Tomorrow I am going to visit the equivalent of heaven for gas monitoring junkies – the Drager Headquarters in Lubeck, Germany. I have tried to explain to my non-hygiene friends (of whom of course I feel sorry for as they are not hygienists) just how awesome this will be. They think I am being sarcastic at first, and then when they realise I that I am serious they just give me that ‘look’ and then back away slowly. For me this is like a car-lover getting to go to the mechanics for a day!
I have used lots of different pieces of monitoring equipment in my time, but I’ve always wanted to know how it’s made…and what does it look like inside? (they are built so tough they are hard to break open…not that I’ve tried of course!)
Take this little guy for example, the Drager X-am 5000. He may look tiny, but he is a 6-gas detecting machine with the ability to customize your gas sensors…’oooh’ I hear you say, ‘tell me more’…Well this is handy when you are dealing with gases outside of the typical confined space scenario, such as on remediation projects. To quote a fellow hygienist, ‘I love working here you guys have so many hazards’…yes we do! Some of the less-common gases that we monitor for include the oxides of nitrogen, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide…and this little guy does them all!
For those occupational hygienists who have worked underground, they will most likely be familiar with these oxy boxes too. These get handed to you before you go underground and will provide you with 30 to 60 minutes of oxygen in case of an incident if all of a sudden you are in an oxygen-deficient environment. They basically should give you enough time to run your butt off to the nearest safe zone (where there is more oxygen) or escape entirely. That’s what I like about the underground. It’s such a comforting place. I find myself routinely counting the metres between me and the nearest safe zone (just in case!).
So stay tuned and I’ll report back on soon what it’s actually like deep inside the gas monitoring heaven that is the Drager HQ!