Hazardous areas: It pays to know your limits

Have you ever undertaken a DIY job at home and realised part-way through that you were a bit out of your depth? If you have, you’re not alone. The dawning realisation that the task you thought simple requires the skills and know-how of a professional is sobering. When you finally admit defeat and call in the experts, it can take longer, and cost more to complete the task than if you’d employed a certified or registered tradesman in the first place. 

Most of the time, we’re not being gung-ho when we blunder into these domestic DIY dramas. As a species, humans are blessed with curiosity, ambition and inventiveness and we enjoy the challenge of having a go. The trick, however, is to know your limits. An easy way to judge those is to imagine the potential consequences of an error. if you could sort it, fine. If you couldn’t, step away from the challenge and get the experts in.

Pushing the limits?

At CATS, the domestic arena isn’t our focus, but the above illustrates an approach that’s all too common in industry and which can have serious or even life-threatening consequences. For example, imagine you have engineers who think they could handle the installation of new equipment. They have the qualifications to complete the task within their normal working environment, but this equipment is to be sited within a hazardous area where explosive gases/vapours may be present. Would you expect them to go ahead?

Sadly, some organisations would and while we’d rather not speculate on the motivation behind such a move, it would be, at the very best, negligent. The truth is that selection, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of equipment within hazardous area environments – whether it’s dust, gas/vapours or any other hazard is a job for someone fully cognisant of the dangers and equipped to handle them. And just like that domestic DIY job, going straight to the experts will save you time and money in the long run.

Choose expertise

Amongst our strengths is a thorough understanding of these issues. We have a considerable track record in delivering solutions to petrochemical and other hazardous industries. What’s more, our experience has proved invaluable in identifying hazards in less overtly risky environments.

We are accredited with the NICEIC Approved Contractor Scheme with additional accreditation for Hazardous Areas Gas/Vapours and Dust (ATEX/DSEAR). In addition to installation, testing and maintenance, we can also inspect and issue inspection schedules to BS EN 60079:2014 and 2017.

When a job needs doing, it can be tempting to handle it in house. We understand that temptation, but we’ve seen far too many examples of that approach leading to trouble. While we are, of course, happy to help advise at any stage of a project, we cannot recommend too strongly that where there’s any form of hazard, you should always start with the experts.