Canary Talk – Does calibration frequency determine incident liability?
Does calibration frequency determine incident liability?
The building code requires exhaust gas detectors in vehicle storage and repair facilities not for safety or health protection of the occupants as you would expect. Parking garages built in the sixties has ventilation system that run continuously 24/7 until the energy crisis of the seventies when basic gas detection was specified to control ventilation system in order to reduce operating costs specially in heated parkades.
The competitive bidding process of the construction industry meant that the least expensive sensor that just meet the minimum building code specifications won the contract. The frequent recalibration up to 4 times a year worked very well financially for calibration/service providers like us. As a result nobody wanted to change the status quo even after regular gas incidents except us.
While we research and introduce a better sensor to improve air quality in parkades, our competitors were working hard to justify a high frequency of calibration for all types of sensors to increase service revenue.
The truth is there is no law to force you to have a certain calibration frequency. Technology move so fast and regulations are so slow that it would not make sense for regulators. You must rely on companies like us to provide you with the field data from thousand of sensor calibration to determine ideal calibration frequency.
You are legally responsible to make sure that any workers working in your facility are not exposed to any chemicals including hazardous gases under the provincial occupational health and safety Act. When an incident happens in a building occupational health and safety deal with the workers and the fire department deals with the public. Each province, state or even individual city in North America can set up its own rules about hazardous materials in buildings. We have found that California cities have the best regulations.
Eliminating incidents by choosing the most effective exhaust gas monitoring system is the best policy. Communicating urgently with the affected people in the area through loud audible and visual alarm is critical to avoid serious incidents.
My personal involvement with a dozen incidents over the last 30 years has help me determined the steps to eliminate gas related incidents to near zero. Increasing calibration frequency in most cases provide an expensive false sense of security.