Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award: ALTAIR io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable Recognized

The ALTAIR io 4 from MSA was recently named the 2023 recipient of the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award in the global gas detection industry.

Frost & Sullivan is a leading benchmark organization across various global industries that independently analyzes companies and products to recognize achievements and performance in leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development.

According to Frost & Sullivan, MSA received this award because of the multi-faceted solution delivered across ALTAIR io, Grid and MSA+ encapsulated in the MSA Connected Work Platform, saying:

The ALTAIR io™ 4 is not just a gas detector, as it comes with access to MSA+ which offers a comprehensive subscription program, including hardware, software and additional services. It gives the user access to powerful cloud-based solutions enabling faster safety implementation, offers increased warranty coverage, and is equipped with automatic software and firmware upgrades… The device’s capacity for connection, along with the MSA grid software, provides insights and visibility into end-user organizations, granting managers a monitoring solution that connects workers, worksites, and workflows. Frost & Sullivan thus concludes that MSA’s gas detector, integrated with the MSA+ platform, offers a better price/performance value than any of its existing competitors since it offers a superior product design, unmatched connectivity features, and auto-calibration accessories.

About ALTAIR io 4

With fully integrated cellular connectivity right out-of-the-box, the ALTAIR io 4 delivers real-time visibility to help drive safety, improve visibility, and simplify compliance across workers, worksites, and workflows.

Key features include:

  • Cutting-edge, CAT-M LTE cellular connectivity
  • Automatic integration with MSA Grid cloud-based software
  • MSA id digital device assignment
  • Over-the-air (OTA) updates
  • Automatic bump test and calibration
  • Rugged, durable design and industry-leading XCell® sensors

The ALTAIR io 4 and MSA Grid are available through MSA+ subscription plans and other flexible purchase options.

How to Combat Calibration Drift in Gas Sensors

Calibration drift refers to the gradual shift in the accuracy and reliability of a detector’s measurement of gas concentrations over time. Fixed gas detectors play a pivotal role in safety, as they monitor the presence of hazardous gases in various environments, including industrial settings, laboratories, and confined spaces. Calibration is a critical aspect of ensuring that a gas detector functions correctly and provides accurate readings.

Several factors specific to gas detectors can contribute to calibration drift:

  1. Sensor Degradation: Gas detectors typically employ sensors that are sensitive to specific gases. Over time, these sensors can degrade or become less responsive, leading to inaccurate gas concentration readings.
  2. Contaminants: Exposure to certain gases or contaminants in the environment can affect the sensors’ performance. This can result in drift as the sensors’ responses to target gases are altered.
  3. Environmental Conditions: Temperature, humidity, and pressure can influence the accuracy of gas detectors. Fluctuations in these conditions can lead to shifts in calibration.
  4. Gas Exposure: The detector’s exposure to high concentrations of the target gas or other interfering gases can impact its calibration. Extended exposure to high gas levels can damage the sensors or cause them to drift.
  5. Wear and Tear: The physical components of a gas detector, such as the housing, filters, and connectors, can deteriorate over time. This wear and tear can affect the instrument’s overall performance and calibration.

To address calibration drift, routine calibration and maintenance are essential for gas detectors. This involves:

  1. Regular Calibration Checks: Gas detectors should be calibrated at specified intervals, typically in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and industry standards. During calibration, the detector is exposed to known concentrations of gases to ensure its measurements are accurate.
  2. Sensor Replacement: If sensors degrade significantly or no longer provide reliable readings, they may need to be replaced. Sensor replacement is a common maintenance task to combat calibration drift.
  3. Environmental Monitoring: Monitoring and controlling the environmental conditions in which the gas detector operates can help minimize drift. This may involve placing the detector in a controlled environment or implementing compensation algorithms to account for environmental effects.
  4. Proper Handling: Ensuring that the gas detector is used correctly and not exposed to excessive gas concentrations can help prolong its accuracy.
  5. Record Keeping: Maintaining detailed records of calibration dates and results is crucial for tracking the instrument’s performance over time and identifying trends in calibration drift.

