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Establish an Oxygen Monitor Alarm Policy

If there are oxygen monitors present in your facility, do you have an established policy on what the proper response to an alarm sounding should be?

The normal concentration of oxygen in the air is approximately 20.9%. Oxygen deficient atmospheres can pose a significant danger to employees in the area. In situations where the potential to decrease or increase the oxygen concentration exists, an oxygen sensor should be installed to alert occupants of a potentially dangerous environment. Most monitors are set to alert occupants of an oxygen deficient environment when the oxygen concentration is lower than 19.5% and an oxygen rich environment at concentrations greater than 23.5%. Monitors should be set up so they will alert both those inside the room as well as those outside the room of the oxygen conditions.

Alarm response will vary based on the gas present, the floor plan of the space, volume of potential release, etc., but it is important to have a written alarm response plan. Everyone knows the importance of evacuating the area upon hearing the alarm sound. What comes next? Do all employees know the cascade of events that have to happen when the alarm sounds, and is this written into policy and covered during training sessions? If you have oxygen monitors present at your facility, make sure all employees know the full response plan beyond evacuating the area.

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