The use of gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2)is widespread in the beverage industry.
CO2 is used as a means of carbonating and delivering drinks in establishments such as pubs, hotels, restaurants and fast food courts. It is also created in significant quantities as a byproduct of the fermentation process in breweries, vineyards and wineries.
N2 has an array of uses such as beer, wine and juice production and is predominantly used to prevent oxidation which can affect the taste and quality of a beverage. N2 is also used to dispense beer and coffee as well as clean strainers in wine production.
The infrastructure supporting these processes requires production facilities, gas delivery networks and pressurised gas storage. Each part of this system has the potential to leak CO2 or N2 which can pose a threat to the health of those in the vicinity of these gases.
CO2 is a gas which occurs naturally in the atmosphere at a rate of 400 parts per million (ppm), which is only 0.04%. It is is odourless, colourless and tasteless, so by the time someone realises they have been exposed to it, it might be too late.
An increase of CO2 to 3%, which is 30,000ppm, can result in a person having deeper breathing, reduced hearing, headaches and an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate.
Further increases can lead to signs of intoxication becoming more evident, loss of judgement, unconsciousness and if no prompt action is taken, even death.
N2 is an inert gas which makes up 78% of the atmosphere, and is also hard to detect due to it being colourless and odourless. N2 does not support human breathing, and an increase in concentration of this gas will cause O2 depletion.
O2 makes up 21% of the atmosphere, and if it drops to 15-19% it can cause impaired thinking and attention, increased pulse and breathing rate and reduced coordination. Further drops can lead to abnormal fatigue, fainting, loss of consciousness and a risk of death.
Some organisations have set long and short term exposure limits for those working with gas, and this legislation varies globally. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and EH40 have set an exposure limit of 5,000ppm (0.5%) CO2 over an eight-hour period.
OSHA also state a short term exposure limit of 30,000ppm (3%) CO2 over a 10-minute period, whilst the EH40 employ a short-term 15-minute exposure limit of 15,000ppm (1.5%) CO2.
They also warn that there are substantial risks if the concentration of O2 in the atmosphere (20.9%) is reduced, and the minimum acceptable O2 level is 19.5%.
The best way to monitor the levels of CO2 and O2 in the atmosphere is with a gas monitoring system.
Analox are world leaders in the manufacture of gas sensors, detectors and alarms, and more than 100,000 of their gas monitors are used globally in the beverage and hospitality industry.
They offer a range of fixed and portable gas detectors to ensure the safety of your staff, visitors and business, as well as helping you comply with applicable legislation.
One of our newest products is the Ax60+. a multi-gas monitor which checks for CO2, with additional modular functionality to check for other gases such as N2.
The Ax60+ allows multiple placement of alarm and sensor units which are connected to a central display. Each alarm unit not only has an audible sounder but also utilises a high-intensity LED strobe light – perfect for warning of danger in noisy environments.
Analox also manufacture the O2NE+, a simple to use and maintain oxygen depletion monitor designed to detect the presence of low oxygen in ambient air. It provides two audio/visual alarms which are pre-set at 19.5% and 18% to warn of a potential leak which may cause the O2 levels to deplete to a dangerous level.
However it can be adjusted to trigger an alarm at a different level of oxygen concentration to suit your requirements.
Author: Araminta Hartley
Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.