Gas / air monitor for tig welding in enclosed area
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  1. #1
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    Default Gas / air monitor for tig welding in enclosed area

    My company has set up a 40' container for doing smaller non-ferrous welding away from the main fab shop. There will only be one guy in there, working alone. It will be properly ventilated, but I would like the peace of mind of an alarm for argon build up.

    I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, so looking online has left me empty handed and confused.

    Can anyone recommend something?

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    Quick google says this is a concern in laboratories using inert gasses.

    I found this as an example.

    O2NE+ - AMBIENT OXYGEN DEPLETION MONITOR - Analox

    One guy tig welding in a container with good ventilation and presumably a man door... I wouldn't worry about it.

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    Think you need to simply back work the volume of stored gas and you will find there is no risk for argon in a typical container with a given bottle size. Do to argon being inert i don't think you will find any detectors for argon, think you will have to monitor O2 levels instead. Flammables if hes preheating would be my far bigger concern + modifying the door so it can not be shut from the outside. Depending on how its defined in your safety regs working in a container could well be classed as a confined space, that means he can very much not work alone at the least i would expect you would have to add a alternative emergency exit etc. The fact your proposing he work alone and considering this shows your considering it a risk, it would not really be ok to do this in the UK.

    That said have you ever worked in a container, its a pretty miserable cramped environment. Very cold in the winter boiling in summer, there really best used for storage, well unless you want the TIG guy to quit, then carry on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamscal View Post
    Quick google says this is a concern in laboratories using inert gasses.

    I found this as an example.

    O2NE+ - AMBIENT OXYGEN DEPLETION MONITOR - Analox

    One guy tig welding in a container with good ventilation and presumably a man door... I wouldn't worry about it.
    Thanks, I found that one too, just wasn't sure if it was suitable or if there might be something better.

    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Think you need to simply back work the volume of stored gas and you will find there is no risk for argon in a typical container with a given bottle size. Do to argon being inert i don't think you will find any detectors for argon, think you will have to monitor O2 levels instead. Flammables if hes preheating would be my far bigger concern + modifying the door so it can not be shut from the outside. Depending on how its defined in your safety regs working in a container could well be classed as a confined space, that means he can very much not work alone at the least i would expect you would have to add a alternative emergency exit etc. The fact your proposing he work alone and considering this shows your considering it a risk, it would not really be ok to do this in the UK.

    That said have you ever worked in a container, its a pretty miserable cramped environment. Very cold in the winter boiling in summer, there really best used for storage, well unless you want the TIG guy to quit, then carry on.
    Yeah, I've worked in containers, I know they make miserable work environments. It wasn't my idea - I'm in charge of the machineshop here, fab shop isn't really anything to do with me, just trying to help the guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamscal View Post
    Quick google says this is a concern in laboratories using inert gasses.

    I found this as an example.

    O2NE+ - AMBIENT OXYGEN DEPLETION MONITOR - Analox

    One guy tig welding in a container with good ventilation and presumably a man door... I wouldn't worry about it.
    You do need to worry about this. Though Ar is inert, it is heavier than air and will pool at floor level and displace breathable atmosphere.

    Ar needs to be viewed as basically being like water. It is non-toxic but inhaling it will have a similar outcome to breathing water, you will drown, and not even know why.

    The solution to this is to understand what the characteristics are of the hazard and design the ventilation system around this.

    In this case you will need power ventilation forcing the Ar out at floor level and ceiling ventilation clearing the smoke and less dense gases.

    Ar drowning fatalities are one of the more frequent causes of death on large piping projects such as nuke plants where the welder is working inside the pipe. It used to be very common to place blocking in the pipes to form dams to reduce Ar consumption until welders started dying while welding in the pipe.

    From a safety standpoint, the container needs to be treated as a confine space with many of the hazards that a confined space presents.

    If you utilize an O2 depletion sensor, which is a very good idea, make sure it is sampling at knee level or lower. This will give you an alarm long before the welder would be exposed to the pooled Ar.

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    Usually for any confined space, we use a 4 gas monitor.

    I would think that would be what's required in this case, and seeing how they
    are very common, easier to find.


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