Air Purity Testing

Air Purity Testing for Breathing Air Supplies:

Breathing air purity is a critical aspect of workplace safety, especially in industries where employees rely on respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to safeguard their health. In the UK, stringent laws and regulations govern the quality of breathing air to ensure it meets specific safety standards.

Why Test Breathing Air Quality:

Testing the quality of breathing air is essential to prevent exposure to harmful contaminants that can pose significant health risks. Contaminants such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oil, and water can enter the air supply through various means, including malfunctioning compressors and inadequate filtration systems. Regular air quality validation is necessary to ensure that the breathing air supplied is safe and complies with the required standards.

UK Regulations and Standards:

Businesses in the UK must adhere to several regulations and standards to maintain the purity of their breathing air supplies:

  • EN12021: This European standard specifies the minimum quality requirements for breathable compressed air including required levels of oxygen, and acceptable levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, lubricants, water, and other contaminants.
  • COSHH L5 (Sixth Edition 2013): The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations require employers to prevent or control exposure to hazardous substances, including ensuring the quality of breathing air.
  • HSG 53: The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) guidance on respiratory protective equipment at work provides practical advice on selecting, using, and maintaining RPE, including the importance of air quality testing.
  • The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010: These regulations implement EU directives on air quality, setting legally binding limits for concentrations of major air pollutants.
  • Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations: Employers must ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated with a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air.


Frequency of Testing:

The frequency of breathing air quality testing depends on various factors, including the type of RPE used, the environment in which it is used, and the potential for air quality deterioration. It is crucial for employers to establish a regular testing schedule to ensure continuous compliance with the standards.
For example:

High-Risk Environments: In environments where there is a high potential for air quality deterioration due to contaminants like toxic gases, vapors, or particulates, testing might be conducted more frequently, such as weekly or bi-weekly.

Standard Industrial Settings: For typical industrial settings with moderate risk, the testing frequency might follow the minimum recommendation of every three months.

Construction Sites: On construction sites where dust and other particulates are common, air quality testing might be done monthly to ensure the safety of workers using RPE

Chemical Plants: In chemical manufacturing or processing plants, where workers might be exposed to hazardous chemicals, testing could be required on a monthly basis or even bi-monthly basis, depending on the volatility of the substances handled.

It’s important to note that these are just examples, and the actual frequency should be based on a thorough risk assessment as per the guidelines provided in the HSE document Respiratory Equipment at Work (HSG 53), which states that the frequency of tests should be based on risk assessment but should take place at least every three months, and more often when the quality of air cannot be assured to these levels.

Recording Results:

Recording air quality test results is not only a regulatory requirement but also a best practice for monitoring the performance of air purification systems and identifying trends that may indicate potential issues.

What can Arion do?

At Arion Training and Development, we are dedicated to ensuring that your workplace adheres to the highest standards of air purity. Our expertise in air purity testing and state-of-the-art testing equipment allows us to identify any potential contaminants in your breathing air supply and provide effective solutions to address them. Our team is well-versed in the latest UK laws and regulations, guaranteeing that our services will keep your business compliant with all health and safety requirements. Whether you require initial testing, routine checks, or emergency assessments, we are equipped to support your needs with precision and care, creating a safer and healthier environment for your employees.

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