Wastewater Treatment: Why Monitoring Wet Wells Is Crucial to Staying Compliant with NFPA Code 820

Dirty, hazardous jobs are all in a day’s work for wastewater treatment plants. But just because odors and hazards are commonplace, doesn’t mean safety and facilities managers get a pass on prioritizing worker safety.

Of course, safety must be taken seriously by limiting worker exposure to hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), and other hazardous gases.

But is your facility doing everything it can to ensure compliance with NFPA Code 820? Specifically, is it effectively monitoring wet wells for potentially lethal (and often invisible) combustible gases?

What are wet wells?

Pump stations are home to wet wells, which are large, open holding tanks in which wastewater is pumped from municipal sewer lines and held prior to treatment. It is here that heavier solids are left to sink to the bottom while lighter solids float to the top for removal before the remaining wastewater is pumped for secondary treatment.

Naturally occurring combustible and toxic gases are ever present in varying quantities during this process. Though typically invisible, these gases can emit a pungent or “rotten egg” odor that’s often deceiving in terms of their potentially lethal nature for both combustibility and toxicity.

Combustible and toxic gas detectors can be used to alert system operators whenever the intensity of these noxious gases intensify to the point of being a serious fire hazard or respiratory threat to workers.

Additionally, the wet wells environment also holds the potential to create oxygen (O2) deficiency conditions, especially in confined spaces; yet another reason to employ fixed gas detectors within these areas.

Why NFPA Code 820 Matters

NFPA Code 820 is a standard for fire protection in wastewater treatment and collection facilities, including pumping stations, chemical- and sludge-handling facilities, and ancillary structures. The standard is designed to protect life, property, operations, and the environment from fire and explosion hazards.

At a minimum, NFPA 820 requirements include:1

  • Reducing or eliminating the effects of a fire or explosion
  • Maintaining the structural integrity
  • Controlling flame spread and smoke generation
  • Preventing the release of toxic products of combustion
  • Ensuring serviceability and operation of the facility

The standard specifically calls out three separate process areas related to combustible gases:

  1. Collection Areas
  2. Liquid Streams
  3. Solids Treatment

Wet well monitoring falls under the Liquid Streams process area of the standard. In general, the standard for this process area requires a variety of fire protection materials, including a combustible gas detection (CGD) system. Please see the current edition of NFPA 820 for the exact details for combustible gas detection monitoring, including the Liquid Streams process area of the standard.

Non-Compliance Issues

System operators and safety managers may want to conduct an audit of their treatment plants and pump stations in order to identify potential areas of non-compliance, such as these:

  • Equipment not rated for use in a hazardous area
  • Lack of explosion-proof equipment rated for hazardous atmosphere
  • Inadequate ventilation and ventilation monitoring
  • Lack of sealing fittings that prevent migration of gases and spread of flame
  • No combustible gas detection (CGD) products

Maintaining Compliance with a Combustible Gas Detection System

NFPA 820 is explicit in its recommendation for CGD sensors in pumping stations and other areas of a wastewater treatment facility, including wet wells, and defines CGD as follows:

3.3.12 Combustible Gas Detector. A gas detector used to detect the presence of flammable vapors and gases and to warn when concentrations in air approach the explosive range.

To  better protect pumping stations and wet well areas against hazards while helping ensure NFPA 820 compliance, plant operators will want to consider installing an integrated CGD product like the MSA TriGas Monitoring System.

The TriGas Monitoring System enables operators to monitor and detect oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and combustible gases (methane or petroleum vapors). Plus, it’s ideal for harsh, high-moisture environments and areas subject to flooding, such as wet wells. This system is available in a wall-mounted NEMA 4X fiberglass or stainless-steel enclosure to include combustibles, H2S and Ogas monitors, sample pump and end-line filter, power supply and alarming system to include buzzer and strobe light.

0700-108-MC_FGFD_Wastewater-App_Wet-Well_Single-Zone-TriGas

Additional Applications

When it comes to NFPA Code 820 compliance it is absolutely critical to monitor wastewater treatment plant wells for combustible gases. Failing to do so could result in a tragic accident or catastrophic consequences, including loss of life.

“MSA is a safety leader in gas detection,” says Tim Wolk, MSA Safety’s Municipal Market Sales Manager. “We, along with our many suppliers and partners offer combustible and toxic gas monitoring systems that meet or exceed the requirements of NFPA 820. Chances are, if you have a gas detection problem, we can solve it.”

