Product Focus: Instruments/Monitors

Trends in ... Instruments/monitors

Not just another tool

Workers who consider gas detectors and monitors “just another tool” are making a mistake, according to Jeremy DaValle, gas detection professional, training team lead for Industrial Scientific Corp., based in Oakdale, PA.

“Users of these monitors should be trained to understand the importance of the instruments due to the specific hazardous risks of the environment in which they work,” DaValle said. “With a higher emphasis on training, users will not only understand the importance of using the monitors, but also the proper operation of them to ensure that they will be used properly in the field.”

Robb Zurek, communication and sales marketing manager, oil and gas, chemical segments, for Pittsburgh-based Dräger, said users not taking full advantage of what instruments and monitors have to offer is a serious issue. “In situations where there isn’t the time or personnel available to study the data and make decisions based on what it says, the robust capabilities of modern instruments [are] wasted,” he said.

According to Zurek, “extraordinarily smart” technologies are being used to accumulate and process large amounts of data. He described a portable monitor that records who is wearing it, when it is being worn and if it is alarmed when placed in a calibration station after work. “This data can be used to identify problem areas in a plant, for example, or record data over a period of time that illustrates a compliance issue,” he said.

Maintenance and training

DaValle said instrument and monitor users must have a good plan in place for proper maintenance, including bump testing, calibrations and servicing equipment for repairs. This, he said, will ensure “the lifesaving devices will function as they should in the field.”

Zurek, meanwhile, stressed the importance of employee training. “Regardless of the capabilities a particular instrument does or doesn’t have, if someone doesn’t use it properly they are putting themselves at risk,” he said. To avoid improper usage, Zurek recommends providing task-appropriate protection to workers, as well as ensuring operators are fully trained to use any given piece of equipment. As he said, “the best, most advanced technology in the world is useless if it’s not right for the job or used incorrectly.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association