The Importance of Bump Testing & Calibrating Your Gas Detectors

The Importance of Bump Testing & Calibrating Your Gas Detectors

The Importance of Bump Testing & Calibrating Your Gas Detectors 

Gas detectors play a critical role in ensuring the safety of workers and personnel on site. When used, calibrated and maintained in accordance to manufacturer’s instructions, gas detectors are extremely effective and reliable in alerting workers and personnel of potentially dangerous environments however gas detectors alone are not enough to keep you and your team safe. Workers continue to lose their lives from exposure to toxic or explosive gases. Why is this so?


No matter how reliable, robust and dependable a gas detector is, it’s not enough to give every worker in hazardous environments a gas detector and simply assume that they are truly safe. A successful and effective gas detection program is required to ensure the safety of you and your team. A successful gas detection safety program requires many elements including reliable equipment and safe behaviour and practice.

Gas detection technology in recent years has developed rapidly bringing with it a range of “maintenance free” or “calibration free” gas detectors that seemingly require either very little or no upkeep. As a result, gas detector users have become reliant on longer lasting sensors and assume that the gas detectors are functioning correctly and will alarm correctly in dangerous environments.

This is not the case as the only way to determine if your gas detector is functioning correctly and responding to gas is via a daily bump test and routine calibration.

So what is the difference between a bump test and a calibration?

A bump test simply exposes the gas detector to the target gas/es in order to verify that the sensors respond and thus produce an alarm. It does not change the sensor memory.

A calibration however adjusts the instruments sensors to a known standard concentration of the target gas/es. Adjustments involve modification of the detectors response to bring the reading into line with what is expected while exposing the instrument to the known source.

Data from Industrial Scientific’s iNet Gas Detection Management System which currently monitors more than 164,000 gas detectors at more than 6,900 customer sites in 34+ countries around the world shows that 3 in every 1,000 detectors used on a daily basis are likely to fail a bump test and subsequently fail to respond to gas if encountered during use so a bump test is ALWAYS recommended prior to using a gas detector as a calibration alone does not always guarantee that the gas detector is functioning properly.

In 2005, the gas detector industry saw an industry-wide recall on oxygen sensors that calibrated perfectly HOWEVER did not actually respond to low concentrations of oxygen because the calibration gas commonly used did not test the sensor at a low level sufficient to expose the error. This problem was only evident on a bump test.

Although calibrations are needed to ensure the accuracy of your gas detector, gas detectors are primarily for safety so being a few ppm out is neither here nor there in the long run. What is important however is that the gas detector warns users to evacuate an area when gas rise to dangerous levels.

Calibration stations or instrument docking station such as the Industrial Scientific DSX Docking Station provides ease and flexibility in managing your gas detectors – whether you have one or a whole fleet. The DSX Docking Station comes in three options as a standalone, cloud connected or local server option each with the ability to automate bump tests and calibrations as well as provide bump test and calibration certificates for compliance and reporting purposes.

Click here for more information about Air-Met's portable gas detection range.

For more information about bump tests and calibrations, please contact your local Air-Met Scientific office to speak to one of our friendly representatives. 


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Date and Time

Thu. 02 Mar 2017

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The Importance of Bump Testing & Calibrating Your Gas Detectors