To learn more about keeping your employees, equipment, and facilities safe by staying NFPA 820 compliant, download Monitoring Wet Wells for Combustible and Toxic Gases to Meet NFPA Code 820. This free article also includes detailed information on the various gases and their potential effects on worker well-being.


Sources:

[1] Wolk, Tim. NFPA 820 Guidelines for Combustible Gas Detection with MSA.” YouTube, uploaded by Dave Heiner Associates, Inc, 10 December 2020, https://youtu.be/_FYqt4U-u7Q.

Occupational Health & Safety 2022 New Product of the Year Awards: Three MSA Products Recognized

Three MSA products were recognized with Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) magazine’s 14th annual New Product of the Year Awards in various categories:

This year’s contest attracted entries in 31 award categories, with an independent panel of highly
qualified judges choosing the winners.

“The world is entering into the new phase of the pandemic, one where supply chain shortages and economic challenges threaten innovation. However, it appears these hurdles are not changing the way the safety industry continues to show up with new products and solutions that keep employees safe,” OH&S editor Sydny Shepard said. “Each year, the New Product of the Year award program shines a light on the future of the industry, and after seeing the winners of this year’s contest, it’s easy to say that the future is a bright one indeed.”

To stay up to date with the latest industry trends, resources, and product news, subscribe to the Spotlight on Safety blog.

Using Layers of Protection for Ethylene Safety

Widely available and transportable, ethylene gas (C2H4) is becoming a preferred resource around the world. Its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of applications ranging from power generation to plastics manufacturing.

In fact, ethylene is so widely used that it’s been dubbed one of the world’s most important chemicals with approximately 200 million tons produced each year.1,2 In the United States, 95% of ethylene gas is produced in the Gulf Coast.3

But where is all this ethylene gas safely kept until it’s needed? Most is stored in underground caverns as a pressurized liquid.

There are, however, some things to know about safe underground storage, including how to monitor underground storage caverns for potential gas leaks.

How does underground ethylene storage work?

Perhaps the best and easiest way to explain underground ethylene gas storage is through a real-world case study.

Here’s how underground ethylene storage looks from the vantage point of one of our customers: a major pipeline company in the Gulf Coast who built ethylene leaching caverns to store and transport locally produced ethylene.

  • The customer created a series of underground storage caverns by leaching out deep, thick layers of rock salt. (According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, salt domes are ideal for this application due to their dry, geologically stable nature.4)
  • To create the caverns, they injected water to dissolve the salt, extracting the resulting brine to make room for the ethylene to be stored.
  • Then, they filled the cavern with the ethylene, where it stays until it’s needed.
  • To extract the ethylene, the customer pumps the reusable brine back into the cavern to force the ethylene. This works well because the brine and ethylene are of different compositions, so they don’t mix.
  • Above the cavern sits other necessary equipment used in processing, including injection pumps, dehydrators, Coriolis meters, scrubbers, and meter runs.

Why is monitoring for gas leaks so important?

Storing ethylene in underground caverns is ideal because these caverns can hold very large quantities of the substance. The challenge with underground storage, however, is that it needs to be monitored for ethylene and ethane gas leaks – and not just from underground within the caverns, but also from all of the above-ground equipment.

Although both ethylene and ethane are on the U.S. government’s list of hazardous materials,5 there are reliable gas detection technologies that can make the job safer and easier.

In the case of our Gulf Coast customer, the MSA solution includes multiple layers of technologies using these MSA products:

Gas Detection Technologies: Laser vs. Infrared

Now you may be wondering why a laser technology was chosen as part of the solution. That’s because lasers have some distinct advantages over traditional non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) technologies, including:

  • Not affected by cross interferent gases
  • More uptime in adverse weather conditions
  • Higher detection sensitivity
  • Requires no maintenance or consumable parts

However, in the case of our Gulf Coast customer, there’s one advantage that’s even more important:

The ELDS laser is gas-specific to ethylene.

 

MSA’s Senscient ELDS employs Tunable Diode Lasers within its range of open path gas detectors. Featuring four unique harmonics, the laser measures the amplitude of the harmonics to give specificity without absorbing any water vapor.

ELDS (enhanced laser diode spectroscopy) instruments are best suited for gas monitoring along a property fence line, boundary, or in linear rows of equipment such as pumps, valves, and storage tanks.

