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Industrial Safety Supply Corporation Frequently Asked Questions!

Air Monitor FAQs

Q. What is the difference between Calibration and Bump Testing a Gas Detector ? When should we do either or both of these functions?
A. Calibration is done to manufacturer's specifications and is an important function to insure accuracy of the sensors in the Instrument, while bump testing is done more frequently and recommended before each use. You should also perform a calibration when a bump test fails. Bump Testing a gas detector is done by applying a known concentration of gas to the sensors to see if the sensors go into alarm.

Calibrating an air monitor can be done in two ways, depending on the features of the monitor and the calibration equipment used. Manual calibration is the more popular form of calibration and consists of using a known concentration of calibration gas with the proper flow regulator and tube attached to a "Calibration Cup" which typically covers the sensors to the gas detector. This allows the gas to flow consistently over the sensors.

Using incorrect gas concentrations or a regulator with the incorrect flow rate can cause the monitor to produce inaccurate readings. Some air monitors will require the user to adjust what the monitor is reading to match the concentration of the calibration gas for each sensor, where other monitors will test all sensors at the same time and require no user adjustments.

Automatic calibration is performed using a docking station with calibration gas and a demand flow regulator that will pull a sample of gas only when it is needed. This will not only conserve calibration gas but can also extend the life of the sensor because it limits the exposure to the gas. Most docking stations will start calibrating the gas monitor once the monitor is placed in the docking bay and will not require adjustments by the user.

Q. How long do sensors in gas detectors last?
A. When used and stored correctly, oxygen sensors will have an average life of one to two years, where toxic and LEL sensors will have an average life of two to four years. However, the life of a sensor depends on several factors: mainly, how frequently it has been exposed to a gas, the concentration of the gas it's been exposed to, if the monitor has suffered a blow, and if it's been exposed to any poisons like Silicone or Freon.

Q. Can I use another manufactures sensor in my instrument if it fits?
A. No, the manufactures test and certify only those sensors in the instruments they engineer and build.

Q. What is LEL, and what does the reading mean?
A. In addition to Oxygen, LEL sensors are very common in multi-gas instruments. LEL (lower explosive limit) is the point at which a combustible gas, when mixed with air, has developed the minimum concentration to combust when exposed to an ignition source. LEL is stated in percent of gas in air (5% Methane by volume = 100% LEL) ie...Methane (CH4) becomes explosive at 5% by volume, your instrument shows this by reading that 5% as 100% (if calibrated correctly and to Methane).

The LEL sensor can detect many combustible gases but does not differentiate between them, so the reading displayed can be the total concentration of multiple combustible gases if present. It is best to be calibrated to the LEL target gas, but you can use the "correlation chart" to determine your safety factor. The LEL sensor requires a minimum of 10% oxygen in order to oxidize the combustible gas in order to produce a reading. If the environment is oxygen deficient, LEL readings may not be accurate.

Q. How do I get my Gas Detection Monitor repaired?
A. Contact us. We are an authorized repair center for most Gas Detection Manufacturers. If we cannot repair, we will be facilitate a return directly to the Manufacturers repair center.

Q. Is it more cost effective to send an instrument to the manufacturer for repair?
A. NO. Our labor rates are typically less that most manufacturers and they charge list for everything they do. Additionally, the shipping costs are higher going back and forth. Our turnaround time is about half as long which gets your instrument back and lowers down time.

Q. What is more accurate-an air monitor, a detector tube or a sampling badge?
A. This depends on what you are trying to accomplish:

A digital instrument is the most common way to monitor, it provides direct readings and allows you to "go" or "not go" into the area you are monitoring a target gas in the shortest period of time.

A detector tube is usually used where a direct reading instrument cannot monitor due to the instrument/sensor capabilities. This typically will give you a + or - 25% accuracy rate.
A badge is typically used for an extended period of exposure time (15 min STEL or 8 hour TWA) to a known contaminate.
Each of these ways to detect gases has its limitations, it is very important to understand those limitations prior to use.

Q. Can I use a detector tube with a pump from another brand?
A. No. Each manufacture has the tubes and pumps tested to their individual specifications (airflow and volume) and certified for that manufactures use only.

Q. Do detector tubes have a shelf life?
A. Yes. The manufacturer will print the expiration date on the outside packaging of the tubes.