MSA’s TruCal® sensors represent a major advancement in combating calibration drift for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon monoxide (CO) gases. These sensors, built with advanced materials and technology, enhance stability and reliability by minimizing the effects of environmental factors and gas exposure. TruCal eliminates the need for regularly scheduled calibrations by using Adaptive Environmental Compensation (AEC).

AEC tests the sensor every six hours and adjusts sensor response to account for changes in sensor response due to environmental conditions and sensor degradation. Sensors will perform within stated performance specification for up to two years without manual calibration. This translates to longer sensor life and less frequent calibration needs, saving users valuable time and resources.

MSA’s dedication to advancing sensor technology underscores our commitment to delivering accurate and safe gas detection solutions, even in the presence of calibration drift challenges. Download our TruCal whitepaper to learn more about this breakthrough technology.

Confined Space FAQs

Confined spaces present unique challenges and risks that safety professionals can help reduce with proper understanding and precautions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011 to 2018 there were 1,030 workers who died from occupational injuries involving a confined space.1

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to use as a guide about confined space safety.

What is a confined space?

OSHA defines a confined space as an area that:

  • Is large enough and configured so that an employee can enter and perform assigned work; and
  • has limited or restricted means for entry or exit; and,
  • Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy2

What is a permit-required confined space?

OSHA defines a permit-required confined space as a confined space that has one or more of the following:

  • Contains or has potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere;
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant;
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section; or
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard2

According to OSHA, only workers who have been assigned and trained to work in a permit-required confined space may do so. Prior to workers entering a permit-required confined space, the employer has to write a permit that specifies what safety measures must be taken and who is allowed to go in.3

What are some of the common hazards that may be present in a confined space?

Common hazards found in confined spaces can include:

  • Poor air quality due to insufficient oxygen, toxic gases, or asphyxiants (gases which can displace oxygen)
  • Chemical exposures either through skin contact or inhalation
  • Explosive or flammable atmospheres due to flammable liquids, gases, and combustible dusts
  • Process-related hazards including residual chemicals or the release of the contents of a supply line
  • Physical hazards that may involve noise, heat, cold, radiation, or inadequate lighting. Additional safety hazards might include moving parts of equipment, structural hazards, or engulfment
  • Vehicular and pedestrian traffic
  • Engulfment
  • Visibility
  • Biological hazards, such as where there is the presence of viruses, bacteria, or fungi4

Additional safety hazards might include moving parts of equipment, structural hazards, or engulfment.

What are some examples of confined spaces?

Confined spaces don’t have to be necessarily small and can be found below or above ground, across many industrial worksites. Some examples include silos, vats, hoppers, utility vaults, water supply towers, pipes, vessels, storage bins, manholes, and manure pits.4

What is the difference between OSHA’s general industry rule and its construction rule for confined space?

According to OSHA, the construction confined space rule applies when you are building a new structure or upgrading an old one. There are 5 main differences between the general industry rule and the construction confined space rule. These differences include:

  1. More detailed requirements to coordinate activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. OSHA has said that this coordination is designed to ensure that these activities are coordinated to help prevent the introduction of hazards into a confined space.
  2. Evaluation of the worksite by a competent person to identify confined spaces, including permit-required confined spaces.
  3. Continuous atmospheric monitoring when possible
  4. Continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards
  5. In a case where there are changes to the entry conditions listed on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation, this provision allows for the suspension of the permit instead of a cancellation. Before re-entry, the space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit.3

What PPE and equipment is typically needed for confined space entry?

When entering a confined space, workers should be wearing the right PPE and be prepared with the necessary equipment to help reduce the risk of hazards for the application. This can include:

Respiratory Protection

SCBA provide the highest level of respiratory protection for confined space applications. MSA’s G1 Industrial SCBA features a Remote Cylinder Connection, which allows for cylinder compatibility across multiple platforms of MSA SCBA, including G1 NFPA SCBA and AirHawk® II SCBA.

Fall Protection

Fall Protection PPE and equipment may be necessary to facilitate both entry into and exit from confined space. Retrieval systems for workers and equipment includes:

  • Full body harness, such as MSA V-SERIES® fall harnesses which feature enhanced comfort and flexibility.
  • Connecting devices
  • Tripod or davit systems. Confined space entry systems such as the MSA XTIRPA™ system provide vertical or horizontal entry into many common confined space applications.

