Development of a simple air change rate measurement system

Project No. BGIA 3115


completed 12/2009


Measuring the effectiveness of ventilation is a key issue when problems arise in mechanical (and in some cases also in natural) ventilation systems and with the frequent accompanying problems of hazardous substances. Before now, measurement at the BGIA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was possible only by means of a complex tracer gas measurement method. The established method, which involves up to six IR analysers, complex test-gas metering, transfer of the measured values and subsequent evaluation, must be supervised by the experienced BGIA measurement technicians. Considerable human and technical resources are required for the measurements. For small areas (up to approximately 400 m³) in particular, the need was expressed in the FGG (the co-ordinating committee of the Heads of the measurement services of the accident insurance institutions) at the Berufsgenossenschaftlichen Messsystem Gefahrstoffe (BGMG) for a simplier method to be made available to these services.


A method was developed by means of which the measurement technicians of the accident insurance institutions are able to release and sample the tracer gases independently on site. Analysis is performed at the BGIA. A suitable analysis system was first selected and procured. A Shimadzu tracer gas chromatograph was found to be suitable. Once the apparatus had been qualified, tests were conducted in actual working areas of various dimensions. In the third phase of the project, measurement technicians at the accident insurance institutions were familiarized with the system, and the system's implementation was reviewed for its suitability for use in the field.


The system has been ready for use since the beginning of 2010. The measurement technicians of the accident insurance institutions are now able to conduct air change rate measurements independently. As with chemical and biological sampling, the data are recorded in the BGMG and analysed at the BGIA. Following performance of the measurements, the data are made available in the MEGA database. A body of data is thus built up which describes the ventilation situation in the most diverse forms of enterprise. At completion of the project, the system was included in the BGMG as a standard measurement system.

Last Update:

2 May 2016


Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (BGIA)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

questions beyond hazard-related issues


protective measure

Description, key words:

ventilation, air change rate, tracer gas, SF6, sulphur hexafluoride