Measurement accuracy depends on more than just the gas analyser

Levels of uncertainty in gas measurements can be increased, for example, by calibration gases that offer poor levels of accuracy. For this reason, Signal Group manufactures gas handling and calibration equipment as well as gas analysers. “The linearity check is particularly important,” explains Managing Director James Clements. “Our Model 821S Gas Divider, for example, has been tested independently against our main competitor globally, and found to be dramatically superior.”

Conducted in North Carolina, USA, the trial found the slope accuracy for the Signal 821S to be just 0.25% for a NO/N2 gas mixture, whereas the competitor gas divider offered 1.6% slope accuracy. Similarly, for a SO2/N2 mixture Signal’s slope accuracy was 0.74% and the competitor’s was a disappointing 2.5%.

“Sources of uncertainty are incremental,” Jamesexplains, “so it makes no sense to introduce extra error unnecessarily, which is why the 821S Gas Divider is popular with both our customers and with other gas analyser manufacturers.”

The European standard EN14181 describes the quality assurance procedures for Automated Measurement Systems (AMS) installed to measure emissions to air. Under this standard, an analyser’slinearity must be checked using five different reference concentrations, including zero. The reference concentrations should be approximately 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% of the range of two times the emission limit, and the test concentrations should be applied in a randomised sequence.

It is common practice to employ a gas divider to create the different reference concentrations, however, it is of course also necessary to be able to validate the gas divider. To protect accuracy and reliability, the Signal Group Model 821S Gas Divider does not use mass flow controllersA manifold block with ten identical capillaries and a precision pressure balance regulatorensure the high levels of accuracy demonstrated in the USA trial.

The procedurefor checking the accuracy of the 821S Gas Divider is simple. Users connect the zero and calibration gas to the opposite connections and repeat the test, and if the gas divider is operating correctly, the gas analyser will show exactly the same readings.

Summarising, James Clements says: “Bottles of calibration gas have a fixed ‘use-by’ date and can be expensive to purchase and store, so it makes sense to employ a gas divider to conduct multi-point calibrations. However, purchased calibration gas itself incurs a level of uncertainty, so we designed the 821S Gas Divider to minimise increases in uncertainty, and I am grateful to the researchers in North Carolina for highlighting this technical superiority.”

Is real-time data important for Gas Detection programs? 



There’s been a lot of talk in the world of safety about the need for real-time data with gas detection systems. Although most will agree that real-time data benefits safety programs by providing information that leads to better decision-making, some may wonder if real-time data is as crucial as they’ve heard. 


The short answer is yes, and here’s why.


A properly calibrated and bump-tested gas detector is a powerful personal protective device. By itself, however, it’s simply not enough to help ensure the highest level of safety. 


That’s where a connected work platform comes into play. 


A connected work platform combines real-time data, connected PPE/gas detection wearables, and advanced software solutions, so you can have the best possible visibility across these areas of concern:


  • Workers
  • Worksites
  • Workflows


In fact, connectivity enables the kind of visibility that can lead to a stronger safety program and improved safety outcomes


Even better? A strategic connected worker-worksite-workflow platform helps simplify safety, curb risk, and boost productivity all at the same time. Plus, it sets you up for a scalable and adaptable safety program for today – and tomorrow.


Consider these three reasons why real-time data via a connected platform is a must for worker and worksite safety:


1. Real-time data enables real-time visibility for safety teams.


By their very nature, remote workforces leave safety managers disconnected from what’s happening on the job. So, what’s a disconnected and physically distant safety manager to do in the event of an unsafe incident, especially when every second counts? 


Here’s what they can do. They can ensure that lone workers are not alone, thanks to the visibility provided by a connected platform. If workers, worksites, and workflows are not connected, there’s likely going to be too much lag time between incident and information – lag time that’s costly to both worker safety and infrastructure.


With connectivity-enabled real-time data, safety managers can have continuous situational awareness. That means seeing the state of workers and monitoring their safety behaviours in the field. It means you’ll get gas exposure alerts, man-down alarms, panic button presses, and device concern warnings in real-time so you can act as swiftly as possible. Plus, it means simplifying compliance and improving productivity to help reduce risk and costly downtime.


Real-time data gives safety managers real-time visibility and awareness into what’s happening, so they can respond to incidents – and help improve safety of workers, worksites, and workflows – much faster.


The key to leveraging critical real-time data is having your hardware or gas detection devices connected to both the right software and to the cloud through a seamlessly integrated solution. While the device does its job of collecting data, the software does its job of empowering safety managers with information and insights that let you drive a more proactive safety culture. Even better is that this creates a more unified and streamlined workflow. No relying on cumbersome file transfers and downloads. No more time spent on the arduous and complicated task of piecing together information for incident reporting. 


A comprehensive hardware-plus-software connected gas detection solution gives the entire safety team a single, go-to place (accessible anytime, anywhere with an internet connection) for the data and support required to support operational efficiency and enhanced worker and worksite safety. 


2. Real-time data helps improve operational efficiencies.


Gas detector check-ins and check-outs can be extremely slow and inefficient. They are, however, crucial to ensuring that workers use their PPE devices correctly – and that the devices are properly returned to the fleet. Based on our work with clients across a variety of industries around the world, MSA estimates that roughly 20% of gas detection devices never make it back to the fleet. Not only are the devices lost, but in a disconnected program, the data is also gone forever.


Thanks to a connected program, safety managers can assign a device to a worker, enabling real-time, worker-specific data. That, in turn, can lead to significant operational efficiencies, including:


  • Automated check-in and check-out for daily, project-specific, and long-term use 
  • Increased worker accountability for the device and its whereabouts
  • Faster understanding of what’s happening with the worker, including the type and level of exposure
  • Easier identification of noncompliant workers (those that ignore alarms and remain in a hazardous environment) so they can be trained or re-trained on proper safety procedures and protocols


3. Real-time data better safeguards lone workers for better peace of mind.


There are more than 50 million lone workers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, most of whom are found in the oil & gas, telecommunications, utilities, construction, and industrial industries.1 It’s no secret to lone workers or their safety managers that their working conditions are uniquely and inherently fraught with a variety of potential hazards, including accidents, emergencies, and illnesses that require trained, capable, and properly equipped workers to do their jobs under such conditions.2


Connected workers, on the other hand, can be better kept free from harm. Compliance, fleet manager, or live monitoring services extend visibility, helping ensure that critical data points are delivered in real-time from on-site workers to off-site safety managers. Not only does this help protect the lone worker from gas exposures, but it also connects them to real and tangible help when needed.


As any lone worker can attest, working alone is not the same as being alone. Thanks to in-the-moment monitoring and real-time data, lone workers can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing their safety team has their back whenever and wherever they’re on the job.


What safety teams can do


A connected work platform can seamlessly integrate connected workers, connected workflows, and connected worksites to help you build and maintain a flexible and proactive safety program that only gets better with time. Now that you know the benefits of a connected gas detection program, the next step is to take a deeper dive into understanding where you are on your connected journey and identifying the right partner to help support your organisation’s safety, productivity, and compliance goals.


Learn more about connected work, real-time data, and more: https://gb.msasafety.com/connected-work





1 https://www.ishn.com/articles/104413-how-to-protect-remote-lone-workers

2 https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Hazards/Lone_Workers/