In brief, here’s how ELDS gas detectors work:

  • ELDS is an open-path, non-contact method of detecting specific toxic or flammable gases
  • When a gas cloud of interest intersects the ELDS transmitter’s laser beam, the ELDS receiver module measures the wavelengths of light absorbed
  • It then performs a Fourier-transform spectroscopic analysis to identify concentration of the target gas
ELDS ethylene pipeline run

Using ‘Layers of Protection’ to Enhance Safety

As we’ve said, when it comes to underground ethylene storage, the risk of combustible or toxic gas release is a definite and significant hazard.  The potential for serious propagation of fire or explosion increases when flammable liquid or gas storage tank farms, pipeline compressors, or fuel transfer loading terminals are located nearby.

The impact of such an event could result in tragic loss of life, injury, damage to equipment and operations, as well as have adverse effects on surrounding communities and the environment. Which is why we recommend a layered approach to fixed gas and flame detection (FGFD).

The layered approach to safety factors in the unique characteristics of the facility; namely tightly placed equipment, piping, and tanks, as well as any outdoor equipment that may be exposed to inclement weather and temperature extremes.

It also accounts for the fact that no single gas or flame sensing technology can work for every application or location. The layered approach not only enhances worker and facility safety, it also helps improve overall availability.

The Layered Approach in the Real World

MSA’s Senscient ELDS™ lasers were installed on our Gulf Coast customer’s ethylene injection pumps, as well as on their ethylene metering runs for a total of five systems.

Because their pumps and metering runs are relatively short, the ethylene lasers are 5 to 40 meters with a 0-1 LEL.m range.

We also installed two Observer-i ultrasonic gas leak detectors around the other ethane pumps, and twelve Ultima X5000 XIR Plus point detectors around the dehydrators, scrubbers, and any remaining injection pumps.

UGLD pump install
X5000 IR Tank Monitoring

Results

By combining next-generation point, zone, and perimeter hazard sensing technologies with proper notification, control, mitigation, and communications systems, we provided our customer with layers of sophisticated, effective protection designed to significantly reduce the possibility of accidental gas leaks and fire ignition events.

To learn more about our advanced gas detection technologies or to schedule a demo, contact us today.


Sources:

[1] org. “Ethylene: The ‘World’s Most Important Chemical.” Accessed 27 July 2022, https://www.afpm.org/newsroom/blog/ethylene-worlds-most-important-chemical.

[2] South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing. “Producing ethylene through a more environmentally safe process.” Accessed 27 July 2022, https://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/engineering_and_computing/news_events/news/2021/producing_ethylene_environmentally_safe_process.php.

[3] gov. “U.S. Department of Energy Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States.” Accessed 27 July 2022, https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/12/f58/Nov%202018%20DOE%20Ethane%20Hub%20Report.pdf.

[4] S. Department of Transportation. “Fact Sheet: Underground Storage Caverns.” Accessed 27 July 2022, https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/factsheets/fsundergroundstorage.htm.

[5] National Archives. “Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table.” Accessed 27 July 2022, https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-49/subtitle-B/chapter-I/subchapter-C/part-172/subpart-B/section-172.101.

OSHA Civil Penalty Fees for 2022

The penalty fees for OSHA violations have been amended annually since enactment of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, as the United States Department of Labor has explained.¹

The annual increases are based on the national consumer cost of living computations for the previous year. This is designed to avoid the penalty increases appearing arbitrary.

When the U.S. Department of Labor released the increase for 2022 – that all penalties are multiplied by 1.06222, which is the cost-of-living adjustment multiplier for 2022 based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for October 2021 – the announcement/memorandum explained that:

“The cost-of-living adjustment multiplier for 2022, based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for October 2021 (not seasonally adjusted), is 1.06222. To compute the 2022 annual adjustment, the Department multiplied the most recent penalty amount for each applicable penalty by the multiplier, 1.06222, and rounded to the nearest dollar. The adjustment factor of 1.06222 is consistent across the minimum and maximum penalties set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the FOM.”

It is too early to know what the multiplier will be for 2023 but this index has shown increases larger than 1.06 % so far in 2022.  For example, the June 2022 version of this index increased 1.3% seasonally adjusted and its “all items index increased 9.1 percent [over the previous 12 months] before seasonal adjustment.”²

The Minimums and Maximums for 2022

Based on that multiplier, OSHA listed penalty amounts and ranges for 2022 in memorandum tables that  are available in the OSHA Information Systems.  OSHA uses 2 tables that characterize violations in different ways: (1) the penalty maximum and minimum range is based on OSHA’s assessment of the type of violation or its severity and (2) the penalty amount within a range is based on OSHA’s assessment of the gravity of the penalty, also known as GBP or “Gravity Based Penalty.”

First, Table 1 below shows the penalty ranges based on type of violation or severity for civil penalties in 2022.

