Compressed breathing air
Compressed breathing air is used in a variety of military applications including: firefighting, diving, medical decompression and emergency breathing air.
Anyone who utilises breathing air compressors, breathing air cylinders and process air compressors needs to ensure the quality of their compressed breathing air.
Why is compressed breathing air used?
Compressed breathing air is produced by a breathing air compressor and purification system. The air protects workers engaged in tasks like sandblasting, spray painting, chemical spill clean-up, welding, grinding, pipe and tank cleaning and similar activities where repeat exposure can pose a health threat.
What are the different types of compressed breathing air systems?
- Constant flow: Air is passed continuously through the respirator to minimise leakage and entry of external contaminants into the respirator, to ventilate the respirator and to provide Grade D breathing gas
- Demand flow: Air is supplied to the respirator only as the wearer inhales or demands air. Air flow adjusts automatically to the users breathing rate. This system is used for short duration work and is usually supplied by compressed air cylinders or an online compressor
- Pressure demand: Positive pressure is maintained in the respirator at all times by providing a constant air flow, with increased air flow upon inhalation. It requires a tight fitting respirator and is supplied by an online compressor or compressed air cylinder
Why do you need a compressed breathing air analyser?
Relevant standards including BS EN 12021, DEF STAN 68-284, Navsea SS521-AK-HBK-010 and BS 8478 require adherence to specific limits of constituents in breathing air.
Fatal accidents have occurred where workers have been supplied from a contaminated breathing air supply. By having an online analyser you eliminate these potential risks by continuously monitoring, ensuring you are adhering to the required safety standards.
Common compressed breathing air risks
- Carbon monoxide (CO) - a highly toxic gas which is odourless, colourless and has no taste. It can enter the breathing air system through the air intake and can be produced by overheating of compressors or a breakdown of the lubricating oil within the compressor (pyrolysis)
- Oxygen (O2) - reduced levels of oxygen can be caused by contamination of other gases, incorrect pre-mixed gas and partial combustion of oil. Low oxygen levels can cause symptoms such as dizziness and impaired judgement
- Water (H2O) - water vapour in a breathing air system can freeze, blocking air flow to the user, or combine with oil or other solid contaminants to cause sludge which can clog or damage system components
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) - a colourless, odourless gas with no taste, carbon dioxide levels can rise when air filter systems fail, there is leakage from storage or vehicle exhaust emissions build up
- Oil mist - the lubrication of parts in compressors is required to minimise frictional heating and wear and tear. Excess oil mist can cause breathing discomfort as well as sickness and pneumonia
Contact us today or click on the links below to see how we can keep your compressed breathing air safe.