Safely Speaking

What Challenges Will COVID-19 Present for my Gas Detection Fleet?

by Kyle Krueger
District Manager 
Industrial Scientific

April 6, 2020 | Printed with Permission

Over the past few weeks, I have had numerous conversations with health and safety professionals. Many of these folks have been tapped with either leading or heavily contributing to their respective COVID-19 response plans. However, during these difficult times, the ever-present challenges with managing a gas detection fleet still exist. Unfortunately, these challenging times may manifest even more complexities in maintaining a safe gas detection fleet at the very moment where your time is more constrained than ever. I have created this living document to help users of gas detectors during these times. The article below is a broad-based resource of any gas detection user. However, if you have specific questions or clarifications, it is best to check with the manufacture of your gas detector. 

Challenge #1: How do I properly clean/sanitize my gas detector? Because many gas detectors are both A). Worn in the breathing zone and B). Often part of a public fleet, it is a good idea to routinely clean/sanitize your gas detectors. Here is a link to a short video I put together.

Challenge #2: What are the proper ways to use both hand sanitizer and a gas detector? Many sensors within gas detectors will react to the alcohols that are inside hand sanitizers. Because the use of hand sanitizer is likely increasing, it is essential to understand some calls you might be getting. Here is the link to a brief video I put together to illustrate this.

Challenge #3: How can I distance my docking stations? Often your docking stations are placed together in communal areas for ease of access and use. However, for organizations wanting to follow social distancing guidelines, the proximity can present challenges. If you are considering separating your docking stations, keep in mind a few things you will need.

1. If the docking stations are clustered or manifolded together, you will need a new regulator(s) and bottle(s) of calibration gas

2. Access to power supplies.

3. Possible ethernet access, although most docking stations will not need an ethernet port to operate.

Challenge #4: How can I properly clean my docking station? Because many docking stations are communal, it is also essential to clean them. To do so, here is some general advice. Consider using the same bleach-based mixture mentioned in Challenge #1 for any parts where the monitor contacts the docking station. For other areas of the docking stations (screens/buttons/etc.), the water mixture might cause problems due to their inherent adversity to water. For those areas, you might want to use Isopropyl alcohol (90% or above). However, make sure when using any alcohols that you allow enough time for those to off-gas before docking a monitor.

Challenge #5: How can I remotely bump test, my monitors? Bump testing is a crucial part of everyday maintenance for gas detectors. However, many remote workers may have lost access to their standard docking station. To do a remote bump test, you will need the following:

  1. A regulator and bottle of gas
  2. Tubing
  3. A cap or “calibration cap” for the monitor

You can either use a standard regulator and standard bottle of gas to accomplish the task. Or you can consider using more compact solutions designed for this application.

Additionally, I would advise that users place their instruments into a “bump test” mode for this task for two primary reasons:

  1. The bump mode will ensure that all sensors have passed the bump test vs. relying on just hearing an alarm
  2. When reviewing your gas detection data, if not placed into a “bump mode,” these can easily be confused as exposures.

Learn more on the “bump test” here >>

Kyle Krueger is a published author and speaker within the health and safety industry. He serves as a District Manager for Industrial Scientific. He has over 15 years of experience in the gas detection industry in Sales, Product Management, and Support roles.