It also contains the following note under the table: For a repeated other-than-serious violation that otherwise would have no initial penalty, a GBP penalty of $414 shall be proposed for the first repeated violation, $1,036 for the second repeated violation, and $2,072 for a third repetition.

Second, OSHA publishes GBP tables for each type of violation that is listed in Table 1.  For example, Table 2 indicates the GBP within the range of serious violations.

The GBP for serious violations is calculated by taking the severity of the violation and adding it to OSHA’s assessment of the probability of injury, death, or damage.  In sum, a high gravity violation has a GBP of $14,502. For a moderate gravity violation, the GBP ranges from $8,287 to $12,431, and a low gravity violation has a GBP of $6,215.

One resource with additional information – including the criteria and guidance for how OSHA assesses violations and determines fees – is OSHA’s Field Operations Manual (“FOM”).³  This manual contains OSHA’s internal “information and guidance” to its own offices regarding its “policy and procedures for implementing inspections, issuing citations proposing penalties.”

The FOM contains additional guidelines for determining civil penalties. According to OSHA, these penalties are intended as more of a deterrent to, rather than a punishment for violations.

So, what are the most common OSHA violations found in the workplace?

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Workplace Violations for Fiscal 2021

Last fall, OSHA announced a preliminary report of its Top 10 most frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2021.4 Once again, for the 11th year in a row, fall protection tops the list. Here are the top violations, in order of frequency:

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
  2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527 violations
  3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 violations
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948 violations
  5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947 violations
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698 violations
  7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666 violations
  8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452 violations
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420 violations
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113 violations

The Keys to Compliance are Education, Prevention, and Protection

A driving force behind any safety program should be the health and well-being of employees. Some key factors in those programs are: education, prevention, and protection, which can be the subjects of multi-day trainings and seminars.  Here are a couple reminders.

  • Education and training are so important that OSHA devotes quite a few of its online resources to those topics. You can find information concerning the OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement here. OSHA also provides assistance to employers in developing their programs and training.
  • Prevention can be accomplished multiple ways, and often involves safety walkthroughs to identify potential hazards and develop plans of action to mitigate them. Additionally, some equipment can monitor certain situations that could become dangerous. For example, portable and wearable gas detectors and other equipment such as flame detectors should be a part of certain safety programs, to help protect workers and worksites.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the circumstance and setting is also critical to safety and compliance.

PPE Options for Top OSHA Violations

The number one listed OSHA violation for the past 11 years is fall protection. Supplying workers with personal fall protection equipment for their circumstances and setting, such as harnesses, self-retracting lanyards (SRLs), and horizontal lifelines is crucial when team members work at heights. Keep in mind that lifelines used on areas like rooftops require a specifically designed construction for working near edges.

Coming in at number two on OSHA’s list is respiratory protection. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and full or half-mask elastomeric respirators provide protection from certain inhalation hazards, such as fumes, mists and gases.

Eye and face protection ranked eighth on the Top 10 list. Head protection, hearing protection, and eye protection are often accomplished together as a package or assembly, with hard hats as the supporting piece for the others. For crew members that work in direct sunlight with potentially high temperatures, hard hats that feature thermal barrier technology can help keep the inside of the hard hat cooler and help prevent heat-related illnesses.

To make sure you’re staying up-to-date with these and other OSHA guidelines, standards updates, and resources and tips about PPE, safety, and compliance, subscribe to the MSA blog  here.


Sources:

[1] https://www.osha.gov/memos/2022-01-13/2022-annual-adjustments-osha-civil-penalties

[2] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

[3] https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/directives/cpl-02-00-164

[4] https://www.nsc.org/newsroom/osha-reveals-top-10-safety-violations-for-fy-21-at

What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Hard Hats?

All industrial protective hard hat are either Type 1 or Type 2 based on ANSI and CSA standards for impact resistance and direction. A hard hat can only have one designation for impact properties. There is no in-between according to these standards.

What is the ANSI standard?

The American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, ANSI Z89.1-2014, provides industrial hard hat performance and testing requirements, and establishes types and classes of protective helmets to provide employers with hard hat options that provide appropriate protection for hazards present in a given workplace.

ANSI Z89.1-2014 was prepared by members of the International Safety Equipment Association’s (ISEA) Head Protection Group as a revision to the 2009 edition and approved by a consensus review panel comprised of technical experts, unions, construction industry and other user groups, test labs, and certification and government agencies.

What Is a Type 1 Hard Hat?

Type 1 hard hats based on ANSI and CSA standards are designed to reduce force as a result of an impact to ONLY the top of the head.