Head, Eye, Face, and Hearing Protection

  • Hard hats and safety helmets, such as the V-Gard® H1 helmet with a low -profile design
  • Hearing protection (earplugs, earmuffs)
  • Safety goggles
  • Face shields

What steps should be taken to be prepared for emergency rescue situations?

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to rely on 9-1-1 for a confined space rescue, as local authorities may not necessarily have the manpower or capability to perform a rescue. It is important for safety professionals to have an understanding of the capabilities of local authorities and take the proper steps to have the right personnel in place to respond to an emergency. Having a fully equipped and trained confined space rescue team (CSRT) comprised of qualified members from the employer’s team, local emergency responders, or external contractors can help ensure a quick response in an emergency.5

Learn more about confined spaces and find the right safety solutions for confined space entry here.

Why Fall Protection PPE Fit Matters: OSHA’s Rule Proposal for Construction

Despite the vast advancements that have been made over the years to improve the comfort and wearability of fall harnesses, the “one-size-fits-all” approach still does not necessarily apply. Workers may be reluctant to don gear that does not fit properly for workers of various shapes and sizes.

If workers are hesitant to wear poor-fitting PPE, not only does it risk their safety and the safety of their team, but it also impacts an employer’s compliance with OSHA regulations. What’s more, even if a worker does don a fall harness but it is either too large or too small, that worker’s safety can still be compromised.

According to OSHA, “ill-fitting PPE may not protect an employee at all, and in other cases it may present additional hazards to that employee, and to employees who work around them.” 1

This issue can be particularly important for smaller construction workers, including some women, who may require a smaller fitting harness. This is especially notable, as according to recent statistics, one in ten construction workers is a woman.2

And the same applies for men who might not fall under standard height and weight ranges.

Current OSHA Regulations for PPE Fit

OSHA has existing standards around PPE for general industry, shipyard employment, maritime terminals, longshoring, and construction. These standards “require employers to provide PPE when it is necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.”1 In most cases, employers are required to pay for PPE when it is used to comply with an OSHA standard.

The general industry (29 CFR 1910.132(d)(1)(iii)) and maritime (29 CFR 1915.152(b)(3)) PPE standards already include a specific requirement that employers select PPE that “properly fits” each affected employee.

OSHA’s existing requirements at 29 CFR 1926.95 are drafted specifically for the construction industry. This construction standard states that PPE “shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition whenever it is necessary by reason of hazards,” and that when employees provide their own PPE, “the employer shall be responsible to assure its adequacy, including proper maintenance, and sanitation of such equipment.”1

However, OSHA’s current PPE standard from construction differs from the general industry and maritime versions, in that it does NOT include an explicit requirement that PPE properly fit each affected employee.

OSHA’s Recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

In July 2023, OSHA proposed a rule intended to clarify its PPE requirements for construction. The revision would “require explicitly that PPE must fit workers properly,” and “make properly fitting PPE an enforceable requirement rather than the non-mandatory suggestions contained in these [ANSI] consensus standards.”1 According to OSHA, “a clear and explicit enforceable requirement will help ensure that employers provide employees with properly fitting PPE.”1

With this revision, the PPE fit requirement for the construction industry would be consistent with general industry and maritime requirements and help ensure workers of all sizes have appropriate PPE.

The new rule also takes into account the number of women working in the construction industry and the need for appropriately sized PPE options for women, as historically, protective equipment was designed primarily to fit average-sized men.

OSHA’s take is that “properly fits” means the PPE:

  • is the appropriate size to provide an employee with the necessary protection from hazards, and;
  • does not create additional safety and health hazards arising from being either too small or too large

The idea is that with properly fitting PPE, employees are less likely to discard or modify it because of discomfort or interference with their work activities. 1

Some Considerations For Evaluating Fall Protection PPE

In addition to keeping up with OSHA’s latest updates and providing proper fall protection training for employees, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for PPE that can accommodate a range of worker sizes and needs.

