TESTING the functionality of portable gas detectors is an essential safety procedure for anyone working in an environment which could contain hazardous gases. This can be achieved by performing a bump test – a simple method of ensuring portable detectors are working as they should be.
By exposing the detector’s sensors to a specifically selected gas, with a known concentration, it is possible to assess whether the gas detection alarms are activated and therefore working correctly.
Bump tests should be carried out on any detector before use, and when an instrument is given to a new user. The process takes around 10 minutes to learn and no more than 20 seconds to carry out – so lack of time is no excuse.
Importantly, bump tests are necessary because they can save lives. Failing to properly check your equipment could mean you remain unaware of malfunctions, endangering your health and that of those around you. It is a basic safety procedure which ensures your equipment is working before you enter an environment which could become dangerous. In addition, if you fail to carry out a bump test and an incident occurs, it could also endanger your company’s reputation.
Until a bump test is carried out you can’t be sure whether a detector is working as it should be. Using a bump test to check the detector’s reaction to gas is the only way of ensuring the reliability of the instrument.
The quality of the test gas mixture used is crucial to gaining reliable and accurate information. To check the suitability of the mixture you plan to use ensure your supplier provides a calibration certificate, which will tell you about the measured concentration of components in the mixture, how the measurements were made and their accuracy. It will also give you the traceability route of the measurements, showing how they’re related to international standards.
Finally, the stability of different gases can vary due to their susceptibility to chemical reactions, although reliable suppliers will use advanced production techniques to prevent this. In any case, don’t use test or calibration gas mixtures beyond their stated shelf life.
Manually conducting a bump test is quick and straightforward, and normally comprises the following steps:
Learn more about bump testing via this video.