Real-time gas detection data is emerging as a top requirement for gas detection programs. Challenges getting real-time gas detection data are being solved with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi, cell, and satellite networks. But it is very difficult to understand what data is needed in real time. Real-time data from safety systems is voluminous—vehicle data, lone worker data, gas data, GIS data, and biometric data, are just a few sources. All of these could potentially be relevant in a gas detection program. However, in an emergency situation, a supervisor doesn’t want to be inundated with real-time alerts, just the data that is actionable and meaningful in the moment.
Talking with customers across continents in industries spanning oil and gas, waste water treatment, and manufacturing, three real-time data points emerged as essential.
- Gas detection data – Gas detection should be the basis to build real-time data initiatives. Knowing gas levels is required in the moment and will dictate the emergency response protocol
- Panic alerts – Workers need to press a button and be assured EMS services are responding immediately
- Man-down alerts – If a person is unable to move or succumbs to a hazardous gas, automated alerts should dispatch emergency response services
Some applications of real-time data are explained on the chart below.
|Lone Worker||Receive real-time alerts for an employee who performs an activity that is carried out in isolation without close or direct supervision. View worker status on a map. Know where lone workers are and ensure they are safe.|
|In-Facility Monitoring||Receive real-time alerts for all those working across the facility, large or small. View work status on a map.|
|e-Permitting||Automatically populate permits with real-time gas readings to improve safety and productivity.|
As you evaluate vendors offering real-time data as part of their gas detection programs, here are some key design principles to consider:
- Pick gas detection vendors that use all available connectivity channels including Wi-Fi, cell, and satellite. Some gas detection solutions are partnering with specific cell providers, which means customers must invest in both gas detection programs and a specific data provider.
- Focus on simplicity of design. Some gas detection vendors are providing real-time data apps, which require workers to take actions like pushing a button every few hours to check-in. Instead, look for vendors that allow workers to focus on their jobs without needing to use a safety app. If they are already carrying a gas detector, why burden them with other devices that may be redundant. Let the gas detector do its job, leverage the gas detector fully to maximize your investment, and any apps should enhance the instrument not shift attention from the gas detector.
- Pick a gas detection vendor with built in man-down and panic alarms as these are the most essential real-time alerts. Picking multiple vendors could mean multiple devices and multiple apps.
- Look for a gas detection vendor that supports communication across the gas detection fleet, spanning personal and area monitors. You need a single software solution to provide real-time alerts on all types of gas detectors.
- Look for gas detection vendors that offer real-time alerts to supervisors that will also display alerts on instruments in close range. When working in a small team, it is helpful to see all readings from all workers on the instruments and also ensure those readings are sent to the supervisor in real-time.
- Look for solutions that give you flexibility to detect hazardous gases depending on your situation. A good rule of thumb is to look for instruments that detect five gases.
- Look for vendors who open up data to customers, and make sure data is available via an API.
With real-time data at your fingertips, you can view a map of workers at any time and see their statuses. Real-time data eliminates the need for check-ins, automatic or otherwise, because supervisors can easily view a map and understand both worker and instrument status.
As investment increases in consumer electronics for safety, companies will begin to invest more in innovative gas detection programs. Look for solutions that offer both historical and real-time gas detection data so you can analyze trends and keep workers safe in the moment.