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Gas Detection in Chemical Plants

Gas Detection in Chemical Plants

Posted by Claire Allcock on 24th Jul 2020

The products from chemical plants impact our lives every day, with a huge amount of household items coming from a chemical plant. With such a huge array of chemicals being processed, what sort of gas detection does that environment need?

What Chemicals are Processed?

As a high-level overview, chemicals that pass through a chemical plant can be categorised into three distinct categories:

  • Basic chemicals: Polymers, petrochemicals, and basic inorganic compounds. Petrochemicals are used in the production of a huge range of polymers, which go on to form plastics and resins. Basic inorganics are formed into sodium hydroxide, chlorine, nitric and sulfuric acids, as well as chemicals for fertilisers.
  • Speciality chemicals: Chemicals used in paints, dyes and crop protection.
  • Consumer Chemicals: These chemicals create many household items including soaps and detergents.

Gas Hazards in Chemical Plants

Due to the sheer scale of some chemical plants (and even the smaller ones too), there is a huge range of hazards that need to be protected against when it comes to gas detection. The vast range of chemicals being processed means that workers can be exposed to any hazard from low flashpoints, wide explosive ranges, as well as low LELs.

The complicated nature of chemical processing means that, amongst other things, extremely high temperatures, high pressure valves and confined storage tanks are just some of the conditions that personnel must work with that could easily become a dangerous situation.

Hydrocarbon gases from petroleum and resins pose a significant explosive risk; while toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia threaten your workforce and equipment and production schedules.

Choosing the Right Detection Equipment

Considering the expansive nature of many chemical plants worldwide, deployment of fixed gas detection that covers all possible gas leak sources is critical. Flame detectors must also be used to cover against the explosive risk of products within the plant.

Portable gas detectors must also be used as part of a worker’s PPE; with so many confined spaces and areas for personnel to work in, it is vital that their breathing zone is monitored. By choosing portable gas detectors that have wireless connectivity to a main dashboard, the rest of the plant can be notified if an incident occurs, ensuring swift recovery and rescue efforts.

Continuous gas monitoring is a must for any environment that is susceptible to hazards with low LELs. They are vital in monitoring leaks/spills, and for setting up a perimeter around hazardous areas that must be monitored 24/7.

With an industry as expansive and essential as chemical processing, it is crucial to ensure the safety of your employees and facilities against any hazards. Adopting a comprehensive gas safety program will ensure the impact of potential hazards is minimised, and your workers can feel safe while providing society with essential products for the modern world.

For more help and guidance on creating a gas detection system that is right for your chemical plant, simply get in touch with us.