Oxygen Gas Detection and Detectors
It’s an invisible and sometimes odourless danger that the human eye or nose can’t detect. Preventing a tragedy can be so simple and you wonder why these incidents are still happening. We just had the tragedy of the Brisbane man falling from a scaffolding due to improper safety regulations.
Installing a fixed or portable Oxygen gas detector in your laboratory or research facility is essential and responsible, not to mention, the required safety equipment.
What is an oxygen (O2) gas detector?
In environments where oxygen levels are critical for safety, an oxygen gas detector is a valuable tool for detecting the presence or concentration of oxygen in the air. This device is commonly utilized in industrial settings, laboratories, and confined spaces to ensure a safe and secure working environment.
There is either Oxygen depletion or Oxygen enrichment.
It is important to be aware of the potential for oxygen levels to decrease in certain environments, such as labs, confined spaces, industrial areas, and high altitudes. It is crucial to recognize and measure symptoms of oxygen depletion to stay safe. Certain workplaces such as hospitals, medical labs, and skin banks that utilize Liquid Nitrogen should be especially cautious, as this substance can displace O2.
It is recommended to take necessary precautions to avoid any potential risks.
What to look out for O2 depletion
Maintaining safe oxygen levels is important for the health and well-being of living organisms. Exposure to low oxygen levels can cause various symptoms like giddiness, confusion, weakness, impaired breathing, damaged organs and reduced cognitive function. In addition, it may increase health risks and weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases. Oxygen deprivation can also affect the cardiovascular system, leading to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that oxygen levels remain within safe ranges to avoid any negative effects on the body.
Signs of Oxygen Depletion:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Rapid heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Cyanosis: Bluish discolouration of the skin, particularly the lips, fingertips, or nail beds.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are certain risks associated with oxygen enrichment, such as oxygen toxicity, fire, and explosion hazards. In order to ensure safety during this process, it’s crucial to have access to proper specialized equipment.
What to look out for O2 (Oxygen) enrichment
When dealing with O2 enrichment, it is important to consider certain factors and take precautions. O2 enrichment refers to increasing the concentration of oxygen in an environment, with applications in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and aerospace. However, it also poses certain risks, so caution is crucial. Here are things to look out for when working with O2 enrichment.
Signs of Oxygen Enrichment:
- Increased fire risk
- Rapid combustion
- Accelerated corrosion.
- Oxygen toxicity – like Oxygen Depletion
Measurement of Oxygen Depletion or enrichment
There are two primary types of oxygen sensors
Electrochemical oxygen sensors are widely used for measuring accurate oxygen levels. These sensors consist of a working electrode, a counter electrode, and a reference electrode immersed in an electrolyte.
Paramagnetic oxygen sensors utilize the paramagnetic properties of oxygen, which means that oxygen is attracted to a magnetic field.
Paramagnetic sensors are highly accurate and precise, making them suitable for both portable and fixed instruments.
They are commonly used in applications where continuous monitoring of oxygen levels is required.
Both electrochemical and paramagnetic sensors provide reliable and accurate measurements of oxygen concentration and levels.
The selection of the detection principle depends on factors such as the specific application, required sensitivity, response time, and cost considerations.
Installing Oxygen gas detectors, correctly
The detection principles for oxygen (O2) vary depending on the type of sensor used.
Proper placement of oxygen (O2) detectors is crucial to ensure accurate and effective monitoring of oxygen levels in each environment. The specific guidelines for detector placement may vary depending on the industry, regulations, and the nature of the space being monitored.
However, here are some general considerations for placing O2 detectors
- Identify the potential hazard areas: Determine the areas where oxygen levels need to be monitored. These areas typically include confined spaces, storage areas with oxygen cylinders or tanks, laboratories, industrial facilities, or any location where oxygen enrichment or depletion could occur.
- Consider ventilation and airflow: Consider the ventilation system and airflow patterns within the space. Place detectors in areas that are likely to represent the average oxygen concentration. Avoid locations near air vents, windows, or areas with significant airflow that may affect the accuracy of the readings.
- Locate detectors at breathing zone height: Install detectors at a height where they will be able to detect oxygen levels at the breathing zone of individuals present in the area. Generally, this is around 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) above the ground.
- Install multiple detectors: How many gas detectors you need will depend on the size and layout of the space, it may be necessary to install multiple detectors to adequately cover the area.
- Consider potential oxygen sources: Identify potential oxygen sources or areas where oxygen enrichment might occur. These could include oxygen storage or distribution systems, welding or cutting operations, or locations where oxygen is released as part of a process. Place detectors in proximity to these sources to ensure timely detection.
- Comply with relevant regulations: Ensure compliance with applicable safety standards and local regulations governing the specific environment you are working in.
It’s important to note that the placement of O2 detectors should be done by trained professionals familiar with the industry’s specific requirements and regulations.
- Ensure the device is calibrated.
- Position the sensor in the area where you want to measure oxygen levels. Be mindful of the sampling location, as certain factors like ventilation or localized oxygen sources can affect the readings.
- Allow time for stabilization.
- Record the readings and act accordingly.
- Remember that if you suspect low oxygen levels or oxygen depletion in an environment, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. If oxygen depletion is suspected in an enclosed space, leave the area immediately and seek fresh air or contact emergency services.
How often should gas detectors be calibrated?
In general, most gas detectors, including oxygen gas detectors, are recommended to be calibrated at least once every six months.
However, certain situations may warrant more frequent calibration
In hazardous environments, precise gas measurements are of utmost importance. Over time, gases may impact detector accuracy, making it crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines and industry regulations for regular calibration at recommended intervals. This ensures that O2 detectors with shorter lifespans or more maintenance-intensive requirements maintain their accuracy, thereby enhancing overall workplace safety.
Where to buy Oxygen gas detectors?
It’s tempting to buy go to your closest hardware store and buy an O2 detector from Bunnings, but don’t be fooled by the importance of high-quality and accurate Oxygen gas level detectors to keep you and your employees safe.
Give Control Equipment a call and we can advise you on the most cost-effective and accurate gas solutions.