Oil mist detectors are an important piece of hazardous area equipment in their own right, but can also provide peace of mind about the explosion risks in hazardous areas such as engine rooms, platform legs and gas turbine enclosures.

The HSE has published a new report into testing oil mist detectors, in order to assess their performance and whether their accuracy has degraded over time.

“Oil mist detection with appropriate emergency response is identified as a significant risk mitigation,” the HSE states. “However, there are gaps in the knowledge as to how to effectively locate, maintain and operate OMDs in different environments.”

Testing using isokinetic gravimetric samplers is one option, based on international standards, to provide a measurement of airborne mist and spray concentration against which the response of the OMD itself can be compared.

“It is a fundamental method and not affected by changes in the physical properties of the droplets, taking around 1-10 minutes to carry out the measurement,” the report adds.

The study sheds interesting light on how hazardous area equipment can be tested on an ongoing basis, to ensure that it continues to provide the full level of safety for which it was originally installed.