There are four specific performance requirements for Type 1 hard hats:

Flammability

No flame can be visible for five seconds after removing the test flame from the hard hat surface.

Force transmission

A single hard hat must not transmit force to the test head form exceeding 1,000 pounds of force. Conditioned hard hats (hot, cold, and ambient) shall be averaged, and the average cannot exceed 850 pounds of force to the test head form.

Apex penetration

The penetrator cannot make contact with the top of the head form.

Electrical classification (Class G, Class E, or Class C)

Class G and Class E hard hats must meet appropriate performance requirements:

  • Class G to withstand 2,200 volts for one minute. Maximum leakage shall not exceed three milliamperes.
  • Class E to withstand 20,000 volts for three minutes after impact. Maximum leakage shall not exceed nine milliamperes.

Class C hard hats are not tested for electrical insulation.

What Is a Type 2 Hard Hat?

Type 2 hard hats based on ANSI and CSA standards are designed to reduce force as a result of an impact to the front, back, sides, AND top of the head.

In addition to the four performance requirements of a Type 1 hard hat, Type 2 performance contains three additional requirements:

Impact energy attenuation

Hard hat is dropped onto a spherical object at various angles around the hard hat, above a designated test line.

Off-center penetration

A penetrator is dropped vertically, and the hard hat is rotated at different angles above a designated test line. The penetrator cannot contact the head form.

Chinstrap retention (optional)

If a Type 2 hard hat is provided with a chin strap, chin strap must be tested for retention, must remain attached to the hard hat and must not stretch beyond one inch in length.

What Options are Available for Type 1 and Type 2 Hard Hats?

Solutions are available from MSA in both Type 1 and Type 2 hard hats

Type 1 options consist of V-Gard® Caps and Hats. This includes the V-Gard C1 ™ Hard Hat, which features ReflectIR™ Thermal Barrier technology to keep the inside of the hat up to 20°F cooler, and the V-Gard H1 Safety Helmet, which provides exceptional comfort and ease-of-use with a low-profile design.

Additional Type 1 solutions from MSA include: SmoothDome® and Thermalgard® Caps, Topgard® and Skullgard® Caps and Hats, Comfo-Cap® Hard Hats, and Nexus Climbing Helmets.

Type 2 options from MSA are Super V® Helmets, which feature a foam liner with integrated Fas-Trac® suspension and are slotted for use with MSA accessories.

What makes EN397:2021 and EN12492:2012 approvals different?

When choosing an industrial hard hat, it’s important to understand how European standards for impact and penetration testing compare to those for US and Canada.

EN397 testing requirements for industrial hard hats are similar to those for ANSI and CSA Type 1. It is focused on top impact ONLY for industrial use. MSA solutions with EN397 approval include V-Gard H1 NoVent and BiVent Safety Helmets.

EN12492 testing requirements provide a slightly larger top impact zone for mountaineering and climbing helmets; while EN12492 helmets provide additional top impact protection when compared to ANSI Type 1 hard hats, the standard is NOT equivalent to ANSI Type 2, as it does not provide the same lateral protection that a Type 2 helmet provides. Prior to selecting a hard hat, be sure that it meets the appropriate protection requirements for your application. If lateral protection is required, the helmet MUST be certified as Type 2. MSA ‘s solution for EN12492 requirements is the V-Gard H1 TriVent Safety Helmet.

What to Look for Before Using a Hard Hat?

Whether your job requires a Type 1 or Type 2 hard hat, it’s important to inspect your PPE prior to each use and throughout the day. Damage can occur without notice and compromise the protection capabilities. Any hard hat that’s been struck severely should be immediately removed from service and replaced. Even if it looks to be in good condition, hairline cracks that you can’t see will affect its integrity. Also, keep in mind that hard hat suspensions should be replaced on an annual basis.

Download this guide for quick reference about Type 1 and Type 2 hard hats.

What Is a Gas Detection Wearable: Top Questions About Connected Safety Technology

The number of workplace injuries remains nearly unchanged year-over-year, with more than 2 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by provide industry employees in 2019.¹ And up to 90% of workplace injuries can be attributed to human error.²

While PPE has not traditionally had the capabilities to help prevent human error, the latest safety innovations, such as gas detection wearables, can help provide the visibility and data-driven insights to help create adaptable, proactive safety programs and establish a culture of behavior-based safety.

But what is a gas detection wearable? What are the benefits of connected safety technology? Here are answers to those top questions:

What is a gas detection wearable?

