Gas detectors including the MiniRAE 3000, MultiRAE and QRAE II instruments are intended to protect workers from unknown hazards that may be present in the workplace, including confined spaces. It is very important to the safety of a worker that these instruments are fully maintained and calibrated in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Serious accidents in the workplace, due to inaccuracy of a detector because of irregular or incorrect calibration, are a very real threat.
Exposure to excessive amounts of toxic substances or an environment that is oxygen-deficient can cause workers serious illness and even death. Combustible gas explosions can be disastrous, seriously injuring or killing workers and destroying property.
Many manufacturers of gas detectors and protective equipment, recommend verification of sensor accuracy before each day’s use.
The only way to assure that a detector will detect substances with accuracy is to test it with a known concentration of test (or calibration) gas. Exposing the detector to a known or verified concentration of test substance will determine whether the sensors respond accurately to that gas and whether the instrument’s alarms operate correctly.
"Calibration" refers to an instrument’s measuring accuracy relative to a known concentration of a substance. These detectors measure the concentration of a substance in an air sample by comparing the sensor’s response to the response generated by a calibration gas of a known concentration. The instrument’s response to the calibration gas serves as the measurement scale or reference point.
These detection instruments are used to detect the presence of toxic and combustible substances, as well as oxygen deficiency or oxygen enrichment (a fire and explosion hazard). Workers cannot rely on their sense of smell to alert them to odorless hazards, necessitating the use of detectors whenever a worker enters an area with potential atmospheric hazards.