In the gas detection business, we hear a lot of stories about tragic things that happen on industrial worksites. The hardest to hear as equipment manufacturers are stories where workers were put into dangerous situations that could have been avoided. While doing early voice-of-customer work for a new area monitor project, a safety technician told me that the standard response to area monitors in alarm was to evacuate the area, suit up in an SCBA, grab a personal portable gas monitor, and slowly walk into the potentially hazardous zone to find out what is happening. “Almost always, it’s either a false alarm or a battery starting to go dead.”
Thankfully, no incident had ever occurred. Nonetheless, I was astounded by the waste and the risk apparent in his story. Why were they stopping work for just a battery starting to go dead? Why were false alarms causing evacuations, which can put people at risk, so frequently? Why did the safety technician have to put himself potentially in harm’s way to determine what was happening? These questions, and others, made us want to create something new and different for the market, something that would change the face of gas detection and the reputation of area monitoring.
After thousands upon thousands of man-hours researching, developing, testing, and getting feedback, we launched the Radius BZ1 on September 19, 2016. With the Radius BZ1, we developed a highly intelligent, easy to use, extremely rugged area monitor. Many features work together to prevent false alarms and to ensure workers easily know what is happening without having to approach the unit.
Foremost in this is LENS Wireless, our peer-to-peer communication system that allows Radius BZ1 units to share gas readings and alarms with one another. Now workers can react on the spot in an emergency, even hundreds of feet away from the hazard. The best part is, setting up LENS Wireless is as easy as turning on the area monitors—there is no need for lengthy site surveys, complicated IT setup, or costly infrastructure. Complicated wireless is a thing of the past, and so too are the “hassles” of previous area monitors.
Now, we wait. We wait for the stories in the field to shift from, “here’s what I dislike about area monitoring” and “I never know what it’s trying to tell me” to “your area monitor is keeping us more productive” and “it saved my life.” That will make the blood, sweat, and tears poured into developing the Radius BZ1 all worth it.