Breathing Air Analysis

Any person using breathing air via a range of respiratory apparatus should satisfy themselves that the quality of the compressed air meets current breathing air standards as laid down in IS EN 12021:2014.

The Irish standard specifies requirements for the quality of compressed air supplied for the use with the following types of equipment:

  • Respiratory protective devices – self-contained open circuit compressed breathing apparatus (SCBA) and open circuit compressed underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA).
  • Respiratory protective devices – compressed air line breathing apparatus and compressed airline breathing apparatus for use under water.
  • Respiratory protective devices for escape – self-contained open circuit compressed air breathing apparatus including full face mask or mouthpiece assembly or hoods.


Periodic Checks

Periodic checks should be carried out on the output breathing air quality of a HP or LP compressor if used for breathing air purposes, by a competent person. The testing frequency depends on the amount of use of the compressor, but should not be less frequent than quarterly (every three months) or after each filter change/service.

Contaminant Levels

Compressed gas for breathing shall not contain contaminants at a concentration which can cause toxic or harmful effects and shall be kept to as low a level as possible and the limit shall be less than one sixth of a national 8 hour exposure limit.

A duty of care exists for all providers of breathing air to ensure that the air quality meets or is less than current standards for those personnel using respiratory equipment.