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Personal CO2 detectors for brewery workers

17 September 2017

Because CO2 occurs naturally in the atmosphere, albeit at very low concentrations, many do not fully appreciate that it is a toxic gas. This is now changing in many sectors, including the brewing industry. 

CO2 is produced during the brewing production process so great care is needed when working in environments where it may be present at elevated levels.

“Products are specifically designed to detect hazardous gases widely used within the oil and gas, marine and steel industries, and a similar picture is developing in the brewery industry. Workers who enter drinks storage areas without adequate gas monitoring equipment are potentially entering a life-threatening environment,” said Melina Ho, regional marketing manager at Crowcon Detection Insruments. “So, when New Zealand-based DB Breweries approached us to provide a gas detection solution, we were delighted to support the company.”

Crowcon was initially asked for support from the company’s health and safety advisors, a trend which is increasing within the food & beverage industry as the industry gas detection policies are becoming more rigourous.  

If workers are equipped with personal monitors before they enter a risk zone, gas levels can be monitored.  In DB Breweries case, Crowcon’s single-gas Gasman CO2 IR was selected, largely due to its infrared sensors.  Infrared sensors tend to have a faster response time and longer active life than other CO2 sensor technologies, as well as performing better at the lower temperatures that can be encountered in cellars. As part of the gas detection solution, service and calibration of instruments is provided.

CO2 is a hazard throughout the manufacturing process, right through to packaging and bottling, and even to the bars and eating establishments where the drinks are served. Because CO2 is heavier than air if it escapes, it will sink to the floor, where it can form deadly, invisible pockets. It collects in cellars and at the bottom of containers and confined spaces, such as tanks and silos.

Hamish Clentworth, a DB Brewery spokesperson, explains: “One of the key factors in selecting Crowcon was the flexibility of its device. The ability to select the alarm function to best suit the working conditions ensuring safety, is paramount, as it ensured minimal disruption.  Furthermore, the response time when increased CO2 levels are present was impressive, which meant our employees are alerted to the possibility of high levels of CO2 in good time.

Ultimately, our company has a duty to protect our employees from exposure to hazardous CO2 gases. Early detection can be the difference between life and death.”

Even when gas detectors are deployed; maintaining protection for every employee can be a challenge as CO2 can be present in several areas; gas detection devices must be seen as an integral part of an employee’s daily routine. 

DB Breweries has now made it company policy that employees use personal CO2 detectors at all times.

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