Most specialty gas supplier laboratories in
Portland and around the country, are familiar with safety precautions
and procedures to maintain a safe working atmosphere. These precautions can
include the installation
of safety equipment to ensure that there are no atmospheric factors that
would tamper with the work of gas technicians. This includes monitoring Oxygen
levels across the entire laboratory.
Normal air we all inhale contains an Oxygen level of about
20.9% v/v. Oxygen levels are considered deficient anytime they are below 19.5%
v/v, and is considered unsafe for humans at levels less than 16% v/v.
Oxygen deficiencies can occur due to:
- Displacement – Liquefied cryogen gases can
displace Oxygen and greatly decrease O2 levels
- Chemical Reaction
- Bacterial action
Oxygen monitors should be installed throughout the
laboratory, but more specifically, in poorly-ventilated or confined areas. At
Cryo-Source we recommend that you think about the height of each monitor in
relation to other gases. Since Helium tends to be lighter, placing an Oxygen
monitor closer to the ceiling is ideal, while
for heavier gases like Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen, the Oxygen
monitor should be closer to the ground.
As the Oxygen monitor is being installed, ensure there is an
audible alarm to go with the monitor in the event Oxygen levels start to
decrease. The monitor should be connected to a command system where a
ventilation control system could be activated to restore Oxygen levels. Once
the installation is complete testing should be done to ensure accuracy.
Has your specialty gas supplier talked to you
about oxygen deficiency? If not, feel free to contact Cryo-Source