Archive for March, 2020

Why Your Gas Detection Systems Need Regular Calibrations

Posted: March 15th, 2020

The first gas detection systems were very primitive. One man on a mining crew would walk down a mine shaft with a lit torch and cover himself with a wet blanket. If he encountered dangerous gas, the flame would ignite it, and the damp blanket would protect him. Of course, the protection frequently failed, and many men were lost.

Gas detection systems eventually improved to where canaries replaced men. The canaries reacted loudly to the presence of gas before it became harmful to humans. Though undoubtedly cruel to the birds, it saved many men’s lives. Fortunately, modern technologies have come a long way since those early days. However, unlike their predecessors, contemporary gas detection systems require regular calibrations. The expert team of technicians at All Protect Systems are registered with the Canadian Fire Alarm Association and are up to date with the latest standards and codes.

Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHS)

The Canadian OHS has strict rules governing the use of gas detection systems, and enterprises must conform to these safety regulations. Besides using the appropriate gas detection equipment for your location, you must have them calibrated regularly, not just at the time of installation. Some manufacturers only require semi-annual or quarterly calibration, while others recommend monthly service. The OHS may conduct random visits to your place of business, or they may respond to an employee complaint. 

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

The IEC is the international standards organization responsible for all fields of electrotechnology. Their bulletin titled IEC 60079-29-2:2015 gives strict instructions for selecting, installing, using, and maintaining gas detection equipment in both groups one and two. Group one includes equipment measuring flammable gases in underground coal mines, and group two covers electrical devices used in industrial and commercial applications.

Gas Detectors Require Proper Maintenance

Don’t be lulled into complacency by the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Both managers and workers can take the proper functioning of a piece of equipment for granted. Since the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, regular calibration for an otherwise reliable gas detector may get overlooked during routine preventative maintenance schedules. Though natural, this is absolutely the wrong thing to do. 

Some workers in plant environments even consider their sense of smell to be superior to the gas detection equipment. Just because someone noticed a gas smell before a detector once upon a time, that doesn’t make it a safe method for something as life-threatening as dangerous gas. Some harmful gases (like carbon monoxide) are odorless, and by the time you smell something, it may be too late.

Why Gas Detectors Need Regular Calibration

A catalytic sensor’s performance usually degrades and fails from exposure to industrial toxins. Your gas detection equipment is in that environment for a reason, and over time, even safe amounts of these chemicals will ruin your sensors. Calibrate them on schedule or even sooner if they show abnormal signs of wear, or anytime they have been bumped, dropped, or knocked over.

Trained technicians must perform these checks using a precise standard gas mixture. The controller’s zero and span levels must be tuned accurately. While the older and less-expensive systems required two people to perform the calibration, one technician can service modern, high-quality models.

Regardless of whatever type of gas you’re monitoring, or which kind of sensor you’re using, do yourself a favor and have them calibrated regularly. While it may seem redundant and unnecessary, calibrated equipment can reduce your workplace risks and save the lives of your most valuable assets, your employees. Please consider the professionals at All Protect Systems. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, they service the surrounding area. Call them today to schedule your gas detection system calibration!

Training Employees On Using Fire Extinguishers Safely

Posted: March 2nd, 2020

Fire extinguishers are a vital part of any safe workplace, but not everyone knows how to use them. Proper knowledge and training of how to operate a fire extinguisher could save critical minutes in an emergency, and make the difference in getting employees to safety. Ensure that everyone in your workplace is properly trained on how to use a fire extinguisher, by following a few simple guidelines.

There are two key components to training employees on how to use fire extinguishers – making sure that training is done correctly and consistently. Correct training means having a skilled instructor who understands the technical equipment and fire code regulations and can answer any questions your staff may have. Consistent training involves having regular meetings and updates to refresh workers’ knowledge of the equipment.

We recommend bringing in a fire safety professional to provide fire extinguisher training. The correct use of a fire extinguisher should include knowledge of the P.A.S.S. system, which is an acronym for “Pass, Aim, Squeeze, Swap.” Make sure that you and your staff are comfortable with these four steps:

  1. Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
  2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the trigger in a controlled manner.
  4. Sweep the nozzle of the fire extinguisher from side to side to cover the entire area.

We strongly suggest employees commit the P.A.S.S. system to memory, and that you or a department supervisor test your employees on a regular basis. However, operating instructions for fire extinguishers should also be clearly visible for anyone who may be a position to use the fire extinguishers in your workplace. Section (1) of the Ontario Fire Code requires that portable fire extinguishers be mounted so they are visible and accessible at all times, while Section states that operating instructions for extinguishers should face outward for visibility when extinguishers are located in cabinets, shelves or wall recesses.

But there is more to fire extinguisher safety than just knowing how to operate the extinguisher. Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) recommends that proper fire extinguisher training should include learning the locations of extinguishers, the types of fire most likely to occur in the workplace and the proper extinguishers to use in each instance, markings on fire extinguishers, the importance of sounding fire alarms, health and safety hazards, protective equipment and more.

WSPS provides resources on fire extinguisher safety, including consulting services and online courses. The team at All Protect Systems Inc. can also provide information about resources and training for employee fire safety.

Consistency is important when it comes to training both new and old employees. Training should be scheduled regularly in the workplace, at a minimum of once a year. Retraining can be scheduled as often as needed. Look at each training session as an opportunity to build confidence in your staff’s emergency skills. Fire safety training should also be included in the training and orientation of all new employees.

Remember that different people learn in different ways, so be prepared to provide more than one method of training. Hands-on training is always effective, allowing employees to handle and operate the fire extinguishers themselves. However, it’s also helpful to provide written instructions, links to videos, and the opportunity to talk one-one-one with a fire safety expert, so staff can absorb knowledge in the way that works for them.

A workplace emergency, like a fire, can be a stressful and chaotic time for both employees and supervisors. Proper training about fire procedures and equipment can help everyone to handle the crisis safely and smoothly. Contact the team at All Protect Systems Inc. if you have any questions about fire extinguisher training, equipment or workplace safety. We’ll be happy to work with you to make your workplace a safer place for your employees.

Image: Pixabay