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Why Do We Carry Out Breathing Air Quality Tests?

Why Do We Carry Out Breathing Air Quality Tests?

According to the rules and regulations of HSE and COSHH, all commercial activities that lower the quality of air must be carried out under controlled circumstances. Control measures include appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a full-face breathing mask to a compressed airline.

The main purpose of carrying out an air quality assessment is to minimise the harmful effects on the workforce’s health and wellbeing. Poor health not only hinders the growth of an individual but also slowdowns the progress of the whole economy.

In this blog post, we have discussed all the things that you should be knowing about breathing air quality tests.

First thing first,

What do we test in compressed air breathing quality?
In accordance with the BS EN 12021 regulation, all environments having compressed air must be free from harmful substances and contaminants.

Here what BS EN 12021 states regarding compressed air –

Oxygen –

Oxygen levels must be set at 21% +/- 1% for a healthy breathing environment.

Odour and taste of compressed air

The odour and taste of compressed air should not have any significant odour or taste.

Carbon monoxide –

Carbon monoxide levels must be under 5 parts per million as it is a highly dangerous gas.

Carbon dioxide –

Carbon dioxide levels must be under 550 parts per million.

Oil mist or Vapor –

Any oil and vapor levels must be under 0.5mg/m³.

Water Airline –

Furthermore, air quality must be low enough to prevent condensation and freezing. The dew point of the air must be at least 5oC below the lowest temperature and the pressure dew point cannot exceed -11oC.

But where do contaminants come from?
Contamination can enter compressed air in many ways. For example, when a failed air compressor creates oil in the airline, it results in toxic and volatile substances. Generally, contaminants come from the air intake of the compressor. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from an outer source pose a huge threat to employees.

All the equipment that produces breathing air must produce air to the EN 12021 standards along with an examination to confirm the same. If that is not the case, excessive levels of CO, CO2, Oil and mist causes harmful effects on health like headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting in severe cases.

According to EN12021, compressed air used for breathing equipment must not contain any contaminants at harmful levels. Tests for dangerous substances should be carried out at least once every 3 months, and if the equipment is either moved or seen to be contaminated, further tests must be carried out.

How Frequently Do I Need To Carry Out An Air Quality Test?
U.K. Law asks employers to ensure the good health of their employees and thus employers should take all reasonable steps to ensure their employees’ health safety and well-being.

According to the laws, samples should be taken and analyzed at least every three months or more frequently in case of workplace modifications or production processes. Records of tests must be kept for five years to refer them in the future.

What Things Should Be Recorded In Breathing- Air Quality Test Results –
These are the items that should be recorded in the breathing- air quality test results according to the COSHH –

→ The name and address of the employer responsible for the RPE,

→ Particulars of the equipment and of the distinguishing number or mark along with a description sufficient to identification and the name of the maker

→ The date of examination along with the signature of the persona who has carried out the examination and acceptable means of identification

→ A detailed description of the conditions of any defect found, including canister or filter respirators, the state of the canister and the condition of the filter,

→ The pressure of air/gas in the supply cylinder for self-contained compressed air/gas breathing apparatus

→ The volume for powered/power-assisted respirator and breathing apparatus

→ Flow rate to make sure that they are following the minimum recommended flow rate.

All the records should be in either paper or electronic format along with easy accessibility and retrievable at any reasonable time for safety representatives or inspectors to examine.

How Breathing Air Testing Is Carried Out?
With the latest technologies and equipment, there are certain things that are measured in Breathing Air Testing –

In breathing air testing, we measure –

→ Contents of CO (carbon monoxide ppm) present in breathing compressed air,

→ Contents of CO2 (carbon dioxide ppm) present in breathing compressed air,

→ Contents of H2O (Water) in breathing compressed air,

→ Contents of Oil carryover is breathing compressed air,

→ Pressure, temperature and flow of compressed air,

→ Contents of Oxygen in breathing compressed air.

Get the best Air Quality Test for your business –
Occupational Health & Services Environmental and Safety is one of the most well-known and reliable Health and Safety Consultants in the U.K.

Millions of workers in the UK suffer from bad health due to poor air quality. Employers are responsible for the health of their employees as employees are valuable assets for any business.

Breathing air quality tests are a way of ensuring that employees are fulfilling their obligations to their employees by minimizing the risks to their health.

It is advisable for employers to choose a competent health and safety service provider and to ensure that assessments are carried out aligning with the latest laws and regulations of health and safety standards.

Whether you are a big business or a small one, we have bespoke solutions for your health and safety.

Occupational Health & Services Environmental, we make sure that you have an appropriate assessment for your business and premises.

To have information on a breathing air quality test for your business , you can simply fill in a contact us form, and one of our experts will be in touch with you soon.

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02 September 2021, 15:03