CO2 portable detectors are used throughout the drinks industry to provide the first line of defence against CO2 hazards. In this blog post, we’re looking at the different situations where CO2 portable detectors help keep drinks industry workers safe – and why it’s always a good idea to invest in CO2 portable detectors even when you have a fixed detection system in place.
CO2 Hazards in the Drinks Industry
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an invisible, odourless gas produced naturally by virtually all living organisms. Despite its prevalence, which may lead some to underestimate its propensity to cause harm, carbon dioxide is an extremely dangerous gas. It acts as an asphyxiant at low concentrations, displacing breathable oxygen in the atmosphere and producing symptoms such as drowsiness. While often not classified as a “toxic” gas, carbon dioxide has some unique toxicological effects that exceed those of a simple asphyxiant: these include dizziness, headache, unconsciousness and eventually death. In extreme cases, very high concentrations of carbon dioxide have been known to cause unconsciousness almost immediately followed by death within 1 minute.
The risks posed by carbon dioxide are amplified by the fact that carbon dioxide is around 50% denser than air, which means it tends to settle on the ground in poorly ventilated spaces.
Carbon dioxide is well-known throughout the drinks industry:
- CO2 is a byproduct of fermentation in the production of beer, wine, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages. Our recent case study with Robinsons Brewery is a great example of our detectably better CO2 portable detector solution being used in action.
- It’s used as an additive to produce carbonated beverages in the form of both alcoholic and soft drinks.
- It’s used as a headspace flushing gas, where it fills the “empty” space in a container. In this role, CO2 displaces oxygen in cans and bottles, preventing oxidation or spoilage of beverages while allowing for thermal expansion of the drink.
The upshot of this is that CO2 is one of the most common drinks industry gas hazards, occurring in packaged drinks, gas cylinders and tanks, and fermenters.
The Importance of CO2 Portable Detectors in the Drinks Industry
CO2 portable detectors are an essential piece of safety equipment for people who work in the drinks industry. Battery-powered and compact enough to be carried or worn by the user throughout the day, CO2 portable detectors continually monitor ambient CO2 levels and alert the user (by sound, light and vibration alarms) when concentrations reach unsafe levels.
In the drinks industry, CO2 portable detectors are typically deployed alongside fixed detector systems to provide a failsafe and comprehensive line of defence against CO2 hazards. Often there are dead spots where it is impractical to fit a fixed detector, and portables provide a measure of personal protection in these areas (i.e. when cleaning out tanks). Portables also prove on the move detection around sites, which is beneficial as many site areas are too open to provide full coverage using a fixed alternative. While fixed detectors are used to monitor high-risk areas, such as fermentation or carbonation are carried out – CO2 portable detectors are essential for comprehensive coverage.
Consider that portable CO2 detectors measure the TWA and STEL, whereas fixed systems only provide instantaneous alarms. Users can subsequently fix problems or work in areas for up to eight hours (provided the volume is below 1.5%) if they are carrying a portable. Thus downtime is significantly reduced, if not eliminated.
Because fixed systems are typically expensive, it’s rarely practical to install them in every single location where a CO2 hazard may arise. CO2 portable detectors provide an additional line of defence in places such as where gas canisters or beverages are stored. In addition to this, CO2 portable detectors ensure personnel safety in instances where a gas leak might take a long time to be detected by a fixed system or if a fixed detector suffers a fault.
The iGas CO2 portable detector uses a low-power NDIR sensor to provide rapid and reliable CO2 detection in a compact and ultra-portable package. Unlike other CO2 portable detectors, the iGas CO2 portable detector offers IP66/67 ingress protection and is designed to run for up to 14 days on a single charge.
Contact IGD Today
International gas detectors are world leading experts in designing and manufacturing CO2 portable detectors. We provide a wide range of high-performance gas detection solutions for every industry sector – including CO2 portable detectors for the drinks industry. To find out more about our CO2 portable detectors and other gas detection solutions, get in touch with a member of the IGD team today.