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Connected safety for biotech and pharma workers.



The biotech and pharma industry plays an important role in the development and production of drugs, clinical trial of treatments, vaccines, and other medical products that are essential for improving health and treating disease. On a global scale, the pharmaceutical market is growing rapidly at almost 6% annually and is projected to hit the $2 trillion mark in 2028 (GlobalNewswire) which exposes more and more workers to a number of worksite hazards. 

The biotech and pharma industries present potential hazards to workers who are involved in research, manufacturing, and distribution processes. One significant hazard is exposure to toxic and combustible gases that can cause harm or death if not properly managed. Some of these gas hazards include:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) can be used as a solvent and be released in various processes including transportation.
  • Formaldehyde (CH2O) is used in sterilization and, as a volatile organic chemical, it is detectable with a PID sensor. 
  • Nitrogen (N2) is used to control oxygen levels in labs, in the packaging and transfer of products and to maintain drug efficacy. It can displace oxygen and cause asphyxiation. An oxygen gas detector can be used to ensure N2 hasn't displaced oxygen to a hazardous level. 
  • O2 (Oxygen) - is present during biomanufacturing and fermentation. Oxygen-enriched environments have a higher risk of explosions.
  • Chlorine gas (Cl2) - can be generated during chemical manufacturing.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)- can be produced during manufacturing processes and as a byproduct of certain chemical reactions.
  • Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can be released during the manufacturing of certain chemicals.
  • Ammonia (NH3) is often used during the production of chemicals.
  • Combustibles - methane can be produced during the fermentation process. Ethylene oxide is used in the sterilization of medical equipment. Propane is used for heating and powering equipment.


Workers in the biotech and pharma industry can face many challenges including unreliable communication methods to potential gas exposures from the various chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This is in addition to the risks associated with confined space entries and numerous lone worker risks such as slips, trips, and falls.

Our G7 Lone Worker device can provide a lifeline when no one else is around with no motion and fall detection capabilities, along with an SOS latch to call for help. Personal gas detectors should be worn to protect against potential gas exposures and a pump can be added to protect workers during confined space work. For larger spaces such as a chemical or manufacturing plant, the G7 EXO offers trustworthy gas detection for your entire operation. Combined, this safety ecosystem keeps communication lines open while working to improve the safety of workers and surrounding areas.


Lone Worker Safety Personal Gas Detection Area Monitoring
G7c-lone-worker-front2 g7c-multigas-g7x-single-gas-detector

G7 EXO area monitor

Lone workers such as chemists, factory line staff, plant supervisors, and engineers may work independently at times and need immediate assistance in the event of an incident. 


Gas exposures are a risk during biotech and pharmaceutical processes. Workers need a reliable safety solution like a G7 that harnesses connectivity and data insights to protect them. 


When it comes to controlling the risk in chemical plants or laboratories, the G7 EXO is the industry's only direct-to-cloud area monitor giving real-time visibility of a worksite's safety.


Biotech and Pharma Toxic and Combustible Gas Hazards

  • Main gas hazards
  • Gas Sterilization in biotech and pharma manufacturing commonly uses sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde and N2.  
  • Fermentation produces biological products like enzymes, proteins, and antibiotics and uses oxygen. Carbon dioxide and combustibles can be produced, carrying an explosion hazard.
  • Synthesis is the production of chemicals or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from raw materials. These processes can generate toxic gases like chlorine, ammonia, and carbon monoxide.
  • Wastewater treatment uses oxygen and carbon dioxide to regulate hazardous acids for pH control.
  • Biomanufacturing-cell cultures is an upstream bioprocessing application that requires a mixture of O2, N2, and CO2. This mixture is sparged through the cell culture media to replenish oxygen during cell growth. Carbon dioxide controls the ph level and nitrogen removes excess carbon dioxide to balance the flow rate.
  • Nitrogen inerting, blanketing, and purging- this process uses nitrogen to protect raw materials from undesirable reactions and maintains drug efficacy. It also helps to mitigate ignition and explosion risks during the storage of flammable solvents, powder milling, and pneumatic transfer. 
  • Nitrogen (N2) is used to control oxygen levels in laboratories, chemical transportation and flushed into packaging to extend shelf life. Nitrogen exposure can bring the risk of asphyxiation as it can displace oxygen. 
  • Process temperature control also involves the use of nitrogen to keep therapeutic proteins or vaccine formulations at low temperatures for storage and preservation. Freeze drying is a process used to stabilize therapeutic proteins or vaccine formulations.
  • Cryogenic pelletizing uses liquid nitrogen to enlarge particles like probiotics with live microbial strains and requires very low temperatures.

