Gas in enclosed spaces is one of the many hazards on board a ship. A 4-gas monitor will protect your workers from any hazardous environment. It can assess the following four main gases: Oxygen (O2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), and Methane (CH4).

Portable Gas Detectors like the SMARTSENSE®FIXED MONITOR can be configured to detect four different gases and display them simultaneously. The screen displays the level of each gas and provides audible and visual alarms when toxic or flammable gases are present.

Gas Types

Ensuring safety and health on board is always a challenge, but certain basics are essential. Ships are naturally filled with confined spaces that, if not checked, can become deadly traps. Crews could easily fall unconscious before realizing that there are gases present.

It is important to label these gases properly using conventional labeling protocols and store them in their original containers.

You may find the following types of fuel in your vehicle:

  1. Carbon Monoxide: A milder gas, but one that is often present due to smoke produced by large fires, internal combustion engines, and fuel stoves.
  2. Carbon Dioxide: Although non-toxic, this gas can be dangerous because it displaces valuable breathable oxygen from enclosed spaces. It is also heavier than air and can accumulate at the bottom.
  3. Cyanide: Exposure to cyanide can occur when fumigation is not carried out correctly, especially by untrained workers.
  4. Irritant gases: Gases like Phosgene or Ammonia also tend to accumulate at the bottom of enclosed spaces due to their weight. Inhaling these gases can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and bronchiolitis.
  5. Flammable liquid vapors: These can accumulate in storage lockers or at the bottom because they are heavier than air. While not toxic, they can cause asphyxiation due to the displacement of oxygen and breathable gases. Examples include LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas), Calor Gas (Propane), and Butane.
  6. Freons: Used as refrigerants, these can cause frostbite to the respiratory tract if inhaled. Higher exposure to Freons can lead to heart damage, including abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death.
  7. Hydrogen cyanide: This gas is lighter than air and accumulates at the top of enclosed areas. Inhaling small quantities can cause headaches, weakness, and dizziness, while larger amounts can lead to fainting and irregular heartbeats.
  8. Hydrogen sulfide: Heavy and collecting at the bottom, this gas, often known as “Rotten Egg Gas” or “Sewer Gas,” results from the decomposition of organic matter. It’s highly explosive and initially toxic, even affecting the sense of smell. While the smell may appear to dissipate, concentrations can still rise. Low concentrations may cause irritation of the nose, mouth, and eyes, while higher concentrations produce symptoms similar to hydrogen cyanide.
  9. Methane: Although relatively non-toxic, it can displace air and cause asphyxiation. The greater risk is its combustibility.

Why should I use a gas detection system?

Gas is dangerous in many ways, and one of the most insidious aspects is its silent deadliness. You’ll want your team to be safe, especially when working in confined areas.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in Gas Monitoring System and electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging, and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.