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Breathing Air Compressor Air Quality Testing

Breathing Air Compressor Air Quality Testing

Compressors used to provide breathing air either by line or to fill compressed air cylinders must comply with the requirements of EN 12021:2014. This directive sets out minimum quality standards for breathable compressed air,

EN 12021:2014 stipulates the minimum quality standards for breathable compressed air. This includes the levels of oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, lubricants, water and other types of contaminants and odour.

Breathing air risk assessment

BS EN 12021 stipulates that breathing air fed to respiratory protective equipment (RPE) must be tested every three months. This can be more frequently where the quality of the air supply cannot be assured (for example, if it has been moved to a different location).

Breathing air compressor air quality testing is essential to ensure the quality and safety of air-fed respiratory equipment, guaranteeing this is kept free of any potentially harmful contaminants. 

Testing processes check for the presence of substances including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oil mist, as well as verifying levels of oxygen, water and water vapour dew point.

How is the testing carried out?

CDH Group conducts on-site breathing air testing in line with the requirements of BS EN 12021 to ensure there are no contaminants at a level which could have a damaging effect on health.  Tests are carried out by qualified engineers, using the latest air testing equipment

Best practice should be followed for time intervals between testing, ensuring breathing air systems offer the highest quality of breathing air to safeguard users.

What do breathing air quality tests check for?

In line with international standards and requirements, our tests check for level of:-

  • Air flow rates
  • Oxygen levels
  • Carbon monoxide levels
  • Carbon dioxide levels
  • Oil and oil mist
  • Water and water vapour

How are the tests carried out?

Tests are carried out at point of use and usually take around 30 minutes without significant workflow disruption or downtime. We supply a detailed document reporting on the test results. This comes with recommendations on any necessary improvements or areas of concern.


What is EN 12021?

BS EN 12021:2014 sets the acceptable parameters for delivering breathing air of a safe and acceptable standard. Oxygen levels must be at 21% (+/-1%), carbon monoxide cannot exceed 5ppm and carbon monoxide must be less than 500ppm. Oil mist and vapour must not exceed 0.5 mgm-3, and the air should be without any significant taste or odour.

The dew point must be low enough to prevent condensation and freezing, and at least 5oC below the lowest temperature at which equipment is used and stored.



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