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Bump Test - What Is It and How To Do It

What is a bump test? Is it required? How often is it to be performed? OSHA defers to the manufacturers. The manufacturers have different opinions. It is time for some clarity. In this short article, we will show you how easy it is to perform a bump test. And will, in agreement with OSHA, err on the side of caution and show why it is best to bump before each use.

Bump Test Defined

OSHA defines a bump test as "a qualitative function check in which a challenge gas is passed over the sensor(s) at a concentration and exposure time sufficient to activate all alarm settings."

In English, the bump test is the process that verifies "the performance of the gas detector and ensures that sensors are responding to their target gas." For example, an H2S sensor is exposed to H2S gas to verify it can respond to the presence of H2S. The gas monitor demonstrates a response by both an audible alarm and visually on the display by registering the presence of the gas.

Please note, a bump test does not calibrate the sensors. A bump test is not a calibration.

Bump Test Frequency Per OSHA

OSHA suggests that a bump test "should be conducted before each day's use in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions." Based on OSHA's suggestion, the matter of bump test frequency is to be decided by the manufacturer's instructions. We, of course, recommend this as well.

Some manufacturer's take issue with this policy. But they do so on the assumption that regular calibrations are performed at least once a month, if not more. In our experience, most companies do not calibrate their gas monitors that frequently. Most of you calibrate every 3-6 months. For this reason we, in accordance with OSHA, strongly recommend a bump test before each use. But don't worry. It is as inexpensive and easy as ever to perform a bump test.

How To Bump Test Your Gas Detector

Manufacturers try to make bump testing much more complicated than it is. The truth is bump testing is super simple. It does not require a bump station. It does not require balloons. You don't have to go into some type of bump test mode on your gas monitor.

All you need to perform a bump test is our bump test aerosol can, your gas monitors calibration cup/adapter, and a few seconds.


Bump Test Gas | Major Safety

Our 11 Liter 4-gas bump test gas works like a can of WD-40; attach the straw and "spray." Here is what you do. (1) make sure you monitor is turned on. (2) Attach the monitor's calibration plate. (3) attach the straw that comes with our bump gas onto the can. (4) insert the straw into the opening of your monitor's calibration cup. (5) "spray" the gas for about 1 second. That is it!

If your monitor's sensors are functioning properly, your monitor will alert with both an audible alarm and visual confirmation on the display that the sensors successfully responded to their respective gas--O2, H2S, CO, LEL. You've performed a successful bump test.

A further benefit of bump testing this way is that our cylinder does not ship hazardous. A huge savings on shipping costs. And the benefits don't stop there. Our 11 liter bump test cylinder is under 10 inches tall. It can be easily carried around from job to job. It is even small enough to store in a glove box or tool bag.

 Note: If your gas monitor has an internal pump and doesn't have a calibration plate. Then all you have to do is "spray" the gas into the tube port for a second or less. 

Here is the bottom line: Gas detectors, like every piece of equipment, need to be bump tested to ensure that they are still working properly. If gas detectors are faulty, then it leads to the possibility of putting workers in the path of unnecessary risk. That is why OSHA requires bump testing of gas detectors to make sure your equipment is in working order.

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