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Breathing Air Quality Testing

Breathing Air Quality Testing

Avelair provide compressed air quality and breathing air testing for a wide range of automotive, commercial, medical, pharmaceutical, dive and fire service industries.

Regular compressed air quality testing is critical on fixed or mobile air compressor systems to ensure the compressed air is suitable to breath for the user.   Testing checks the quality of compressed air for levels of oxygen, oil, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, moisture and odour – this is due to the following reasons:

  • Low oxygen levels can cause asphyxiation
  • Oil can cause ill health
  • High levels of Carbon dioxide  can cause intoxication or poisoning
  • Carbon monoxide can cause  headaches, dizziness and vomiting and higher levels can cause loss of consciousness and death
  • Water or moisture can cause internal corrosion, freezing and can damage breathing air aparatus
  • Odour can be unpleasant to work and may indicate an underlying problem

Testing should be completed to ensure you comply with the following legal requirements:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242) – requires a safe working environment by the application of risk assessment procedures.This is a legal necessity under the following guidance:
  • The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/1144) Schedule 2 – refers to the design and manufacturer of respiratory protective equipment.
  • The Work in Compressed Air Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/1656) – these regulations deal with those aspects where the user is operating in a pressure higher than atmospheric, e.g. tunnelling.
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2677) (also as amended by S.I. 2004 No. 3386 in respect of term “workplace exposure limit”) – these regulations identify the maximum exposure limits for a defined list of contaminants which may be present in a workplace atmosphere. The exposure limits are now identified by the single term “workplace exposure limit (WEL)” which encompasses both Long and Short Term Exposure. Related to COSHH is a reference listing published annually under the identity EH40 “Occupational Exposure Limits”. The listings are in addition to those in COSHH. Where any doubt exists as to the limits for any contaminant then this should be used as a start point.

Tests should be completed regularly based on a risk assessment but we would recomend at least once every three months.  The tests are completed by our in house compressed air engineers with the latest air quality testing equipment – it takes about 30 minutes per point and we can work around your workload to ensure minimum downtime and disruption.

It is important that everyone using compressed breathing air understands the importance of maintaining suitable air quality and the consequences of not doing so, to ensure that everyone involved in the use of the air produced is kept safe form both immediate and long term health conditions.

The most commonly used standard for the air purity is BS EN 12021  which is detailed below:

SubstanceExtract from BS EN 12021:2014 - Clause 6.
Contaminants – Compressed gas for breathing shall not contain contaminants at a concentration which can cause toxic or harmful effects. In any event, all contaminants shall be kept to as low a level as possible and shall be less than one tenth of a national 8 h exposure limit. For breathing air only the limit shall be less than one sixth of a national 8 h exposure limit. (WEL – See EH40)
Oxygen(21 ± 1) % by volume (dry air)
Carbon monoxide≤ 5ml/m3 (now at the same level as was formerly indicated in BS 4275)
Carbon dioxide500ml/m3
Oil0,5 mg/m3 (previously identified as lubricants [droplets or mist])
Odour/tasteShall be free from unsatisfactory odour or taste
WaterSee Note 1 and 2 - (Previously stated as "There shall be no free liquid water")
Note 1 – Compressed breathing air shall have a dew point sufficiently low to prevent condensation and freezing. Where the apparatus is used and stored at a known temperature the pressure dew point shall be at least 5 °C below the likely lowest temperature.

Note 2 – Where the conditions of usage and storage of any compressed air supply is not known the pressure dew point shall not exceed −11 °C.

Our team can offer professional and cost effective air quality testing.

Contact us to discuss further on 01359 272828

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