National trade body The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has revised its guidance relating to reduced oxygen atmospheres.

Hypoxic air fire suppression systems can be found in facilities including library archives, document stores and museums, where they take oxygen levels down from usual oxygen rate of 21%, to 15% or even lower, to reduce the threat of ignition.

In food environments they help deter oxidation of products and extend shelf-life.

The Association has updated its Technical Information Sheet 30, ‘Working In Reduced Oxygen Atmospheres,’ offering eight points for compliance aimed at system installers and premise owners who have, or are looking to introduce, the fire suppression method to their buildings.

Details covered include ensuring compliance with the ‘Confined Spaces Regulations 1997,’ ensuring a safe system of work, health assessments for those entering this type of environment, monitoring equipment and system maintenance.

Doug Thornton, Chief Executive of the BCGA, said, “There are safety issues where controlled workplace atmospheres are in use, such as hypoxic air fire suppression systems, where lower than normal oxygen levels are present.”

“An atmosphere of 15% oxygen level can present a significant threat to human life due to the risk of asphyxiation and, as a result, such environments need to risk assessed and safeguards may need to be put in place.”

“This Technical Information Sheet provides advice and guidance to installers and premise owners where these systems are, or are about to be, fitted, for the safety of those who are required to access such spaces.”

This is the second revision of TIS 30 and the latest version can be downloaded for free from the publications area of the BCGA website at

BCGA Annual Conference

The helium market, dry ice applications and dangerous goods are just three of the topics set to be discussed at the BCGA Annual Conference in April.

To be held at the Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Worsley Park in Manchester on 23rd April, the conference will feature a wide-ranging programme of speakers and papers covering different areas of the industry including modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) gases, food and plastics and a helium market update.

Insight into the transportation of goods from the Department for Transport is also included on the agenda and the conference concludes with keynote speaker Colin Maclachlan, a former SAS soldier with more than 25 years of security and risk related experiences, who has appeared on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and Channel 5’s Secrets of the SAS.

More info here.