What Does Bump Test Mean?
A bump test, also known as a function check, is a routine test used to confirm that a direct-reading portable gas-monitoring (DRPGM) device is able to detect and alarm when its sensor is exposed to a sufficient amount of the gas the device is built to detect.
Bump tests are qualitative in nature; they do not provide information on the accuracy of the device's measurements, and therefore they do not act as a method for calibrating the gas detector.
Safeopedia Explains Bump Test
Portable gas monitors act as a portable alarm system to alert workers who operate in a confined space when they are exposed to an unsafe level of a particular gas. Bump tests ensure these devices are operable before they are used in the field, and they are therefore best understood as a safety precaution that minimizes the risk that the device will not work properly when it needs to.
OSHA and most other governmental occupational health and safety organizations, as well as the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), recommend that bump tests be performed on all in-use DRPGMs at the beginning of each working day. The test is done in a clean location to eliminate interference from contaminants, and it involves exposing the meter’s sensor to a known concentration of the target gas. Should the meter fail to respond in a normal fashion, it must be fully recalibrated or taken out of service.
While OSHA recommends the use of bump tests, it does not specifically require them. However, several OSHA standards require the use of DRPGMs in certain workplace situations. As OSHA recognizes the ISEA’s recommendation for users to engage in daily bump tests as a good practice, an employer’s bump test policy may be considered part of an OSHA evaluation of the employer’s compliance with their general duty to ensure workplace safety.
Whether a DRPGM has a manufacturer’s recommendation to perform a daily bump test can also affect whether an employer faces a legal obligation to do so. Many government-recognized consensus standards require employers to follow all manufacturer’s recommendations when using a DRPGM.
The mandatory use of bump tests is often a requirement for contractors and vendors seeking to do business on a particular project. This is because contracting parties often seek to minimize their liabilities through policies that require all contractors to demonstrate they are compliant with all major applicable safety and quality standards. Many major standards associations—such as CSA group—require the use of daily bump tests in order for a DRPGM to be considered to be standards-compliant while in use.