When donning a harness and determining fit, pay particular attention to ensure that buckles are connected and aligned correctly, leg straps and shoulder straps are kept snug at all times, chest straps are located in the middle chest area, and leg straps are positioned and snug.

When selecting fall harnesses, keep in mind certain features than can help improve comfort and adjustability, including:

  • Adjustable features allowing the worker to loosen or tighten the harness depending on the fit.
  • Contoured padding across the shoulders and back, helping to eliminate or reduce pressure points and chafing.
  • Various size options designed to fit workers from 110 lbs. up to 400 lbs., and from 5 ft. tall up to 6.6. ft. in height.
    • Keep in mind that the weight capacity noted on the harness label means the combined weight of the worker’s body, clothing, and tools. A harness may be rated to a larger capacity (e.g. 400 lbs) for OSHA and CSA standards, but to meet the ANSI standard, capacity must conform to the ANSI limits shown in large type on the label’s first page.

MSA V-SERIES® fall harnesses are designed with comfort in mind, and are available in a range of sizes from XS to super XL. An exclusive racing-style buckle  allows for a close and comfortable fit and pull-down adjustment allows workers to quickly get the right fit. Learn more about the range of fall harness options available to help ensure the proper fit.

Gas Detection for Refrigerants in a Changing Landscape

The global refrigerant market is evolving to incorporate a wider mix of refrigerant types, driven by the HFC phase-down outlined in F-Gas Regulations. As HVAC-R equipment design is modified for compatibility with mildly flammable refrigerants, gas detection may be required in multiple locations for different purposes. The transition to low-GWP alternatives, like A2L classified and natural refrigerants, introduces nuanced applications for sensors intended to help protect people, places, and the planet.

International Legislation Drives Refrigerant Evolution

For as long as the developing world has been using refrigerants and refrigeration technology, the chemical and behavioral characteristics of modern refrigerants have continued to change and evolve over time. In an advancing global society, refrigerants are critical materials for the purpose of human comfort cooling and refrigeration of goods in residential, industrial, and commercial settings. The industrialized era of the 1940s and ‘50s brought about the world’s first synthetic refrigerants. This enabled scaling to large HVAC-R systems as manufacturing, cold storage, and high-occupancy buildings created the need for efficient equipment. The emerging synthetic refrigerants, largely made up of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, were ultimately discovered to contribute to ozone depletion in the 1970s. As CFCs and HCFCs were adopted into modern systems, the environmental effects of refrigerant releases and emissions on the integrity of the ozone layer slowly became observable. Refrigerant blends were then reformulated to create another sub-category, HFCs, which do not deplete the ozone.

Even without having properties such as ozone-depleting substances, HFC refrigerants can still have an impact on the environment as greenhouse gases due to their high heat capacity. Major continental powers, such as the European Union and the United States of America, have created national legislation that supplements the Montreal Protocol treaty and establishes enforcement structures for the phasedown of HFC refrigerants. Europe acted to uphold the treaty by passing the F-gas regulation, which took effect on January 1st, 2015. The regulation was formulated with the goal of reducing emissions from fluorinated refrigerants to two-thirds of 2014 recorded levels by the year 2030. The regulation seeks to achieve this end by three methods: limiting the total amount of HFCs that can be sold in the EU, banning the use of F-gases in new equipment when alternatives are available, and preventing emissions of F-gases by requiring checks, service, and recovery of gases (European Commission).

In the United States, the schedule for phasing down production and utilization of HFCs follows the international timeline of the Montreal Protocol more closely. The passing of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act has empowered the phasedown on a federal level. It authorizes the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phasedown through production controls, refrigerant recovery, and equipment service requirements. It will continue approving alternative refrigerants via its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

The EU provides a summary of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs specific to certain applications and industries. In comparison, the US proposed rule for SNAP 26 identifies ten refrigerants which would be “listed as acceptable, subject to use conditions, in the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning sector,” (EPA). The proposal names specific refrigerant blends and includes guidance on the use of mildly flammable refrigerants. Through the initiatives driven by the EPA, the target goal of the AIM Act is to reduce the nation’s use of HFCs by 85% through 2035 and avoid an estimated 900 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions.

