Breathing Air Testing

Breathing air used in industries such as spray painting or confined spaces must comply with BS EN 12021:2014.

Testing this air quality, also known as compressed air quality testing, is needed to be sure that the air supplied to the employee is of good quality and does not contain any contaminants at levels that can harm the employee.

What Contaminants Are We Searching For?

BS EN 12021:2014 specifies that air quality testing must be completed for contaminants including:

Carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
 Oil mist
Suitable oxygen levels (Approx. 20.9%)
Water contamination (Dew Point).
Odour and taste of the air supply.

How Does The Air Get Contaminated?

The air intake of a compressor may draw in Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from an outside source. Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant, and carbon monoxide is toxic because of the way it reacts with the blood.
A failing air compressor pump or failing filtration can cause the oil in the airline. This oil gives rise to toxic volatile substances in the air.
The compressed air quality testing measures the amount of oxygen in the air because a dryer malfunction can reduce the oxygen to an unsafe level.
Water and dew point measurements are essential to prevent the condensation or freezing of water in the airline. This freezing could disrupt the supply of air to the user.

How Often Is Breathing Air Testing Required?

The HSE state there is a mandatory 3-month air quality test. This is based on the guidance that compressors and filters can fault or suffer loss of performance quickly.
If the breathing air lines are not frequently used, they will accept that they are tested before use.
All records of tests must be kept for 5 years. We will ensure robust safe documentation storage to meet this need as part of the service.

Breathing Air Testing Limits

The breathing air test aims to ensure appropriate controls are in place, for example inline filters, are delivering good quality air to the user.

The testing must meet the following results / limits:

EN12021: 2014
21 +/- 1%
Lubricants Droplets or Mist
= < 0.5 mg/m3
Odour & Taste
No Significant
Carbon Dioxide
= <500 ml/m3
Carbon Monoxide
= <5 ml/m3
Pressure Dewpoint
= <-11 Deg C or 5 Deg lower than the lowest
application / storage temperature

The compressed air quality testing must also demonstrate that the dew point prevents condensation and freezing. In particular, the dew point of the air must be at least 5oC below the lowest temperature that the operators use and store the equipment. Furthermore, the pressure dew point must not exceed -11oC where the conditions of usage and storage are unknown.

A risk assessment is required to determine the frequency and risk posed to users. We complete a specific risk assessment for you as part of the test.

Ultrafilter are committed to providing a full service,      utilising the latest technology of the F6000, it utilises electronic cells and the Draeger Oil Impactor to test the quality of breathing air in accordance with EN12021 as well as a range of international standards.  We are happy to complete testing, however we don’t stop there. We work with you to get whatever is needed fixed and we also include a full risk assessment, user checklist and keep all records for 5 years on a secure server that you can access

Need some more information?

Feel free to contact us with any questions about our filters and filter elements.