Petrochemicals have been used in the manufacturing industry since the 19th century, originating as a low-cost substitute for natural products. Used for everything from medication to plastics, petrochemicals are a common solution for manufacturing.

While petrochemicals are generally safe within their finished products, in their raw form they can be highly toxic and must be handled with care.

The chemical products used release associated gas fumes that can be highly toxic to workers, including ammonia, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds. Overexposure to these gases can cause both short and long term health effects, including respiratory failure, heart disease and even death.

It is important that petrochemical workers are protected from these risks with the placement of a suitable gas detector. Employers must ensure that all workers are fully trained on how to operate the gas detectors before entering a potentially hazardous environment and that the equipment is regularly calibrated to reduce the risks.

Portable gas monitors are most recommended, as these can provide individual workers with an accurate reading of their immediate atmosphere.

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