Missed opportunity in gas detection?18 November 2021

Data not only has a role to play in driving automation and improving efficiency but critically has the ability to make positive changes to a range of strategic workplace issues. One of the most compelling of which is the potential to improve safety standards, allowing for more accurate and immediate management of safety risks. By Andrew Bligh, system services & training manager, Dräger Safety UK

At the core of the concept of Industry 4.0 is the collection of data from monitoring processes in real time.

There are indications that not all companies are making the best use of the data generated, therefore missing the opportunity to optimise safety in the working environment. Research by Dräger Safety UK has shown that less than a third (28%) of managers from all sectors involved believe that their organisations are advanced in the take up of technology (see also www.is.gd/cumope). While there is movement in the right direction when it comes to managers’ perception of how mature their organisation is in this regard, there is still some way to go to achieving widespread use of safety data.

These findings suggest that there is more work to be done to fully utilise the available technology to secure a safer and healthier working environment.


For example, when it comes to gas detection, analysing data produced by the gas monitoring and detection devices offers valuable insight, both in the short and long-term. This data can also be evaluated to serve as the basis for more effective risk assessments and health and safety policies.

Through analysis of information from multiple sources, forward-looking predictive assessments become possible; for example, the chances of a gas leak in an industrial facility can be identified at an early stage and timely prevention measures can be initiated, optimising the facility’s safety standards.

Smart sensors on fixed safety monitoring equipment proactively alert staff about safety-related parameters and interact with other systems, as well as identifying maintenance and servicing schedules. While

In food and drink environments, a gas detection system can be set up to not only sounds an alarm when the gas readings rise above a safe level but also link to a ventilation system. This means that not only are workers alerted to unsafe gas levels, but the control system mitigates any impact by automatically mitigating any impact. An added benefit of this type of approach is that systems are more efficient; instead of ventilation fans running permanently, they can be triggered to turn on only when required, based on the condition of the atmosphere, as reported by the gas detection system.

Advances in technology also mean that fixed gas systems are increasingly used in conjunction with individual portable gas detectors.These portable devices allow for data to be transmitted to the fixed control system using Bluetooth or similar technology, to monitor the locations of workers relative to workplace hazards, for example alerting on entry to a restricted area.

Industry 4.0 technology has been adopted in many industries to manage safety in recent times in manufacturing and industrial settings. But it is important that those responsible for workplace health and safety have a wider understanding. They should be aware of the full range of workplace safety technology, as well as consider how they can more strategically exploit existing technology to support effective solutions to their health and safety requirements.

Operations Engineer

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