Agencies issue alerts on defective SCSR

Washington – A "critical defect" in a self-contained self-rescuer could create a life-threatening situation for workers who use the devices, OSHA warned on April 26.

The agency ordered (.pdf file) employers to remove CSE SR-100 units, manufactured by Monroeville, PA-based CSE Corp., from service and replace them with a different NIOSH-approved SCSR or other emergency escape respirator by May 31. The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a similar alert requiring mine operators to phase out the units by Dec. 31, 2013.

The alerts were issued the same day NIOSH released a technical report (.pdf file) that found the CSE units lacked sufficient start-up oxygen. Testing of field-deployed units uncovered an error rate of 1 percent. About 70,000 units currently are deployed in the field, NIOSH said.

MSHA’s extended phase-out timeline is due to the low probability of failure and the large number of units in the mining industry, agency chief Joseph A. Main said in a statement.

In response, CSE Corp. issued a statement noting the company voluntarily ceased production of the SCSRs when an internal quality-control process – conducted at the same time as NIOSH’s investigation – identified an issue with the oxygen cylinder.

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