A 'bump" or "challenge" test of your gas detector will determine whether the unit is responding to gas and thus fit for use. Not only does the bump/challenge test verify the unit will respond to gas, it also confirms that the detectors audio and visual alarms are in working order meaning that out in the field you will be able to hear / feel / see when your detector goes into alarm if/when exposed to gas.
We have heard many excuses over the years as to why someone hasn't / doesn't want to bump test their personal gas detector, from: "I don't have time", "I am not sure how to do it", "it costs too much", "I never use the detector anyway" and so forth.... Let us ask you, how much time/money is your life worth? I bet your families would think that if is worth more than the 30 seconds it takes to carry out a bump test or the cost to set up a kit to do so.
It only takes 30 seconds
Manually a bump/challenge test will take between 40 to 60 seconds for the gas to respond and activate the alarms.
Via a calibration dock most bump tests will take up to 30 seconds.
Frequency of bump testing
"It is recommended that this is done by personnel actually operating the apparatus and is strongly recommended that it is performed before each day of use” [AS/NZ 60079.29.2:2016 Selection, installation, use and maintenance of detectors]
“Gas monitors used for the purpose of atmospheric monitoring within a confined space should be maintained and used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and in reference to AS/NZS 60079” [AS 2865:2009 Confined Space Safe Work Australia Exposure Standards]
“Any atmospheric testing and monitoring in a confined space should be carried out by a competent person using a suitable, correctly calibrated gas detector” [Safe Work Australia: Code of Practice Confined Spaces]
Each Manufacturer's recommendations will suggest a frequency for testing their detector.
BW Technologies by Honeywell state:
"As stated in BW Technologies multi-gas detector manuals, to verify that your detector is responding to gas, BW recommends bump testing the sensors before each day’s use. The bump test exposes the detector to a gas concentration that exceeds the alarm set-points to confirm the sensor’s ability to respond. Manually verify that the audible and visual alarms are activated. Calibrate if the readings are not within the specified limits. Taking less than a minute, a functional (bump) test is easy to perform and will ensure that the gas detector is responding and the gas path is not blocked."
What you need
Complete an external check of your detector by checking the:
These might not seem like much but they can influence the integrity of your unit.