Breathing Air Testing & Breathing Air Systems

CSA logoCompressed breathing air testing is mandatory in most jurisdictions and must be performed to rigid standards by an accredited facility. Access to a reliable and safe supply of breathing air for workers exposed to hazardous materials or working conditions is an absolute requirement. The Canadian Standards Association recommends that an approved laboratory test air systems used to provide compressed breathing air for purity every 6 months.

Why purify compressed air?

In recent years, employers have become increasingly aware of their responsibility to comply with International Breathing Air Standards. The standards define the quality of breathing air that must be provided to operators working in contaminated environments. Contaminants frequently present in compressed air that threaten the well being of breathing air users are;

  • Fumes
  • Oil
  • Vapors
  • Gases
  • Solid particles
  • Micro-organisms

For compressed air to be suitable for breathing air applications, it must be properly purified to ensure that it meets the relevant Breathing Air Standard.


What type of purifier should be used?

With a wide variety of purification products available, ranging from a simple respirator offering basic protection against low levels of dust particles to self contained breathing apparatus it is essential that the inhalation risks be fully assessed and a suitable purification product selected. Breathing air purifiers are designed to offer the user protection against some or all of the contaminants that may be present in a compressed air fed breathing air system.

How do you know the quality of breathing air required?

Whatever the application, the quality of the compressed air used for breathing air applications is detailed in International Breathing Air Standards. The applicable standard for the country of use will not only detail the maximum allowable levels of contaminants but also give an indication of the selection criteria for protection devices. If doubt exists about the potential of a possible contaminant then steps must be taken to either monitor the air quality or install a suitable purification device to ensure compliance with the standard.