As the industry strives towards the adoption of newer, mildly flammable refrigerants, the design of equipment and the safety standards governing acceptable use conditions will likely be updated and eventually harmonized.

The A2L Classification and Regulatory Environment

As new refrigerants are brought to market, they are listed and classified in ASHRAE Standard 34 (2019). The ASHRAE 34 Standard Committee determines toxicity and flammability classification. ASHRAE organizes each refrigerant on the market into a safety classification category based on its behavioral characteristics that impact the equipment design in which it is used, as well as its potential impact on personnel who are exposed to it. The safety classification chart designation for many of the low-GWP HFO blends is “A2L” (see Figure 1), which means it has moderate properties of flammability and low toxicity. Toxicity is classified based on Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL). Flammability is classified based on a flame propagation test, lower flammability limit (LFL), heat of combustion (HOC), and maximum laminar burning velocity (BV) (ASHRAE).

Considering that HVAC-R equipment design will often require adaptation for the variation in properties of the refrigerant, many safety standards are being drafted, modified, or expanded to guide design principles. Many of the standards combine scientific research with technical and industry expertise in an effort to capture comprehensive guidelines for the safe design of equipment that uses new refrigerants with increased flammability properties. These standards, which often have published versions that continue to evolve through amendments and revisions, are developed by international and regional bodies such as the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the US Underwriters Laboratories (UL).


Although A2Ls have been integrated into HVAC-R equipment and the international market for many years, regional regulatory environments will be developing and maturing to allow for the further adoption of A2L refrigerants. Once the standards have consensus, their specific requirements are often incorporated into the building and fire codes that are enforced by the relevant authorities. In the US, A2Ls are well underway to incorporate in the codes, with the ICB, IFC, and IMC planning to incorporate approvals for usage of A2Ls in the 2024 edition. For the UK and EU, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR) has produced guidance to the EU Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations and Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).


Now that equipment manufacturers and the regulatory environment at large are gaining more insight into working with A2L refrigerants, the manufacturers of peripheral components, including gas and leak detectors, are also closely following the development of safety standards and requirements. Regulatory efforts to approve new A2L refrigerants are currently underway and expected to be finalized over the next few years. As A2L refrigerants become more commonplace, specific leak detection strategies may be necessary to help ensure operational safety.

Integrated Gas Detection Differs from Personnel Safety Detection

The adoption of A2L refrigerants sets a focus on establishing guidelines intended to mitigate flammability risks. However, there often still remains a need to help protect occupants from gross leakage levels that approach toxicity limits in an occupied space. The OEL exposure and toxicity levels outlined by OSHA are different by orders of magnitude from scientifically derived flammability limits for A2L refrigerants. The 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) exposure limit often ranges between 500 – 1200 parts-per-million (ppm), but the LFL for most A2Ls ranges close to 100,000 ppm. For this reason, gas detection can be applied at multiple levels separately yet simultaneously; sensors may warrant being both integrated within the equipment and installed at fixed points in the greater occupied space.

In order to detect potential leakage in the equipment and mitigate flammability concerns, international and regional regulatory agencies often require integrated gas sensors that create an alarm condition in the case of an increase in the concentration of refrigerant before it accumulates to reach the Lower Flammability Limit. The primary safety standards set forth in these requirements are IEC / UL 60335-2-89 and 2-40, which call for multiple points of detection along the refrigerant circuit, from the compressor to the condensing unit to the case itself. The sensors must create an alarm condition, along with the initiation of controlled mitigation protocols, if refrigerant concentration approaches 25% of the LFL at any point in the circuit. This detection architecture ensures that flammability limits are not approached within the equipment and that any resulting hazards are successfully prevented.

Smaller leaks and slower accumulation of refrigerant in the greater occupied space, however, will not usually trigger the equipment-integrated sensors to alarm. This is often the case with walk-in coolers and freezers, where cold storage settings and mechanical rooms with HVAC equipment might be needed to maintain refrigerant concentrations below the 8-hour TWA OEL levels. Safety standards such as ASHRAE 15 and EN 378 govern specific gas detection requirements to help achieve this end. With first-level alarm settings often configured and set below 1000 ppm, diffusion-based point detectors are installed at fixed locations in the potential leak path to enable compliance with regulations and activate mitigation actions when the concentration nears or exceeds the Occupational Exposure Limit. In this way, a dual approach to gas detection can achieve the maximum level of protection for the occupants from both the toxic and flammable properties of any A2L refrigerant.