Safety Eyewear FAQs

Q. What are the lenses of safety glasses made of?
A. Most nonprescription (plano) safety glasses have polycarbonate lenses. Prescription safety glasses may have CR-39® plastic, glass or polycarbonate lenses.

Q. Why do most plano glasses have polycarbonate lenses?
A. Polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant, lighter in weight and have built-in ultraviolet protective properties. Similar to the way that sunscreen keeps the sun's rays from damaging the body, UV protection shields the eyes from the same detrimental light rays.

Q. I wear prescription lenses-what are my options?
A. Workers who wear prescription lenses must wear a pair of safety glasses that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wear safety glasses that can be worn over prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of either. There are many options of safety glasses that can be worn over prescription lenses. Optional prescription inserts are available for a variety of safety glasses, including Radians Cheaters™, among others (with diopters incorporated into the lens design) are also available.

Q. Can photochromic lenses be worn in an industrial environment?
A. Photochromic lenses darken when exposed to sunlight and lighten when used indoors. The use of these lenses in the workplace has been controversial. Photochromic lenses should be used with care in operations requiring critical acuity or quick reaction to visual stimuli, since the change in tint is not immediate. Special care should be taken for those work operations where a worker passes from outdoors to indoors in the course of the job-e.g., a forklift operator. Although photochromic lenses absorb ultraviolet light, they should not be used as a substitute for the proper protector in hazardous optical radiation environments.

Q. ANSI Z87.1 was updated in 2003. Has the revised standard been incorporated into the OSHA regulations?
A. On September 9, 2009 OSHA issued an update to its personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. The final rule, which became effective October 9, 2009, revised the PPE sections of OSHA's general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminal standards regarding requirements for eye- and face-protective devices, head protection and foot protection. The revision updated the references in these regulations to recognize the more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards. It allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with any of three national consensus standards-the two most recent and the incorporated reference in the current standards.

Reflective Clothing FAQ's

Q. What is included in the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard?
A. The standard details the performance specifications for materials used in the construction of high-visibility garments. Specific test procedures are included for background materials, and retroreflective and combined-performance materials. The standard also provides criteria for apparel design and addresses labeling and use instruction requirements.

Q. What do the Performance Classes mean?
A. Garments are classified as Performance Class 1, 2 or 3 depending on the total area of visible background and retroreflective material. The amount of required visible material increases with each Peformance Class. Performance Classes give users a way to specify the most appropriate garment for the use environment and hazard.

Q. The designation of the standard is ANSI/ISEA 107-2010. I have heard of ANSI standards but what is ISEA and what is its role in this standard?
A. ISEA, the International Safety Equipment Association, is the trade association for manufacturers of safety and personal protective equipment. ISEA members are dedicated to protecting the health and safety of all workers through the development of equipment standards and the education of users on safe work practices and exposure prevention. ISEA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standard developing organization. As secretariat of the standard, ISEA prepares the content of the standard, publishes approved versions and is responsible for technical interpretations on the document. While the standard and revisions are drafted by ISEA members, final approval is determined by consensus vote of a panel of stakeholders representing a variety of interests including users, government agencies, test laboratories, industry experts and producers.

Q. Will the standard be revised and if so, when?
A. ANSI procedures require that some formal action - revision, reaffirmation or withdrawal - be taken on ANSI standards every five years. ISEA anticipates that an update to the 2010 version will be available in 2015.

Q. Is this standard the same as other industry standards for high-visibility apparel?
A. In writing the first edition of ANSI/ISEA 107 in 1999, the developers of the standard used many of the requirements of the European standard for high-visibility apparel (EN 471) because they had confidence in the reasoning and science supporting the performance criteria that it established. In turn, the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard was used as the basis for the Canadian high-visibility apparel standard (CSA Z96). While there are some similarities with respect to performance of the materials and some of the test methods used, differences in detail do exist, related to certain configurations and acceptable designs. For this reason, ISEA cannot state that if an item meets the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard, it is guaranteed to meet another high-visibility apparel standard.

Q. Do open weave or mesh fabrics meet the background materials requirements of the standard?
A. ANSI/ISEA 107 is a performance standard and the material specifications are written to allow any materials that meet the requirements for visibility and durability. All background materials must meet the performance requirements in the standard. Because the performance of a garment made from open weave or mesh fabric may be affected by what the user wears under it, it may be more difficult to meet the standard requirements, but there is no exclusion for such materials.

