Breathing Air Quality Testing

Breathing Air Quality Testing

If you are using compressed air as breathing air you have a legal requirement to regularly test the breathing air quality to ensure the health and safety of your employees. At Air Energy, we offer comprehensive breathing air quality testing.

Air Energy engineers can carry out breathing air testing, providing you with the relevant certificates to assure compliance with international standard BS EN 12021.

Requirements are specified in the standard for acceptable levels of oxygen, lubricants, oil, odour, taste, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water content in compressed breathing air.

Together these are called Volatile organic compounds or VOCs. We check for these VOCs in our quality compressed breathing air testing process. The image to the right shows what we test for and the acceptable levels.

Breathing Air Quality Testing

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Breathing Air Testing Frequency

In the UK, EN12021 advises that air quality testing and monitoring of samples should be taken and analysed at least every three months or more frequently if there has been a change in, or any concerns relating to, the production process, including if any air compressors have been moved.

Anything that may change the compressed air quality should be tested for health and safety.

Our equipment confirms the air purity in accordance with the latest BS EN 12021 requirements. You’ll receive the information you need about the quality of your breathing air to ensure you are compliant.

At Air Energy, we offer testing of the full range of organic compounds required to receive the relevant certificates for your workplace to assure compliance with international standard BS EN 12021.

How Much Does Air Quality Testing/Monitoring Cost?

A breathing air quality test will depend on the size of your workplace and other factors. Call us with more information and we will be more than happy to advise.

Why Is Breathing Air Quality Testing Important?

Air quality testing/monitoring is one of the most important things for a few important reasons:

  • Protects the health, safety and well-being of your staff and people visiting your premises.
  • Ensure your compressor, products and staff are also protected from any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, detecting toxic or harmful effects.
  • Ensures your business is in compliance with UK and International legal standards for breathing quality.
  • Ensures your compressed air and work environment has safe levels of oxygen, lubricants, oil, odour, taste, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water content.

Breathing Air Quality Testing FAQs

In recent years, employers have become increasingly aware of their responsibility to comply with breathing air standards and regulations. The most commonly specified standard for prescribing breathable air was BS 4275:1997, titled ‘Guide to implementing an effective respiratory protective device program,’ which was withdrawn on November 22, 2005.

On that date, it was replaced by BS EN 529:2005, titled ‘Respiratory protective devices. Recommendations for selection, use, care, and maintenance.’ Unlike BS 4275, the new standard BS EN 529 does not specify air purity standards. However, it suggests in Annex A, clause 4.5, that reference should be made to BS EN 12021. Ensuring your compressed air supply meets occupational exposure limits and does not require workers to wear respiratory protective equipment when maximum exposure limits have been reached is paramount. Having regular risk assessment procedures to ensure your workplace exposure limit and compressed air regulations are met, means that your compressed air system is legal and safe. Regular breathing air quality tests or a risk assessment means that the breathing air supplied by your compressor meets personal protective equipment regulations

Most companies can use their standard workshop air compressor as a source of compressed air for breathing purposes, provided that the compressor is well-maintained and properly situated. In practical terms, this entails regular servicing of the air compressor. Additionally, the air source for the compressor should be of high quality, meaning it should be located away from areas like car parks, lorry parks, or other industrial gas outlets. To ensure the purity of the compressed air, the compressor system should include a fridge dryer and standard filtration.

The compressed air can then be distributed through conventional pipework, alongside the factory’s regular air supply. A standard pipe outlet can serve as the source of breathing air. What becomes critical at this point is the implementation of further filtration at the point of use, just before the air enters the face mask. Special breathing air point-of-use filters are available for this purpose, ensuring that the air meets the necessary breathing air standards. These filters are often mounted on the user’s belt to minimize the risk of contamination between the filter and the mask.

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