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A standard is on the way which will make permanent oxygen reduction an effective alternative to sprinkling in Denmark. The Danish Working Environment Authority has no objections in principle. In future, it may be easier to fireproof, for example, high bay warehouses and storerooms in museums — and, at the same time, reduce the risk of damage caused by sprinkling.
This is because plans for a forthcoming European standard for the design of systems for permanent oxygen reduction are due to be passed in and issued in The forthcoming standard is called EN Fixed firefighting systems — Oxygen reduction systems — Design, installation, planning and maintenance. With a permanent oxygen reduction system you can fireproof the whole warehouse more easily and, at the same time, avoid the often costly water damage that is caused when a sprinkler system has been activated, explains Rolf Knudsen.
The working environment The reduced oxygen concentrations do not exclude people from working in the buildings — provided, of course, that a number of safety requirements are complied with. In fact, many people have experienced an equally low oxygen concentration when they have been on an aeroplane. The air in the pressurised cabin is equivalent to air with an oxygen concentration of around This is the same as being approximately 2, metres above sea level.
More extreme proof is provided by cyclists, who prove that it is even possible to perform extremely hard physical work in conditions with low concentrations of oxygen. Green light from the Danish Working Environment Authority The Danish Working Environment Authority has no objections in principle to permanent oxygen reduction as a means of fireproofing. The German regulation has, for example, four fire classifications for different oxygen concentrations.
In Class 0, the oxygen concentration is above Here, the only safety requirement is that employees have to undergo special instruction.
In Class 1 I Class 2 For example, both the measurement and control of oxygen concentration must be reliable and there must be assurances that the oxygen concentration is not able to fall too low by mistake. This requires the use of approved equipment and regular inspections, stresses Erik Lund Lauridsen. Likewise, it must be ensured that the oxygen-reduced atmosphere cannot spread to other rooms in the building.
In other words, this means that you must permanently maintain an atmosphere in which the stored material cannot burn. For example, you can find tables specifying the maximum permitted oxygen concentration based on the materials that are to be protected, explains Rolf Knudsen. In the case of more specialized materials, the standard refers to how it is possible to find the maximum oxygen concentration by means of a test. Fireproofing by means of permanent oxygen reduction is already used to some extent in, for example, Germany, the UK, Spain, Switzerland and Norway for fireproofing warehouses, freezer rooms and server rooms.
5162 E. Working in oxygen-reduced atmospheres BGI/GUV-I 5162 E. Information
When operating fire prevention systems, the oxygen content of the air is reduced in the room, in accordance with the materials stored or the installations to be protected, in order to prevent the outbreak of fire. In order to avoid health hazards, protection measures must be undertaken as part of the risk assessment. These may be structural, technical, organisation and occupational health measures. It describes the necessary protection measures in such areas. These requirements are the object of this information sheet and are reported therein.
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