
Proper maintenance begins with keeping you monitor clean and free of obstructions to the sensors inside. You should never use a chemical or abrasive cleaner on your gas monitors. The monitors should be wiped down with a damp cloth that can take off the dust, dirt and grime that accumulates on the monitors. Most monitors use some sort of filter that will help keep dust and liquids from the internals of the monitor. A meter without a filter or a dirty filter is much more prone to failure. Filters are very cheap to replace and should be replaced regularly. The monitors should always be inspected as well. You will need to be sure to check it for any cracks, faults or broken pieces. If you are using tubing, be sure it has no kinks or lacerations that can affect its performance. If anything looks out of place, ask for a replacement or a repair before using the gas monitor that was issued to you. Batteries should always have a fresh charge to ensure that your life line does not go down in the middle of a job, leaving you vulnerable to these gases.
Every day before heading into the work area with your monitor, it is crucial to perform a bump test. It is also imperative that a bump test not be confused with a calibration. A bump test should be done with a bottle of gas that will trigger the alarms on the monitor. Expired gases should never be used to perform a bump test. Calibration gas naturally breaks down over time. If the concentration of the gas on the label and that concentration of the gas in the bottle is different, your bump test is dead in the water. If the alarms do not go off when performing your bump test then something is clearly awry with your monitor. A calibration will make sure that the monitor is accurate. Reading gases in the air and accurately reading the percentage of gas in the air are two totally different things. Humidity, lead, phosphorous, high or low temperatures, high concentrations of gas or vapors, and rough handling can all lead to what is known as “calibration drift”. Even though the gases are detected, the percentage reading can be way off. Most customers will have their monitors calibrated every 3 months or so and adjust up or down depending on workload and work environment that is encountered. When performing your bump test, this is a good time to check the pump as well if your monitor is outfitted with one. After your monitor has completed its startup and is running in detection mode, place a finger over the inlet to block the air flow. If the pump stall alarm sounds, then your pump is working as it should.
Sensors should be replaced regularly as well. The sensor is what analyzes the gases in your environment and tells the meter to signal an alarm. When performing your bump tests before heading out for the day is where you will find if your sensors are good or bad. Sensors are pass or fail; with that being said if you do your bump test and the reading isn’t correct then you can bank on your sensors needing replacements. Over exposure to gases can shorten the life span of a sensor as well as contaminants from solvents or abrasives and contamination from dirt or other debris.
The last step to using your gas detector is simply to USE YOUR GAS DETECTOR. Too many times workers will say, “Oh, I am just going to Unit B for a minute or two, I’ll be fine.” This is not a good practice to find yourself in. There is not much reason with today’s technology to not grab your gas monitor. They are smaller than ever, better battery life than ever and are more technologically ahead of what was used in the past. The new GX-3R is 2.2″ W x 2.55″ H x 1.02″ D and weighs only 3.52 ounces. It is smaller than your cellphone which is probably already in your pocket! You can view more specifications on the RKI GX-3R monitor here https://jmtest.com/i/rki-gx-3r-four-gas-monitor/.
JM Test Systems carries a complete line of gas monitors, calibration gas, sensors, and anything else you need to ensure that you or your team stay safe on the job. If we can help you with getting your monitors purchased, rented, calibrated or serviced please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our rental inventory can be viewed here https://jmtest.com/c/rental/rent-gas-detection/ . Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-353-3411.