RKI Gas Detection Calibration

RKI Gas Detection Calibration

Gas detectors are designed to alert workers to toxic gases and oxygen-deficient environments that jeopardize worker safety. RKI gas detectors are some of the best and most reliable products on the market today, but this equipment needs to be regularly bump tested and calibrated when necessary to ensure the results are accurate.

If your gas detector fails its bump test, it requires a full calibration. Calibration requires you to adjust each of the instrument’s readings to the test gas to ensure that it’s responding correctly and accurately. Gas detectors should be calibrated in conditions that are as close to the environment at the actual work site as you can get, even calibrating on-site if practical. 

The sensor readings on your gas detector can drift over time. OSHA doesn’t have a specific regulation regarding calibration, but employers are required to follow manufacturer guidelines, and calibration is just one part of the process. Learn more about RKI gas detection calibration and bump testing.

How do you calibrate a gas detector?

To calibrate your device, you will need to purchase a calibration gas based on your target gas. The calibration gas gets fed into the monitor. Most calibration gas comes in either 34 or 58-liter containers. 

Once the sensors come in contact with the calibration gas, the device will issue a reading. If the reading is close to or the same as what’s listed on the calibration gas, the device is ready to use. If the readings are off, you will need to recalibrate the device until it produces an accurate reading.

Calibration gases expire after a certain amount of time. This is particularly true of multi-gas cylinders, as the component gases react with each other.Check the label to make sure the gas is still within date.

You need to perform the calibration in an environment that’s similar to the one you will be working in. Some sensors are sensitive to changes in temperature or humidity, which could affect the accuracy of your readings. 

Refer to the user manual before attempting to calibrate your device. RKI provides detailed instructions on how to adjust the sensors safely.  

Zero the gas detector before applying the test gas. This should be done in an area of fresh air, or using a so-called ‘zero air’ cylinder, which is simply a cylinder of known clean air.

If the readings are off, reset the device according to the instructions and reapply the test gas to see if accuracy has improved. You can also find a certified dealer to help with your gas detection calibration and servicing.

How often does a gas monitor need to be calibrated?

Although there is no set rule in terms of how often you should calibrate your device, it’s best to do so frequently, to prevent accidents in the workplace. We recommend bump testing before each use and calibrating at least every six months. If the gas detector fails the bump test, a full calibration will need to be performed. You also should calibrate your device if you move to another location or notice fluctuating environmental conditions such as a change in temperature or humidity. You don’t have to do a full recalibration unless the monitor produces an inaccurate reading during the test.

Manual recalibration can be time-consuming. You can simplify the process by keeping your gas detectors in a docking station. The station automatically recalibrates the device at the end of every shift, so your team can get to work as soon as possible the next day. 

What is the difference between a bump test and calibration?

Calibration tests the accuracy of the sensors on the device. Comparing the results of the reading to what’s listed on the test gas shows you whether the sensors will produce an accurate result. 

A bump test exposes the gas monitor to a target gas, but instead of checking for accuracy, the test lets you know if the device is working. It’s a way of checking the alarms to make sure the device will go off when it detects the target gas. During a bump test, there should be enough of the test gas to trigger the alarm system. You should hear, feel, or see the alarm go off during the test.

Use this information to improve the integrity and accuracy of your organization’s gas detection equipment. If your devices need calibration or a diagnosis for a potential repair, PK Safety can help with our gas detector calibration service. Our staff is trained by RKI and we are a Factory Authorized Service Center for RKI Instruments.