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Emergency breathing air devices found to fail

Posted: May 2, 2012 - 12:02am

U.S. mines are required to phase out use of potentially defective safety equipment that provides breathable air to underground miners in emergency situations.

The Department of Labor is recalling 70,000 SR-100 self-contained self-rescuers manufactured by Pittsburg, Pa.-based CSE Corporation. In testing, more than 1 percent failed, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. This failure rate does not conform to the Administration’s safety requirements.

The SR-100 was designed to provide miners up to 60 minutes of breathable air in emergency situations. CSE Corp. voluntarily stopped selling the unit after tests showed a potential problem with the starter oxygen system.

The phase-out begins immediately. Self-rescuers worn or carried by miners and stored on mantrips — shuttles miners ride into the mine — must be replaced by April 26, 2013. Underground mines must phase out all SR-100s by Dec. 31, 2013.

“Due to the large number of CSE SR-100s in underground coal mines, multiple SCSRs available to miners, the low probability of failure and the shortage of immediately available replacements, MSHA and [the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] have determined that an orderly phase-out will better protect the safety of miners than immediate withdrawal of the devices,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

MSHA and NIOSH jointly approve respirators for use in the nation’s mines. For further information visit 1.usa.gov/JKfNZG.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

 

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