The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert to employers and workers using the CSE Corporation's SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCR SR). Some of these devices have a critical defect that may cause the release of insufficient oxygen during start-up, a potentially life-threatening situation for workers using the respirator.

Employers must remove the CSR SR-100s from service no later than May 31, 2012 and replace them with a different self-rescuer approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), or other respirator suitable for emergency escape protection.

When workers need to escape from a dangerous situation, effective and reliable respiratory protection is essential, says OSHA.

NIOSH recently issued a technical report (Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-139] that found the CSE SR-100 units had an unacceptable defect rate and field-deployed units no longer conform to the minimum requirements for certification under 42 CFR Part 84.

OSHA's underground construction standard (29 CFR 800(g)(2)) requires the use of self-rescuer respirators and OSHA's permit-required confined space standard (29 CFR 1910.146 Appendix E) also identified these respirators as one approach to emergency escape respiratory protection for sewer workers.

Under OSHA's respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), employers also must provide training to ensure that workers know what to do should their SCSR fail to activate.

Learn more about workplace safety at CBIA's Annual Health & Safety Conference, May 16 in Farmington. Details