A gas detection wearable, such as the ALTAIR io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable, is designed to be worn by each individual worker, on his/her person, while on the jobsite. With a wearable detector that can simply clip directly on to apparel or other PPE, such as a fall harness, lone workers can be monitored in real-time to help provide critical data points about on-site workers to off-site safety managers, including emergency monitoring.

What makes the ALTAIR io 4 different from other gas detectors?

Compared to other portable gas detectors and other MSA ALTAIR detectors, the new ALTAIR io 4 was built to be connected from the ground-up. The ALTAIR io 4 device’s automatic CAT-M LTE cellular connectivity right out-of-the-box enables instant connection to MSA Grid cloud-based software.

With the ALTAIR io 4, you no longer need to involve IT teams or add a software service separately; the technology simplifies safety rather than making it more complicated. The device goes beyond only local alarm capabilities; its automatic integration with MSA’s Grid cloud-based software means that safety managers have visibility of lone workers and remote worksites instantly.

What is the durability rating of the ALTAIR io 4?

The ALTAIR io 4 was tested under the harshest conditions. It has a military-grade durability rating, ability to survive a 25 foot drop test, and exposure to extreme temperatures. It has a dust and waterproof IP68 rating, and was tested through a 60-minute tumble test and 60-minute vibration table test.

The io 4 also features the industry-leading XCELL® sensors that are expected of MSA detectors.

What are the benefits of connected safety technology for gas detection?

A connected work program for gas detection can provide the visibility that is needed to manage large teams of workers and help establish a behavior-based culture of safety. Connected hardware and software solutions can provide real-time data such as worker location and how the detector is being used by each worker – which can all help inform safety training. With real-time visibility of lone workers, safety managers can help make sure those workers are protected, with instant alerts.

What is the MSA Connected Work Platform?

The Connected Work Platform includes hardware and software solutions to help build connections between workers and worksites to provide actionable data that helps safety managers create safer and more efficient work environments.

Included in the Connected Work Platform are:

  1. The ALTAIR io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable
  2. MSA Grid cloud-based software
  3. MSA+ subscription offerings

The ALTAIR io 4 drives the platform, making the connection between the device as a gas detectors and the software that provides the data and insights to help your safety program.

How does MSA+ work?

MSA+ is a subscription program including hardware and software, that gives you access to powerful cloud-based solutions enabling faster implementation, increased warranty coverage and automatic software and firmware upgrades – with minimal capital expense.

The ALTAIR io 4 is only available through an MSA+ subscription. Benefits include:

  • Devices are always under warranty for subscribers
  • Minimal capex expense through monthly or annual subscriptions
  • New features and functionality are pushed routinely to Grid software and your fleet for instant—and ongoing—improvements to your safety program

What are the subscription options for the ALTAIR io 4 and Grid?

Based on what your safety program needs, you can choose from three levels of Grid software service – Grid Compliance Service, Grid Fleet Manager, or Grid Live Monitor – with pricing based on a 36-, 48-, or 60-month subscription plan.

Find out more about the ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable and MSA Connected Work Platform here.


Video: How to Install MSA’s Cable Temporary Horizontal Lifeline

Setting up cable temporary horizontal lifelines can be time-consuming and often require specific tools.

MSA’s new Cable Temporary Horizontal Lifeline (THLL) helps make installation up to 75% faster than traditional cable systems with its completely toolless design.

The THLL’s intuitive features not only help to save time setting up lifelines on the jobsite, but also help to:

  • Improve Efficiency
    • Integrated locking and tensioning mechanisms on the handle eliminate the need for nuts, bolts and wrenches.
  • Enable Easy Install
    • Galvanized cable is lightweight and flexible, and locking and tensioning mechanisms are on the same side, eliminating the need to travel back and forth during set up.
  • Simplify Compliance
    • Multiple, easy-to-read red and green visual indicators show when the system is properly tensioned, helping to provide an added level of confidence in installation.
  • Increase Mobility
    • Exclusive bypass shuttles allow workers to maintain 100% tie-off while passing on the same line, without compromising safety.

Watch this brief installation video to see the new Cable THLL installation in action:

How FieldServer Gateway Technology Can Help Improve Hazard Detection and Worker Safety

When it comes to unmanned remote locations, some scenarios can make it hard to keep them in check and well supported. If combustible gas escapes or vapor hazards are present, there are no workers to endanger; however, facilities, equipment, and surrounding areas are still at risk.

Without someone on site to monitor the situation, who’s to know when something is amiss? Being in the dark like this can lead to a cascading effect, ranging from small, undetected leaks to catastrophic disaster.

