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The 3 Things Leading to a Safety Gap in Gas Detection

The 3 Things Leading to a Safety Gap in Gas Detection

When it comes to challenges in gas detection, an expert’s view can reveal safety gaps even in those sites where there’s already a good safety culture in place. Richard Dunn, Offering Manager Lead at Honeywell, revealed in a podcast for Occupational Health and Safety magazine the findings of his research on the gas detection challenges that companies can have when it comes to keeping workers safe on the job.

Dunn and his team researched what may be missing in terms of safety even in companies where there has been extensive preoccupation for workers’ protection. From the oil and gas industry to shipbuilding sites, turns out there can be quite a divide between full time workers and contract workers.

“We looked at where the big gaps were and we noticed something very clear, that full time employees on site, often had gas devices, they were better equipped and the contractors that were coming onto site for things like shutdowns and turnarounds often weren't as well equipped,” said Dunn of his team’s findings.

This is a situation which, says Dunn, reveals a difference in safety culture: “We found it strange that it was the same site, same risks, same challenges, but then safety culture was different” between full time workers and contractors.

It’s a situation which has largely gone unnoticed. But lately, because “there's been a lot of instances, in the oil and gas sector in particular, where there have been fatalities and injuries,” and investigations reveal that some of these incidents happen to contractors, things are starting to change.

Organizations are now looking to improve worker safety, and they should start by lessening the divide. It’s a safety gap generated by three main issues:

1.       Training – Dunn’s research revealed contractors are not trained to operate the gas detection devices. Turns out contractors need training and understanding of gas detection, and companies should make it much easier for contractors to be able to adopt a better safety culture.

2.       Cost – Contractors can come to a site for a couple of days, weeks, or months, and they receive only the basic gas detection devices, usually for a single gas, as a lot of the gas detection solutions that are on the market are costly.

3.       Simplicity – Gas detection devices should be intuitive and simple to use, so that safety culture doesn’t slip when contractors are on site.

Dunn sees several changes in how companies address this safety gap in their gas detection system, as a consequence of these findings. 

“So, what we'll start to see now is rather than just having a standard single gas device as a basic supply, they're really starting to push more on the multi gas side”, and that means that it's consistent detection across the board, “so it doesn't matter if you're a full time employee or a contractor coming, the standards are set at a certain level on that side, and all employees on site have to comply with those standards, because they'll be glad to hear that companies are making moves to ensure that full time and part time contractors are given the same level of multi gas detection.”

The three main issues which generate the safety gap are exactly what was addressed in the development of the next generation of Honeywell portfolio of gas detectors. Learn how the Honeywell BW Icon and Icon + multi gas detectors help simplify gas detection and contribute to a culture of worker safety.