In conclusion, the strategic and dual-pronged approach to gas detection can help enable safe operational conditions for HVAC-R equipment designed to use mildly flammable refrigerants. While the OEL and LFL applications differ from each other, both can be incorporated into equipment design and building management controls to help safeguard people, places, and the planet through the evolution of refrigerants now and in the future.


[1] AHRI, “Chemical, Physical, and Environmental Properties of ASHRAE 34 and ISO 817” (

[2] Federation of Environmental Trade Associations Ltd  (FETA), 2017 “An introduction to A2L refrigerants and their use in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump applications” (

[3] Tomohiko Imamura, Kyoko Kamiya, Osami Sugawa, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 36, July 2015, Pages 553-561 “Ignition hazard evaluation on A2L refrigerants in situations of service and maintenance” (

[4] “Transitioning to Low-GWP Alternatives in Commercial Refrigeration.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, October 2010 (

[5] Rajendran, Rajan. E360 Outlook, May 2022. Emerson.“Evaluating the current and future role of A2Ls in commercial refrigeration” (

[6] Hoying, Denise. E360 Outlook, February 2022. Emerson. “A2L Refrigerant Leak Detection” (

[7] Cika, Jim and Tara Lukasik. Building Safety Journal, January 6, 2022. “Code changes on A2L refrigerants” (

Two MSA Safety Products Named Finalists for Prestigious RAC Cooling Industry Awards

PITTSBURGH — MSA Safety, Inc. announced that two of its products, the MGS-401 Entrance Monitor and the Legend Series HFC Refrigerant Analyzer, are finalists for the highly esteemed RAC Cooling Industry Awards. The recognition highlights the company’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that prioritize safety, environmental sustainability, and performance excellence.

The MGS-401 Entrance Monitor has been recognized in the “Refrigeration Product of the Year – Components or Peripherals” category. The MGS-401 was designed for commercial and industrial applications, and offers enhanced safety measures by monitoring gas detection devices within rooms. By providing real-time data on gas levels, it enables identification of potential safety hazards and helps customers to be proactive in taking preventive measures to reduce gas exposures. With its focus on industrial applications and enhanced safety, the MGS-401 Entrance Monitor has garnered attention for its ability to help elevate workplace safety and help create a healthier environment for employees.

The Legend Series HFC Refrigerant Analyzer is a finalist in the “Air Conditioning Product of the Year: Components or Peripherals” category. The Legend Series HFC Refrigerant Analyzer was designed for the refrigeration and air conditioning industry to help technicians and customs agencies accurately identify hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. With increasing concerns about environmental impact, the Legend Series HFC Refrigerant Analyzer helps with regulatory compliance and assists in combating counterfeit and illegal refrigerants.

“We are honored to have two products recognized as finalists, with this recognition highlighting our commitment to delivering industry-leading solutions that help to protect people, places and the planet,” said Henry Fonzi, Senior Product Group Manager for Fixed Gas and Flame Detection at MSA Safety. “These nominations reflect our commitment to advancing safety in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry by addressing industry challenges and developing products that make a meaningful impact in the market.”

A panel of industry leaders serve as judges for selecting the winning products. The winners will be announced during the RAC Cooling Industry Awards ceremony in September.

For more information about MSA Safety and its industry-leading products, visit

The Importance of Calibrating Fixed Gas Detectors for Safety

Fixed gas detectors play a critical role in safeguarding people, places, and the planet against potentially life-threatening gases in environments ranging from high value industrial complexes to laboratories and hazardous confined spaces. However, to ensure their accuracy and reliability, regular calibration is an indispensable practice.

