Product Focus: Instruments/monitors

Trends in ... Instruments and monitors

Embracing new technology and preventing misuse

By Tracy Haas, editorial assistant

When used properly, instruments and monitors can provide workers with critical safety information, such as indoor air quality or if a confined space has a toxic level of gas.

Donald P. Galman, marketing communications supervisor for Lincolnshire, IL-based Honeywell Analytics, said new IAQ devices have sensing platforms that can “monitor carbon dioxide or volatile organic compounds, plus temperature and humidity, giving the commercial building facility a complete IAQ solution.” He also said the touchscreen technology in these monitors can help simplify installation, maintenance and user operation for IAQ screening.

Dave Kuiawa, senior manager of customer operations for Oakdale, PA-based Industrial Scientific Corp., mentioned a similar device used for gas monitoring. “One recent device that has proven its value is the instrument docking station,” he said. “This device is designed to accept a gas monitor for the purposes of charging, downloading data, bump-testing, calibration and diagnostics.” Kuiawa explained that these docking stations often are connected to the Internet or servers so important data can be stored and analyzed in a central database. This helps management understand what they are “doing right” with their gas-monitoring program and what areas need improvement, he said.

Preventing misuse

Galman recommends tight control of IAQ equipment access. “Multiple levels of password security can be assigned, effectively preventing those without qualification from tampering with the unit or performing specialized tasks, such as calibration,” he said.

Kuiawa pointed out a variety of dangers regarding gas detectors: Workers ignoring alarms, turning alarms off when they are sounding, or simply not using the detectors.

“As strange and surprising as this may seem, investigations of gas-related fatal incidents often find workers not using their gas detectors at all,” Kuiawa said. He recommends a data management system that provides complete insight into the conditions and proper use of the equipment. “This will ensure that your team has the data needed to take the corrective and preventive actions to keep people safe,” he said.

Kuiawa also recommends regular maintenance and repairs. “Cost-effective, timely and painless service is critical and required to keep instruments in proper working condition and ready to protect,” he said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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