April 8, 2019 @ 4:19 PM

**Note:  We DO NOT warrantee or guarantee the information here.  We take no responsibility for its use or misuse.****

For Air Monitoring and Sampling Plans Please contact us at jim@safetywars.com or (201) 984-5625.

Why Air Monitoring Is Important by Jim Poesl

Air monitoring is completed on jobs where hazardous atmospheres might occur.  Normally these include:

·     Work at chemical plants

·     Work at oil refineries/terminals

·     Underground storage tank removal

·     Emergency responses

·     Confined space entries

·     Hazardous waste site cleanups or responses.

Always comply with the facility’s air monitoring requirements unless they are deemed to be inadequate.  Why would client air monitoring be inadequate?  This happens more than most safety people want to admit.  JCP Tech has been on projects where:

·     Air monitoring results are suspect or withheld.

·     The facility  is working with broken or uncalibrated equipment.

·     The facility has low operational discipline and ignores procedures.

·     Lack of training and  by the facility (easily fixed, contact us for training).

Consult with a qualified safety professional to develop a specific air monitoring program if needed. JCP Technical helps companies write their air monitoring plans for all situations. Contact us at jim@safetywars.com or 201-984-5625.

Calibration and Bump Testing

All air monitoring equipment will be calibrated or bump testing in accordance with NFPA 350 Guide for Confined Space Entry and Work.

What is calibration?

Calibration is when a meter is exposed to 0 air or background air, and then to a known concentration of gas.  The meter either adjusts itself (while in calibration mode), or is manually adjusted by the user (in the case of the air systems C0-91 Carbon Monoxide Monitor, aka. Orange box).  Some monitors have only a 1-point calibration like Oxygen monitors that are set to 20.9%.

When to Calibrate

1.    At least monthly.  If you think you are going to court, before and after each use.

2.    If the meter’s function is in doubt.

3.    If it sucks up water or moisture.

4.    If it sucks up dirt or other contamination.

5.    In accordance with client’s requirements.

6.    In accordance with manufacturer’s or distributors instructions.

7.    Annually by a third party with a certificate of calibration.

8.    To verify accurate readings.

What is Bump Testing?

Bump testing is done solely to verify the sensors are working (not necessarily reading accurately), and the alarms sound.  Depending on the equipment it may NOT need to be in a bump test mode.

When to Bump Test:

1.    Daily before use

2.    To check alarm or sensor function

How to document Calibration/Bump Tests

DO NOT RELY ON THE DATALOGGING FEATURE OF THE MONITOR, EVER….  Manually enter into a log book or form with the following minimum data:

·     Date of test

·     Serial number of gas monitor and sensors tested

·     Serial number of any docking/calibration station used to perform the test or name of individual conducting a manual test

·     Type and concentration of each gas used to conduct the test

·     The result of the test for each sensor in the gas monitor tested.

·     Signature, Date, Print your name and company.

If you don’t think this is important, this is usually in the top 10 questions in an accident investigation by the government or savvy attorney.  If you don’t have it, it is a problem.

How to use it:

1.    MAKE SURE YOU DOCUMENT OR LOG IN ON THE ATTACHED FORM THE CALIBRATION OR BUMP TEST OPTIONS.

2.    In accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations

3.    In accordance to applicable laws and regulations

a.    Confined Space Entry 29CFR 1910.146 (General Industry)

b.    Confined Space Entry 29CFR 1926.1200 (Construction)

c.    Confined and Enclosed Spaces (Maritime work) 1915 Subpart B - Confined and Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres in Shipyard Employment.

4.    In accordance with Industry Standard NFPA 350 if applicable

5.    4 or 5 gas monitors should not be used as soil screening devices.

6.    During a CSE air monitoring should be conducted continuously for:

a.    Oxygen first, because if the oxygen levels are low none of the other sensors will read properly.

b.    Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) second.

c.    Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

d.    CARBON MONOXIDE(CO)

e.    Any other Toxic Gas

7.    During Hot Work to verify the area has a safe atmosphere.  It needs to be done at all levels of the work area, the majority of flammable gases or vapors are denser than air, check the Safety Data Sheet always

8.    Air monitoring should also be done in the worker’s breathing zone, to reduce the likelihood of exposure.

9.    ALWAYS DOCUMENT THE READINGS IN EITHER A LOG BOOK OR ON A SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER.  DO NOT EVER RELY ON THE DATALOGGING FUNCTION. CSE MONITORING SHOULD BE LOGGED IN EVERY 15 MINUTES.