After 30+ years in the gas detection business, I am still surprised at the number of gas detection users not bump testing their instruments prior to use.
Whatever the term….bump test, challenge test, function test, response test or verification. The only way to guarantee that a gas detection instruments will detect gas is to test it with a known concentration of gas. Exposing the instrument to a known concentration of test gas will show whether the sensors respond and whether the instrument functions properly.
Gas detector sensors fail for a variety of reasons
Each cause listed below has the ability to prevent a sensor from measuring the gas it is intended for. The affects are often invisible to the user and can only be identified through testing. See our blog on why your gas detector isn’t working to find out more about this.
- Gas Exposure
- Temperature Affect
- Sensor Drift
The affects are so significant that not testing your instrument prior to use puts your life and others at risk.
So why don’t you test your instrument prior to use?
- It takes too long
- It’s too hard and requires specialised training
- It’s too expensive
- The sales rep said we don’t have to
- The sensors should not need to be tested
- There is no law saying we have to
You’ve either heard these uttered you have uttered them yourself.
Let’s look at each statement;
Takes too long
The average time to bump test an instrument (H2S/CO/CH4/O2) is 30 seconds. Even at a minute, it is less time than it takes to put on your boots.
Too Hard and Requires Specialised Training
The majority of users go home at night and use computers, televisions and other electronic devices that are significantly more difficult to understand than a gas detector. Stop insulting your work force. Train them on why it is necessary and how to check/test their instrument. Then make it mandatory! This is not calibration and repair. Every user must be able to test their instrument. A bump test station can be as simple as a push button regulator and cylinder. This allows ease of use and prevents gas wastage.
The cost of bump testing a four gas instrument with H2S/CO/CH4/O2 mixture at 30 seconds is based upon the size of the cylinder you use. The smallest cylinder (34litre) will cost about $4.00(AUD). That is about the cost of that must have daily cup of coffee.
34 litre cylinder = $4.00/test
65 litre cylinder= $3.50/test
112 litre cylinder = $2.50/test
750 litre cylinder =$1.50/test
1500 litre cylinder =.99/test
7500 litre cylinder =.40/test
Testing one instrument per work day (260 days) will consume 130 litres of gas over a year. Select the cylinder size that will reduce your cost/litre to the lowest point. Remember that today H2S mixtures last two years, so expand your calculations to two years and save more. To assist in the calculation you can have a look at our gas calculator by clicking here.
Always remember the cost of bump testing is extremely low relative to the potential risk of injury or death.
The Sales Rep Said I Don’t Have To
Find a new company to deal with, or at least a new sales person. Every gas detection instrument manufacturer globally recommends bump/function testing today. No exceptions.
There Is No Law Saying We Have To
True in Australia the laws are not clear, but the laws in Australia are written in such a manner to make bump/function testing a requirement. See “Australian Gas Detection Standards- Make your workplace safer”
Key standards include:
AS/NZ 60079.298.2 Selection, installation, use and maintenance of detectors
AS 2865: 2009- Confined Space Safe Work Australia Exposure standards.
In each case the standards recommend bump testing and default to “manufacturer’s recommendation”. All manufacturers recommend bump testing. Globally this is also the case, with a variety of laws or standards recommending bump testing as best practice or required under law.
Bump testing is a required and critical part of any gas detection program.
Simple to implement and cost effective, it provides greater worker confidence and acceptance in the use of any gas detection instrument in the work place.