Page 12 - OHS, November/December 2021
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from, but either multi-spectrum triple
The Technology Mix
Industrial applications and processes often involve the use of dangerous flammable, toxic and asphyxiating gases. Inevitably, these gases can escape, threatening those working within plants and those living nearby. Unfortunately, these gas releases may escalate, resulting in an environmental incident, explosions or even loss of life, in addition to serious reputational damage. The good news is that solutions are readily available to identify gas leaks early and help prevent those events from happening.
The use of multiple layers of detection significantly increases chances of identifying flammable gas leaks before they escalate into life threatening fires and explosions. Using a layered system that integrates a variety of gas and flame detection technologies enables optimal detection of flammable gas risks, and ultimately, safety managers can benefit from this early warning by taking actions for hazard mitigation, and most importantly for life protection of workers.
Jason Winburn is the Senior Product Manager for Honeywell.
1. publications/OSHA3843.pdf
2. fatal-occupational-injuries/fatal-occupational- injuries-by-event-drilldown.htm
3. products/safety/gas-and-flame-detection/ industrial-fixed/searchpoint-optima-plus-point- infrared-gas-detector
4. campaigns/safety/searchline-excel-plus-and- edge-open-path-gas-detectors
5. campaigns/safety/searchzone-sonik- ultrasonic-gas-detector
6. products/safety/gas-and-flame-detection/ industrial-fixed/fs24x-flame-detector
7. products/safety/gas-and-flame-detection/ industrial-fixed/fs20x-flame-detector
6 or ultraviolet plus dual infrared7 flflame detection can detect fifires caused by gas leaks from long distances with low levels of nuisance alarms.
These gases can be toxic and highly combustible, so working with or around them can put workers in high-risk situations.
neighboring plants have leaks of their own that need to be addressed. It also provides critical data on threat levels based on gas concentration and size, enabling plant operators to make informed decisions.
But even open path infrared gas detection is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Since flammable hydrocarbon gas from a leak must physically pass between the transmitter and receiver pair to activate an alarm, risk remains that gas leaks may go undetected if the line of sight is temporarily obstructed by a passing train or parked truck, underscoring the need for multiple gas detection solutions.
Layer 1c: Ultrasonic Gas Leak Technology
Detecting a gas leak early is key to preventing major disruptions to plant operations and preventing a catastrophic fire that could cause harm to workers. This is where ultrasonic gas detection technology5 comes in. The technology can ‘hear’ the ultrasounds emitted by escaping gas at the speed of sound, buying plant personnel critical time to respond. Even small and low-pressure leaks can be
identifified, eliminating challenges other gas detection systems face like changing wind directions or gas dilution in the open air.
However, ultrasonic detection alone is not enough. Only pressurized gas can cause an ultrasonic detector to activate, meaning non-pressurized leaks will never be heard. Also, interference from other ultrasonic noise sources present in the application can be louder than a small leak and can limit the detector’s listening range. Finally, ultrasonic gas leak detection will alert you to a leak but will not provide any indication of the gas type or concentration. For these reasons, a fully layered approach is needed for facilities to maximize their safety efforts.
Layer 2: Flame Detection
Flame detection is the final, critical layer of protection when working around flammable gases. If gas leaks go undetected and ignite into a fire, flame detectors can quickly identify the radiant energy produced by a fire’s flames and send out an alert, allowing personnel to intervene before small fires escalate into a disaster. There are different technologies to choose
12 Occupational Health & Safety | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

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