Calibration is usually a two-step procedure – the zero and the span. In the first step, the sensor is zeroed using ambient air after confirming that the target gas is not present or by using a suitable gas from a cylinder. The second step is to expose the instrument to the calibration gas that contains a known concentration of the target gas the sensor is designed to measure. The readings are then adjusted to match these values.

Whether an instrument warns and/or alarms at the proper time depends on its ability to translate the detected concentration of a target gas into an accurate reading

During calibration, gas detectors perform relative measurements. Rather than independently assessing the quantity of gas present, they measure the concentration of targeted gas within a test gas mixture by comparing real-time sensor response to the sensor’s response to a known concentration of target gas that the instrument is configured to detect and measure. This “known concentration” test gas serves as the instrument’s measurement scale, or reference point.

So, why is this important? Here are a few reasons to consider:

1. Ensuring Gas Measurement Accuracy and Reliability

A gas detector that isn’t accurately calibrated can lead to mis-readings, false alarms, and inadequate responses to hazardous situations. Proper calibration fine-tunes the detector’s sensor(s) to maximize speed of response, measurement accuracy, and provide reliable information to personnel required to make informed decisions in critical moments.

2. Meeting Regulatory Compliance

Safety regulations and standards are in place for a reason – to protect people, property, and the environment from potential hazards. Many industries are subject to these regulations that dictate the calibration and maintenance of gas detectors.

3. Mitigating False Alarms and Detection Failures

A poorly calibrated gas detector can lead to unnecessary evacuations, disruptions, and complacency due to frequent false alarms. Conversely, improper calibration might render a detector insensitive to dangerous gas levels, leaving people and operations vulnerable to potential harm.

4. Accounting for Changing Environmental Conditions

Fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure can impact the performance of these instruments. Regular calibration adjusts for these variables, ensuring that the sensor maintains its accuracy despite ever-changing conditions.

5. Combating Sensor Drift and Aging

Just like any mechanical or electronic component, gas sensors can experience signal drift or degradation over time. When the detector’s current readings deviate from the known reference, proper calibration procedures enable necessary adjustments to the sensor’s output. This adjustment effectively brings the sensor’s response back in line with the original calibration reference, minimizing the impact of sensor drift.

6. Upholding Record Keeping and Liability

In the age of accountability, maintaining thorough records of gas detector calibration is a prudent practice. It demonstrates a commitment to safety management and can serve as a valuable resource in case of incidents or accidents. Having well-documented calibration records can potentially mitigate legal liabilities and bolster an organization’s credibility.

7. Fostering Confidence in Safety Systems

An accurately calibrated gas detector is not just a piece of equipment; it’s a testament to an organization’s dedication to safety. Regular calibration instills confidence in employees and management that the safety systems are in optimal condition, ready to provide accurate information and timely alerts in case of emergencies.


Routine calibration helps ensure accurate measurements, regulatory compliance, and a reliable defense against hazardous gases. Onsite safety and instrument availability is maximized while mitigating against false alarms at the same time. In a world where safety is paramount, the simple act of calibration speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to the well-being of its people and the environment.

Understanding Hazardous Areas

Many industrial settings harbor hazardous areas that can pose significant risks to workers,
equipment, and the environment. Understanding and properly managing these hazards is
crucial for maintaining a safe and productive workplace. So what constitutes a hazardous area?
Hazardous areas in industrial settings are characterized by the presence of potentially
dangerous substances or conditions that can lead to fire, explosion, or other safety hazards.
The classification of hazardous areas typically depends on the types of materials or processes
involved. Here are some common factors that contribute to the classification of a hazardous

  • Flammable Gases or Vapors: Areas where flammable gases, vapors, or mists are present in sufficient quantities to ignite or explode. Examples include areas around fuel storage tanks, gas pipelines, or where volatile chemicals are used or stored.
  • Flammable Liquids: Locations where flammable liquids with low flashpoints are used, stored, or handled. This can include areas near fueling stations, paint booths, or chemical storage areas.
  • Reactive Chemicals: Areas where reactive chemicals, such as strong acids, oxidizers, or unstable compounds, are present. These chemicals can react violently with other substances or release toxic gases, leading to hazardous conditions.
  • High-Pressure Systems: Areas where high-pressure systems exist, such as pipelines, vessels, or hydraulic systems. The release of pressurized gases or liquids can cause mechanical failure or create dangerous conditions.
  • Confined Spaces: Enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, such as tanks, vessels, or storage bins, where the accumulation of flammable or toxic gases can occur. Lack of ventilation can lead to hazardous atmospheres.
  • Extreme Temperatures: Areas with extreme temperatures, either very high or very low, which can pose risks to personnel or equipment. Examples include furnaces, ovens, or cryogenic storage areas.

