16th Dec, 2020 Read time 3 minutes

How to prevent and detect gas leakages in the workplace

Part of health and safety is ensuring your workplace is a safe environment for your employees to operate in is essential both for compliance and productivity. This is also essential to ensure you are providing your employees with a safe environment that they can operate in without worrying about hidden dangers. This is why it is crucial that you have adequate gas detection systems in your workplace that are well maintained and potent. 

What are the dangers of a gas leak? 

In addition to increasing the chances of a flammable explosion, a gas leak can also threaten the long term health and safety of those in a workplace. Some of the main symptoms of gas poisoning include breathing difficulties, dizziness, nosebleeds and ringing in the ears. 

If gas leaks are not detected in the workplace over time, this can lead to carbon monoxide poising. Carbon monoxide is released when gas burns incompletely. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause nausea, muscle fatigue and pains in the chest and lungs. These symptoms are dangerous and can lead to hospitalisation and death in the long run. 

What equipment can be used to detect gas leakages? 

Whilst there are preventative methods that can be taken to minimise the chance of gas leaking, having an adequate gas detection system in place will help stop the chance of long term damage. There are a number of different products on the market which are more suited to certain situations than others. 

Gas detection devices can be both fixed and portable. Fixed devices are installed permanently in a certain location where gas leaks are deemed as more likely. Fixed gas detectors are good for enclosed environments where a gas leak can lead to flammable explosions. I

f you are surveying a wide area then a portable gas detector will allow you to get the greatest coverage and ascertain the gas levels of a variety of different locations. 

What to do if you suspect a gas leak

In the event of a gas leak, it is important to ensure the situation is made as safe as possible in a quick time frame. Here’s what to do if you have detected a gas leak. 

 

1. Shut down the gas supply 

When you have noticed a gas leak the first step is to immediately turn off the source of the gas supply. This can be done through the mains switch which is normally located near the gas reading meter. 

2. Ensure the area is well ventilated 

After the supply has been switched off you should proceed to make sure the area where the gas leak has been detected is well ventilated. This will help to minimise the effect the gas may have on individuals in the area and reduce the chances of an explosion. 

3. Avoid activities that may trigger an explosion 

If you have detected a leak to minimise the chances of an explosion you should ensure you avoid doing anything that could act as an ignitor. This includes mobile devices, lighters, smoking and other threatening activities. 

4. Call the national gas emergency number 

Make sure once you have taken all the necessary measures that you call the national gas emergency number: 0800 111 999. This will put you through to a professional who will be able to help you deal with the issue. 

 

How do you prevent gas leaks from occurring? 

Whilst in many instances gas leaks are hard to predict, there are some preventative measures that can help increase the health and safety of your workplace. Having the appliances that require gas checked regularly by a certified professional will help maintain the strength of the system and reduce the chance of leaks. 

Investing in gas detection and monitoring systems will also help you predict the likelihood of a leak occurring based on previously collected data. 

HSE Network
Article by: HSE Network

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