Live Monitoring: The Key to Elevating Real-Time Gas Detection

With automatic status updates, workers can focus on the job at hand, improving their safety and productivity—and safety personnel can rest assured that no alert will go unnoticed. (photo courtesy Adobe Stock Images)

By: Cynthia Horn, Contributor

Across any plant operation, safety managers and industrial hygienists play a huge role in making sure everyone goes home at the end of the day. They’re constantly keeping their finger on the pulse of operations—meaning the term “real-time detection” isn’t new.

However, the term real-time detection has morphed significantly over the years. Once, safety professionals relied on flame safety lamps. Later, in the 1980s, real-time gas detection became synonymous with electronic monitoring equipment. Today, the introduction of devices supported by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and robust live monitoring software solutions are what most professionals rely on.

With today’s live monitoring technology, safety professionals can gain the insights they need to act quickly in emergency situations. But what else can live monitoring do to elevate safety programs?

Real-Time Alerts and Emails and Texts: Oh My!

Real-time detection today relies heavily on IIoT technology and bespoke software solutions. These developments have made it so users can easily share alarms and gas readings between workers and safety managers in real time, making it easier to respond to gas hazards, panic alarms or man-down alarms quickly.

To elevate safety programs, managers can even receive this information directly to their own gas detector or use remote live monitoring options to see readings instantly on a phone or laptop through real-time alerts, emails or text messages.

Through live monitoring, safety managers and industrial hygienists can also see where personnel are consistently facing hazardous exposure levels so they can drive proactive safety improvements to prevent accidents or injuries.

Live monitoring software, for example, can mark the location of an area where workers are constantly experiencing exposures by connecting to pre-placed beacons or generating heat maps. This information is then sent to the cloud in real time to indicate any hazards, which can then be communicated to stakeholders via email or text.

With peer-to-peer, satellite, wi-fi and cellular alert options, users can also create a more robust safety program by enabling team members to look more deeply into what’s happening around their site. This includes alarm reports highlighting who had which gas monitor; if they were exposed to any hazards; where the exposure came from; and more. This can help further increase situational awareness and decrease emergency response times by ensuring your gas monitors always have a reliable connection. 

While deep insights are important for your safety program, the ability to access real-time data, such as gas readings or emergency alerts, from anywhere with emails and texts, is key in ensuring you aren’t leaving workers high and dry.

With today’s live monitoring technology, safety professionals can gain the insights they need to act quickly in emergency situations—as well as elevate their company’s safety programs. (Photo courtesy Industrial Scientific Corporation)

Tracking Alerts 24/7, Even When You’re Asleep

Real-time alerts and notifications are great when they can be acted on instantly, but what happens if a safety professional is in a meeting or dead cell zone? What about when safety teams are at home and asleep, but there are still workers who operate around-the-clock? What happens to employees in different time zones?

Some companies aren’t equipped with internal staff that can guarantee reliable monitoring and response times, if something happens to their around-the-clock workers. However, by adding a 24/7 professional monitoring service, in addition to IIoT-backed equipment and other live monitoring solutions, industrial hygienists and safety managers can easily fill this gap.

A 24/7 professional monitoring service can vary wildly based on a facility’s needs, so how does it work? In general, once the service is connected to an IIoT-backed device, any alerts will be sent to both on-site safety managers, as well as the professional monitoring service, which will respond according to a user’s established escalation plan.

When creating an escalation plan, the facility’s safety managers and industrial hygienists should determine it to ensure that every alert is addressed exactly how they want—including escalation plans based on who the user is; which type of alarm has gone off; and more.

For example, it could be established that, if there is a man-down or a panic alarm, the professional monitoring service will call the user’s cell phone. If there’s no response, they will call 911 and provide the user’s last known location. In other instances, the established escalation plan could look like calling the user’s phone and, if there’s no response, calling the team lead, supervisor, etc., until the situation is appropriately handled.

Implementing a professional monitoring service, in addition to live monitoring solutions, can help ensure everyone stays safe on the job—no matter the time of day. It also eliminates the need for manual check-ins with lone workers, thanks to automatic status updates. With these automatic status updates, workers can focus on the job at hand, improving their safety and productivity—and safety personnel can rest assured that no alert will go unnoticed.

Cynthia Horn is an Application Specialist at Industrial Scientific.

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