Yet it’s the safety professional’s job to know what’s happening, where it’s happening, who’s in charge, and what should be done to intervene. It boils down to this: The right information delivered to the right people at the right time is critical to taking the right action.


The right information delivered to the right people at the right time is critical to taking the right action.

The new HazardWatch FX-12 Fire and Gas Detection System, when installed with a FieldServer ProtoAir gateway and connected to the MSA Grid cloud platform, empowers safety personnel to make better, faster decisions – well before a minor situation becomes a major incident.

Why FieldServer and the Grid?

While being in the field has its advantages, such as being able to monitor situations more closely, it also has its disadvantages. Not only does it take personnel away from other facilities or jobsites where they may be needed, it can be both costly and time consuming to dispatch them.

With FieldServer and the Grid in your toolbox, there’s little left to chance. Instead of wondering what’s happening in a specific location or dispatching workers to the site, FieldServer and the Grid let you proactively monitor a situation from wherever you are. Even better, real-time remote notifications alert you to potential hazards so you can act swiftly and decisively.


FieldServer and the Grid let you proactively monitor a situation from wherever you are. Real-time remote notifications alert you to potential hazards so you can act swiftly and decisively.

Even better, FieldServer and the Grid offer secure remote connectivity, as well as support all your connected IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) devices without the need to be in the field.

You Can Provide Safety Support Anytime, Anywhere

It’s humanly impossible to be everywhere all the time. Technology, on the other hand, can be anywhere you need it to be. Which means that your support people, no matter where they’re located, can perform a lot of the support tasks they need to without delay and without the need to travel to the jobsite.

Take, for example, the HazardWatch® FX-12 System, MSA’s FM-approved fire and gas detection system. This intelligent system is designed with Rockwell Automation’s industry-proven Allen-Bradley ControlLogix™ programmable logic controller (PLC) technology and MSA’s advanced gas and flame detection devices. This stand-alone fire and gas alarm panel features a touchscreen operator interface. By integrating it with the FieldServer gateway and the Grid’s cloud capabilities, remote monitoring is now possible for personnel who may not be at the jobsite.

Together, this smart, state-of-the-art fire and gas solution can provide complete visibility and more, including:

  • Connecting to systems for commissioning
  • Enabling remote troubleshooting
  • Viewing of the touchscreen

Add in the FieldVEU dashboard, and you can have remote visualization of the FX-12 system, too. The FieldVEU app integrates seamlessly with the Grid’s cloud platform, enabling instant access to essential data, plus on-the-go notifications from Cloud-registered FieldServer gateways.

See for Yourself

If you’re in the oil & gas, fire and safety, or life safety systems business, this is a powerful safety solution that you must see first-hand.

We’re introducing the HazardWatch FX-12 Fire and Gas System at the 2022 NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston, June 6-8, 2022, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Visit us at Booth #458 for demos and discussions about:

  • Fire & Gas System Solutions
  • Flame & Gas Detection Devices
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions
  • Remote Monitoring Equipment

At MSA, our business is safety. We offer a wide variety of gas and flame detection solutions to meet your flame, oxygen, combustible, and toxic gas detection needs. Our system experts design, test, and manufacture NFPA 72-compliant fire and gas systems. Our FieldServer IIoT gateways are ideal for enabling 24/7 cloud-based monitoring and troubleshooting. Contact us to learn more.

5 Tips to Help You Drive Safety Transformation

The mission of leaders in charge of safety is the health and safety of their employees. But when those same leaders attempt to execute a tactic that supports the mission, it’s possible that they may run into obstacles. One of the main obstacles is getting approval for the budget needed to guarantee and improve the safety levels.

The challenge has two main origins. The first come from the economic scenario. With tight margins, health and safety professionals are requested to do more with less. The second comes from the opposition of those in charge of the budget who may view the safety program as just an expenditure.

The real value of strong safety programs and the tactics behind them are generally overlooked together with implications of poor safety performance. So then the need arises for the safety professional (you!) to present the case and demonstrate that value.

Educating and showing someone of the value of the safety organization is not easy. That´s why we prepared for you 5 tips for creating a business case that can effect change and help drive your safety transformation strategies forward.

Here’s how to drive transformation for a world-class safety program:

Tip 1: Share the Mission

A shared safety mission does several things: It articulates the safety goals and values that should resonate throughout the company, unites workers and managers, and provides a single purpose that engages all employees. It also supplies some direction for creating a safety management system. In short, it drives safety at a company and is the first step toward creating a safety culture.

