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Portable vs. Fixed Gas Detection System


The main difference between portable and fixed gas detection systems is the monitoring capabilities and limitations they have. Portable instruments can warn workers of dangerous gases upon entry of an area while fixed instruments provide continuous monitoring within a specific location of the workplace facility.

Although both systems can improve workplace safety, one may be better suited for the facility. When you’re deciding on which method to use, consider the following:

Reason for detecting gas

Gas Detection is often necessary or desirable for a number of reasons. The use of a gas monitoring system, with appropriate action taken if dangerous levels of gases are detected, can help to prevent an explosion or can help to prevent worker injury or exposure to toxic gases. Action can be taken, and initiated automatically by the gas monitor, to help prevent the gas level from rising further. Such action could be the automatic shut off of gas valves, turning on a ventilation fan, shutting down a process, or audible and visual alarms to alert and evacuate personnel. In some situations, the gas monitor is used for process control.

What is the nature of the work?

First of all, when deciding on a gas detection system, it is essential to consider the operation that will be performed if the standard procedure is to enter confined spaces, for example than portable instruments may be more beneficial.

What hazards may be present?

Within every industry, the present atmospheric hazards differ. It is crucial to fully understand the dangers and risks associated with the contaminants that may be apparent in the air. From there, the appropriate gas detection system can be implemented. For example:

Flammable gas detection for worker and plant safety:

Flammable gases and vapours pose a threat of explosion, which can maim or kill personnel and cause property damage. Typically first alarm levels are set to 5% LEL (this is 5% of the amount of gas necessary to cause an explosion). If gas sources are automatically shut off, or ventilation fans turned on, it can prevent the gas level from reaching a potentially flammable level.

Oxygen detection for worker safety:

The Oxygen level in normal fresh air is approximately 20.9% Volume. Reduced Oxygen levels can cause dizziness in workers and can increase the potential of passing out. If levels are too low it can cause serious brain damage or death. In some working or underground environments, low Oxygen conditions can be formed either by displacement of the Oxygen by another gas or by consumption of the Oxygen in the area by a chemical or biological process. An Oxygen monitor can help to prevent injury or death by providing an early warning of reduced Oxygen concentration. 

Toxic gas monitoring:

Toxic gases such as H2S or CO can be present in refinery or petrochemical applications, car parks, and many other situations. Monitoring of these gases and appropriate action is taken if alarm levels are exceeded, can help to prevent injury or death. In Semiconductor plants, and many other plants and factories, often (toxic) gases are used in a process, or can be generated by a process. Monitoring of these gases can help to alert personnel to potentially dangerous situations.

Do hazards chronically exist?

In most facilities, it is vital to recognise if the potential hazards are known to exist in the areas where workers are present chronically. In this case, we recommended that a fixed system may be necessary. Control Equipment offers a wide range of portable and fixed gas detection systems, which are designed to help maintain safety within the workplace.  Our portable monitors allow ambient air monitoring from different locations while also being unobtrusive to the user. Additionally, our fixed gas detection systems are versatile and are capable of detecting a wide range of toxic gases.


To learn more about our gas detection capabilities, please contact us today. 


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