Compressed Breathing Air

Testing of Compressed Breathing Air

Compressed breathing air is used in paint booths in autobody shops, spray booths, silica blasting and other applications. Also compressors are used to fill scuba tanks or provide air to divers. It is very important that the quality of the air provided to the worker or diver meet the requirements and guidelines aid out in the CSA standard for compressed breathing air. Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulations requires compressed breathing air systems to be tested every 6 months to ensure the air quality of the air provided to the worker. The method of testing and analysis is described in the CSA-Z180 criteria. Winnipeg Air Testing Services include the collection of a sample from your breathing air system and provides a detailed report comparing the results to the CSA standard.

Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health regulations require that compressed breathing air (CBA) systems be tested every 6 months to ensure that the quality of the air provided to a worker via a breathing hood or airline does not pose a health hazard to the worker. Testing should also be performed at the time a unit is installed and after a major overhaul of the unit. A provincial workplace safety and health inspector can issue an Improvement Order under the Workplace Safety and Health Act to a workplace that has not had the testing done.

What is the main reason that a CBA system fails a test?

CBA systems draw in air from the outside. For some parameters of the analysis, there is very little leeway between ambient conditions and allowable concentrations in the sample. For example, the CSA Standard states that a system fails if the sample contains more than 600 ppm of carbon dioxide. Outside conditions are approximately 350 ppm in the summer. During the winter, with cars idling and furnaces running, the outside level of carbon dioxide can often be over 600 ppm. Under these conditions, any unit will “fail” the test. A failed test requires a second test – often with a premium charged by the laboratory for rush turnaround time. It could also mean that the unit be taken out of service until it passes the second test. Winnipeg Air Testing takes a second sample of the outdoor conditions to prevent these false “fails” in your system. This allows the results to be corrected for high outside ambient conditions.

Winnipeg Air Testing

All samples taken by an experienced Industrial Hygienist.

  • All samples analyzed at an accredited laboratory.
  • Ambient sample collected as a precaution of high outdoor levels.
  • Certificate of Compliance are issued to be posted by the Unit.

Tips for Complying with the CSA Compressed Breathing Air Standard

  • A qualified person should be designated as having the responsibility to ensure that the compressed breathing air system is tested once every 6 month, or after any mechanical overhaul, modifications or extensive repairs.
  • Records of air testing should be maintained for a period of 5 years.
  • The compressed breathing air hose and breathing air pipeline should be marked as “Compressed Breathing Air Use Only”.
  • Current Certificate of Compliance should be posted in the workplace.

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