Dispense Gas Leaks

BOC understands that, while clearly vital to hospitality, CO2 and nitrogen can be hidden dangers to health

Dispense Gas Leaks

CO2 is invisible and odourless, so it is difficult to detect a growing concentration caused by leaks.

Being heavier than air, CO2 does not dissipate easily. Low levels of exposure can result in headaches and dizziness, higher levels lead to laboured breathing and in worst cases, asphyxiation.

How to deal with a gas leak

To protect yourself and your staff against an accidental gas leak:

  • make sure that you comply with all the regulations which apply to licensed premises
  • always follow 'best practice' cellar management procedures
  • install a gas monitor such as the Cellaguard CO2 monitor

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

CO2 is a toxic gas. It is heavier than air and, if there is a leak from a CO2 cylinder, it tends to accumulate on the floor and pushes the oxygen-rich air upwards.

Air normally contains about 0.03% carbon dioxide, but breathing air with increased concentrations of the gas can lead to effects ranging from heavy breathing and a feeling of suffocation through loss of consciousness to asphyxiation.


Nitrogen is not toxic but can cause asphyxiation by reducing the concentration of oxygen in the air.

Dealing with a gas leak

You should check your dispensing systems every day for faults by checking that all nuts and seals are tight and by listening for hissing sounds.

If you suspect that a leak has occurred, you must put emergency gas procedures into operation immediately.

CO2 is odourless, invisible and can be toxic at high concentrations. You could be quickly overcome before realizing anything is wrong.

It is vital to know:

  • How to deal safely with gas leaks
  • What to do in an emergency

Minor gas leaks

We would recommend that a BOC supplied CO2 monitor is fitted within the cellar or all rooms where gas is used or stored.

If any alarms are activated, you must carry out the following steps:

Step 1

Ensure you inform someone else who can act as an observer outside the cellar/cool room entrance and who can raise the alarm should an emergency arise.

Step 2

If ALARM 1 only is flashing (and not ALARM 2) and slow speed buzzer sounds:

1. Isolate the CO₂ supply if safe to do so.
2. Ventilate the room by opening all window and doors.
3. Wait in a safe place until the unit returns to safe mode (green light).
4. When safe to do so, check and repair CO₂ leaks.

Step 3

If BOTH ALARMS 1 and 2 are flashing and increased speed buzzer sounds:

1. Do NOT enter cellar/cool room.
2. Ventilate the cellar/cool room by opening any doors and windows FROM THE OUTSIDE.
3. Never attempt to enter the cellar/cool room by holding your breath.
4. Contact BOC SURESERVE for technical support at the following number: 08457 302 302 and implement your emergency procedure.
5. Do not enter the cellar/cool room until the CELLAGUARD CO₂ monitoring system returns to safe mode (green light).
6. Do not operate the beer or post mix dispensing systems until the CO₂ monitoring system has been checked and any leaks have been repaired.

If you do not have a BOC supplied CO2 monitor you should follow your internal safety procedures.

Lastly, if you have not done so already, call your gas supplier to report the incident and gain advice.

If you should feel any effects of increased CO2 levels, leave the area immediately. Seek medical advice if needed.

Important: If you find someone unconscious and suspect this is due to a higher than normal level of CO2 DO NOT enter the area and contact the emergency services immediately.

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