Reliable Sources for Safety Information

To help ensure safety in hazardous areas, industrial facilities must adhere to local regulations
and industry standards. For comprehensive and up-to-date information, consider consulting the
following reliable sources:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA is a regulatory
    agency in the United States that provides guidelines and regulations related to
    workplace safety. Their website offers valuable insights into hazardous locations and
    related regulations.
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): NFPA develops codes and standards related to fire safety, including hazardous locations. Their publication NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code) contains vital information on hazardous locations and electrical safety. Access their website for more details.
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC): IEC is an international standards organization that provides guidelines and standards for electrical systems and equipment. Their publication IEC 60079-10-1:2015 covers the classification of hazardous areas and offers guidance on selecting and installing electrical equipment. For further information, visit their website.


To ensure safety in hazardous areas, various measures are employed, including the use of
explosion-proof equipment which include fixed gas and flame detectors, ventilation systems,
safety barriers, and proper training for personnel. It’s important for industrial facilities to comply
with local regulations and standards related to hazardous areas to help minimize the risk of
accidents and protect workers and the environment.

Understanding hazardous areas in industrial settings is crucial for maintaining a safe work
environment and preventing accidents that could lead to severe consequences. By becoming
familiar with the factors that contribute to hazardous areas and relying on authoritative sources
for guidance, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of workers and the surrounding
environment. Emphasizing safety not only helps protect lives but can also boost productivity and
confidence in the workplace. Remember, when it comes to hazardous areas, knowledge is
power, and safety is paramount.

Pumped Up: Mini IDs Get an Enhancement

The innovative MSA Mini ID Refrigerant Identifiers, powered by Neutronics technology, have been enhanced. The cost effective Mini ID helps automotive mechanics quickly and accurately confirm R-1234yf or R-134a purity in vehicles to safeguard the mechanic, help avoid potential damage to expensive air conditioning service equipment and protect your shop from refrigerant contamination.

To further improve the product’s portability, automation, and performance, MSA is pleased to announce that the new version of the Mini ID refrigerant identifiers replace the external hand pump with an internal mechanical pump. This enhancement enables mechanics to carry and use the device with greater ease and convenience, making it an ideal solution for vehicle service centers.

Furthermore, the new version of the Mini ID refrigerant identifiers feature improved accuracy. MSA’s engineers have fine-tuned the device to ensure it delivers even more reliable and precise results in the most challenging environments.

“We are excited to introduce the new MSA Mini ID refrigerant identifiers to our customers,” said Zachary Ziegler, Product Line Manager at MSA. “This product has been highly rated by automotive mechanics, who need a fast, reliable, and portable device to identify refrigerant. With these improvements, we’re confident mechanics will find even greater value in the Mini ID to precheck vehicle refrigerant before servicing.”

Are you thinking about Security Awareness Training?

This month we will look further into Security Awareness training. When creating a program or performing a refresh of the content, it’s important to cover the topics your organization will likely face.

Educating employees on phishing emails is possibly the most crucial part of the training to be conducted. There are many great providers of automated and industry/role type specific training. The simulations should occur frequently and guide the employee in how to identify phishing emails as well as how to report suspicious emails safely (such as with a phishing button) to your Cyber Security team for investigation and remediation.

A recent article from Fortra found that;

Industry specific training should help spot threats to your organization. Role specific training such as sales and marketing training would assist in researching prospects and competition and identifying whether the links and sites for research are legitimate as well as spotting look alike domains. Legal training could involve data privacy, social engineering as well as breaches and reporting. Continuous improvement should be the goal of your training program, improving your employee’s ability to protect and identify threats on the front line.