A shared mission is an effective way to bring people together. The mission should be simple, straightforward, and meaningful.

Fortunately, with safety, the mission is also clear: reduce risk and boost productivity.

When presenting your case in support of a transformational safety strategy, make sure everyone stays focused on the mission. Repeat it often; so often, in fact, that others will be able to repeat it, too.

Tip 2: Define and Communicate the Goal

If you’ve ever heard the expression, “Let’s get everyone on the same page,” then you know exactly what this tip is about. As the safety professional, it’s your job to ensure that everyone understands what you’re asking for. Keep in mind that your goal is more defined than your mission. A goal is a clear and tangible achievement that supports the mission.

Productivity experts suggest using SMART goals in which the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. There are literally hundreds of online references if you need help with this. The point here is to encourage you to take the time to think through what you’re asking for and why, then write it out in a format that’s easily understood.

Smart Goal Example: Connected Safety Program

  • Specific: We want to reduce the time spent with gas detection management and compliance by using connected gas detection wearables.
  • Measurable: We are aiming for a 90% reduction in time spent.
  • Attainable: When we use paper-based controls, we waste 14 hours per week. Reducing our time spent will not only save us time, but free us up to focus on bigger safety initiatives and make sure we’re always inspection-ready.
  • Relevant: Keeping workers safe and our organization compliant is key to maintaining safe, productive operations and ensuring profitability.
  • Time-bound: We’ll see results almost immediately and achieve our goal by the end of the quarter.

Tip 3: Offer Insight

Part of building a business case for change is to inspire a mindset shift in those who are potential barriers to safety transformation. Position your case for success by educating others, giving them information about how what you’re asking for aligns with both the safety mission and overall organizational objectives.

One way to help gatekeepers begin to understand and accept the change is by sharing success stories with them. Learning of others’ success like this, this, and this is both inspiring and informative. More importantly, it adds evidence that supports your case and, ultimately, informs the business decision.

Tip 4: Demonstrate the Benefits

Of all the tips, perhaps this is the most crucial. It’s also the most challenging. Why? Because at the heart of this tip is an idea that is likely the complete opposite of the gatekeeper’s idea about expenditures:

This is an investment, not an expense.

Such an investment is a business decision not a personal one, so it’s up to you to substantiate the ask by providing appropriate facts and figures. This is the time to talk about cost-of-ownership considerations. And this is the time to introduce specific return on investment (ROI) with respect to both productivity and cost.

Remember, your goal is to overcome the objection about spending time and money. So, here’s an example of how to pivot the discussion from expenditure to investment using elements of the MSA Connected Work Platform, driven by the ALTAIR io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable.

  • XCELL® SENSORS use 50% less gas than the industry average during calibration and bump testing. The breakthrough sensor design enables faster response and shorter span calibrations. Plus, it’s rated to last.
  • ALTAIR detectors feature military-grade durability and an IP68 rating. These detectors are so rugged they survived a 25-foot drop test.
  • MSA+ eliminates capex in advance, is always at-warranty, and enables subscribers to upgrade to the latest technology as soon as it becomes available.
  • The Grid helps to save time spent managing the gas detection fleet. It’s also superior at streamlining and supporting data collection, recordkeeping, reporting, and compliance management.
  • MSA id tag solves time-consuming check-in and check-out processes, freeing up time for greater productivity while helping ensure improved worker compliance and accountability.

Tip 5: Invest in Future-Forward Solutions

We live in a connected world and now safety has the technology that can connect workers, worksites, and workflows. Connectivity enables remote live monitoring, reduces workplace injuries, streamlines device compliance, provides actionable data and more so you can have better, more proactive control of your detection program.

Build Your Case for a Connected Work Platform

Having a proven plan of action based on these 5 tips can help you prepare for and present your case most effectively. Because you probably want to garner buy-in from others, it’s important that you prepare them for transformation by taking them on the journey to it.

You know – and they soon will, too – that creating a connected safety program is not only the practical thing to do, it’s how you’ll help advance the safety mission and support organizational objectives.

If you need additional insight or help in creating a stronger, proactive culture of safety and performance, learn more about MSA Connected Work Platform here.

Quiz: Test Your Fall Protection I.Q.

Falls from height continue to be a leading cause of workplace fatalities in the construction industry. In recent years, falls have accounted for 33% of construction worker deaths.¹

What you don’t know about working at height and fall protection PPE could impact your safety.

Ready to see how much you know? Take our quiz to test your fall protection I.Q.!


Sources:

¹ CDC Data