In biotech, chemical programs occupy 46% of H&S professionals time.

National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8901241/

Biotech and Pharma Lone Worker and CSE Risks

  • Plant rooms and warehouses are some of the riskiest areas of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. With a combination of loud noise and dangerous equipment around, lone workers can have an incident and no means to communicate with other workers. A G7 device can provide a lifeline to an injured worker with a simple pull of the SOS latch or automatically if a fall is detected. Physical injuries can range from skin, eye, face, and bone injuries from malfunctioning equipment or gas exposures. 
  • Biotech and pharma lone workers may experience poor wireless signals in large buildings or remote locations. If an accident occurs such as a slip, trip, fall, or worse, the challenge is often raising the alarm. The G7x/Bridge offers workers a satellite option for reliable remote connectivity.
  • Confined space entries (CSEs) are a major concern for pharmaceutical manufacturing workers. Some examples highlighted from 3M include:
    • Reactor vessels where Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) are created,
    • Containment rooms and HVAC systems where proportioning takes place,
    • Biotech-specific process systems, fermentation vessels, and purification systems.
    • Workers can minimize confined space entry risks with a pre-entry check followed by continuous monitoring with a G7 Multi-Gas Pump.
  • Hot surfaces and temperature extremes, and even UV radiation are other risks workers should be cautious of in the pharma industry. Pharmaceutical manufacturing uses UV radiation for vitamin D production for example, which can pose an increased risk of skin cancer, burns, and developing cataracts (International EnviroGuard).
  • Workers may also face dangers when working at heights.

The connectivity and software to further protect your team.

Blackline’s connected safety and robust software offering provide the biotech and pharmaceutical industries with solutions that offer ultimate protection from worksite hazards and help you run a more efficient operation.

Next-level safety – The Blackline Live online portal allows you to manage your G7 connected safety devices, monitor your facility and your workforce’s well-being in real-time, respond to emergencies and report on collected data. Simple compliance is no longer good enough.

Unmatched visibility – Blackline Analytics provides a complete view of your connected safety fleet’s compliance, usage and alert data in a single, easy-to-use tool. Analyze real-time and historical data to anticipate potentially dangerous situations and prevent incidents from happening.

Enhanced productivity – Connected devices deliver data that can uncover opportunities to increase operational efficiency, offering the potential to save millions in lost revenue.

Optimized responses – Comprehensive safety monitoring and mass notifications give you complete and swift control of evacuation and emergency management.

Always at the ready – Blackline’s in-house Safety Operations Center is staffed 24/7 with professionally trained monitoring agents focused exclusively on ensuring the safety of your people.

The connected devices you need for unparalleled safety.

With Blackline’s comprehensive suite of safety devices, you get a complete ecosystem that leaves no aspect of worker or worksite safety to chance. Whether you need personal safety monitoring, gas detection or area monitoring, every G7 solution offers turn-key connectivity and versatility.

Trustworthy protection – Poison-immune combustible gas monitoring with broad spectrum LEL detection

Efficient execution – Connect in minutes wherever the device is placed or worn

Built for extremes – Face tough and rugged conditions, on any worksite, anywhere in the world

Ready and reliable – The G7 EXO’s100+ days of battery life allows devices to remain in operation longer, reducing the manpower needed to swap batteries or devices and the number of permits required

Direct-to-Cloud connectivity – Industry-leading cellular and optional satellite connectivity for remote areas (e.g. bring the magnetic satellite bridge with you from your truck to your ATV), streaming all data directly to the cloud

Low cost of ownership – G7 EXO’s extra-long battery life eliminates the need to purchase extra monitors, saving tens of thousands of dollars. And with connected wearables, you can easily locate a lost device

Immediate Awareness - Text and email alerts keep you fully aware of device status and active situations

No nonsense – Eliminate the need for LEL correction factors, minimizing unnecessary and costly evacuations from false readings

Maximum flexibility – Thousands of gas detection configurations available in single-gas to five-gas detectors with or without a pump

Uncompromised safety – Extensive person down safety features such as fall detection, missed check-in alarms, an S.O.S. latch to call for immediate assistance and no-motion detection, two-way communications and push-to-talk functionality.



Leveraging data to create a proactive and efficient safety program

Connected gas detection isn’t the tech of the future anymore. It’s right here, right
now, and more money-saving, sustainable and simple than you think.




Evacuation management is a necessary element of safety planning for oil and gas operations. It is critical to be prepared to quickly and safely evacuate personnel in the event of an emergency, as every second counts when lives are on the line.



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