Q. Does the ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 standard mandate that garments be third-party certified?
A. The standard requires that the background material and retroreflective or combined-performance material used in the construction of a finished garment be certified by an accredited, independent third-party laboratory to ensure that the materials meet the specified performance criteria imposed by the standard. The standard includes test reports that are to be used when evaluating the various materials. The finished item may be evaluated by an accredited, independent third-party or by the manufacturer of the item who attests that the garment is made up of compliant materials, meets the design criteria stated in the standard, and includes the requisite markings and labels. A garment compliance certificate, to be completed and signed by the manufacturer, is included in the standard as well. All test reports and forms can be found here.

Q. I have only found larger sized garments that meet the standard, but I have smaller workers that need appropriately fitting garments to work safely.
A. The garment design guidelines, specifically the amount of background material required, may make it difficult for a compliant garment to fit smaller workers. Health and safety managers may wish to consider the selection of a different garment style to accommodate small-framed personnel. For example, a sleeveless Class 2 garment may be used for workers wearing sizes other than "small." Workers requiring a small size may need to be provided a "half-sleeve" or "full-sleeve" garment to accommodate the requirement for the minimum quantity of fluorescent background material specified for a Class 2 garment. Additionally, garments which incorporate combined performance reflective materials may use less background fabric resulting in smaller garments which meet requirements. Other solutions to accommodate "small sized" garments may be recommended by your safety apparel supplier.

Q. Does OSHA require the use of high-visibility safety apparel for construction workers working in highway/construction work zones at risk of being struck by traffic?
A. Yes. In 2009 OSHA issued a letter of interpretation that it will use the General Duty Clause to require high-visibility apparel for flaggers, workers exposed to vehicle traffic near excavations, and to other workers in highway/construction zones who are exposed to traffic. The letter cited the MUTCD as the authority for its enforcement.

Q. What are the major differences between ANSI/ISEA 107 and ANSI/ISEA 207?
A. ANSI/ISEA 207-2011 is intended for emergency and incident responders, as well as law enforcement personnel who have competing tactical needs which can make it problematic to use ANSI/ISEA 107 compliant personal protective equipment. ANSI/ISEA 107 is intended for default general occupational use. ANSI/ISEA 207 does NOT replace ANSI/ISEA 107. The only configuration of apparel in ANSI/ISEA 207 is a vest, whereas ANSI/ISEA 107 identifies a variety of apparel items. As such, there is only one performance class for items that are designated as ANSI/ISEA 207 compliant.

The ANSI/ISEA 107 standard defines three performance classes of items, as well as class E pants and headwear, whose classification depends on the minimum amount of visible material used in the item's construction. There are also different design requirements for a vest depending on which standard is being used to demonstrate compliance. For example, encircling bands of retroreflective material are required for ANSI/ISEA 207. ANSI/ISEA 107 requires that retroreflective material must be placed on the garment in such a manner as to provide 360º visibility to the wearer, but does not require encircling bands. This represents a summary of major differences between these standards, but not all differences. You are encouraged to compare the actual standard text for a comprehensive list of differences.

Fit Testing FAQ's

Q. What is quantitative respiratory fit testing?
A. Quantitative respirator fit testing has been around for about 50 years. While there have been several ways to perform this fit test, there were never scientific studies to prove that these methods actually worked. These methods were simply "accepted" because this was the only way to do quantitative fit testing.

Things changed in 1992 when the idea of Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP) was implemented in a whole new approach to fit testing. This revolutionary way to perform a respirator fit test could be subjected to scientific scrutiny. The results? Unlike all other methods of fit testing, Controlled Negative Pressure was proven to quickly and accurately measure respirator leakage, which is the key to measuring respirator fit.

CNP technology was accepted by OSHA in 1998, and has quickly been adopted by industry to be the quickest and most accurate way to perform respirator fit testing- the gold standard in respirator fit testing. While old technologies are sometimes hard to give up because, "we've just always done it that way," the OHD Quantifit offers an impressive array of advantages that can dramatically improve your respirator program.

Within the first ten seconds of testing, you will know whether the respirator user has a basic fit or not. And the OSHA accepted CNP Redon protocol takes as little as two to three minutes.

If other quantitative fit test instruments measured accuracies of less than 40%, why put your employees at risk? Controlled negative pressure has proven to be the fastest, most accurate, and most health protective fit test system available. The accepted Redon test protocol allows you to quickly assess respirator fit based on three mask donnings.