Monitor detects Ethylene Oxide leak in storage cabinet, saving workers from exposure above 2.0ppm

January 2009

Tech Services received a call from SPD personnel at a hospital located in the mid-western US. On their DAQ® Gas Monitoring System screen they were reporting an action level alert at 0.7 ppm PEL. The alert was coming from the Steri-Trac® ethylene oxide gas monitor behind the sterilizer. ChemDAQ® tech services was called because the customer thought the EtO sensor was defective. After the ChemDAQ® Technician analyzed the symptoms with the customer it was concluded that the Steri-Trac® Area Monitor was most likely detecting ethylene oxide in the air.

The customer discovered a leaky EtO Cartridge in the storage cabinet located just below the Steri-Trac® gas detection monitor. A review of the DAQ® data showed readings above 2.0 ppm during the work day.

Case Study Analysis

It’s common for people to assume their gas detection system is defective when they begin to receive alerts. Part of the reason may be that ethylene oxide monitors have traditionally been prone to false alarms from interferent chemicals. With ChemDAQ’s patented EtO filter, low levels of the most common interferents are removed so they are not detected by the EtO sensor.

Everyone deserves to work in the safest environment possible. Most employers put a high priority on worker safety and design their facilities and work practices to meet or exceed regulatory requirements. Continuous quality improvement initiatives require ongoing research, education and evolving processes. ChemDAQ® encourages similar programs of continuous safety improvement.

This case study is a good example of the benefits of continuous gas detection systems. While equipment and processes are designed with considerable attention to worker safety, continuous gas monitoring is the only way to alert potentially affected employees promptly as required by OSHA.

ChemDAQ® would like to assist you in designing a cost-effective solution to improve chemical safety at your facility. Contact us today!


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