In any workplace, the safety of employees is of the utmost importance. This is why it is important to equip your workplace to withstand hazards and to inform you and your employees of when it is important to evacuate. Read our earlier blog article for other surprising reasons for a gas detector.
This is why fire alarms, smoke detectors, gas detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors are all important elements of running a safe and secure space. The best new and innovative detectors can be found by going through a knowledgeable company like Australian Dynamic Technologies.
However, many individuals don’t understand why they implement the precautions they do, which can be dangerous when it comes to knowing exactly what a leak means. Understanding the difference between natural gas and carbon monoxide in a workplace, and what the presence of that gas means, can lead employees to be safer and more mindful, and to know what to do when one of these alarms goes off.
What does a gas detector do?
The primary job of a gas detector is to detect the presence of natural gas in the air.
Natural gas is a combination of gases including methane, ethane, propane, and other gases. Methane makes up the majority of the natural gas, so when it escapes into a space, it takes up as much space as possible, pushing the oxygen out.
While typically safe to work with, can be dangerous if large amounts are put into the air supply. This is why a leak is so dangerous, and why a gas detector is important to alert employees that their air supply has become polluted.
Evacuating when there is too much natural gas in the air means that employees can avoid some of the serious risks that come with a gas leak of this nature, including:
Risk of Asphyxiation
As oxygen in a space decreases to make room for the methane, it leads to a number of asphyxiation symptoms that mimic what one might begin to feel when approaching a high altitude. This is because your red blood cells can’t pick up as much oxygen to carry to your organs.
This reduction of oxygen in the space leads to light-headedness, dizziness, and fatigue, and in severe cases can even cause an individual to faint or pass out.
The risks in the workplace as a result of this leak don’t just come from a reduction of oxygen; they also come from the increase of methane. Methane is incredibly flammable. This means that if it gets into the air in any significant way, it increases the likelihood that electrical appliances that will cause sparks can ignite the methane, resulting in a dangerous and possibly fatal explosion.
What does a carbon monoxide detector do?
A carbon monoxide detector should alert you to the presence of dangerous carbon monoxide, or CO, in the air.
Compared to natural gas, which smothers oxygen out of the space and takes over, carbon monoxide is poisonous to breathe in. When an individual breathes in carbon monoxide, it binds to the red blood cells. These cells are the cells that carry oxygen to your organs, but if they are occupied with carbon monoxide, they can’t do that.
This binding of carbon monoxide to the red blood cells results in a reduction of oxygen getting to your organs, causing the same asphyxiation symptoms that methane does, but faster. Fatigue, headache, and shortness of breath are the early symptoms of this process, but higher concentrations and increased exposure can be fatal.
Which detector do you need?
So, what type of gas detector do you need? Unfortunately, a gas detector can’t detect CO and a CO detector can’t detect natural gas. Depending upon your needs, if you want to protect your workplace against both hazards, you should have both types of equipment.
Get reliable gas detection technology
Keeping a detector in the workplace from a trustworthy company like Australian Dynamic Technologies means being able to anticipate these consequences of a gas leak before the gas is fully in the space and causing damage. Contact us today to learn how we can help keep you and your employees safe.