One of the largest challenges for the Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) group is knowing when an event occurs. Keeping track of people within a process unit is challenging enough. Finding out when someone needs medical attention is critical. There is a significant difference in the outcome of an event based on how quickly a person gets medial attention. Using a wireless device to monitor safety systems and equipment is a simple strategy that does just that.
It is becoming more common for safety shower manufacturers to include position indicators on their valves. When someone activates a safety shower or eye wash station, a signal can be sent to a control room. The challenge becomes getting the signal back to the control room. Because of the location of safety systems, they are generally not near any process control equipment. A dedicated control loop must be installed, including conduit and instrument wire. For new installation, this can be included as part of the project, although the wireless solution may be more economical. Existing and remote applications may not get the funding to complete the project.
There are wireless discrete transmitters that can be combined with a limit switch to provide this alert without a physical control loop. Discrete transmitters are self-powered and provide a pre-determined update frequency. With design changes they will now provide a position change at any time during this period. For instance, if a update rate is 30 seconds, but the limit switch changes during this time, the transmitter will provide an immediate update. The same discrete transmitter can also be used to close a contact on a beacon, providing a visual indication of the event. This solution can be installed on safety showers, eye wash stations, or any other safety system with a dry contact switch. Adding a wireless point also increases the network reliability of WirelessHART (IEC 65291) system.
This becomes a great solution for improving your safety program. The control room can be alerted instantly when a safety shower has been engaged. Getting the first responders to scene as quickly as possible is critical in many situations. A process plant improves performance by monitoring the workforce, which is its number one asset.
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