United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

IE Circular No. 79-09 - Occurrences of Split or Punctured Regulator Diaphragms in Certain Self Contained Breathing Apparatus



CR79009 

                               June 15, 1979 

MEMORANDUM FOR:     B. H. Grier, Director, Region I 
                    J. P. O'Reilly, Director, Region II 
                    J. G. Keppler, Director, Region III 
                    K. V. Seyfrit, Director, Region IV 
                    R. H. Engelken, Director, Region V 

FROM:               J. H. Sniezek, Director, Division of Fuel Facilities and
                      Material Safety Inspection, IE 

SUBJECT:            IE CIRCULAR NO. 79-09- OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED
                    REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS IN CERTAIN SELF CONTAINED BREATHING
                    APPARATUS 

The subject circular, with enclosure, is transmitted for issuance on June 
22, 1979. The circular should be issued to all Material Priority I, Fuel 
Cycle and Operating Reactor licensees. Also enclosed is a draft copy of the 
transmittal letter and removable labels for all but reactors. Addresses for 
power plant utilities should be typed by each regional office. 


                                   J. H. Sniezek, Director 
                                   Division of Fuel Facility and Materials 
                                     Safety Inspection 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Enclosure:
1.   Draft Transmittal Letter
2.   IE Circular No. 79-09
3.   Addressee Labels (Removable)

CONTACT:  J. R. Metzger, IE 
          49-28188 
.

(Draft transmittal letter for Circular 79-09, to each Materials Priority I, 
Fuel Cycle and Operating Power Plant Licensees) 

                                                      IE Circular No. 79-09 

Addressee: 

The enclosed Circular 79-09, is forwarded to you for information. If there 
are any questions related to your understanding of the suggested actions, 
please notify the contact listed in the enclosure to the circular. 

                                        Sincerely, 


                                        Signature 
                                        (Regional Director) 

Enclosure:
IE Circular No. 79-09
.

                              UNITED STATES 
                       NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                   OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT 
                          WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555 

                               June 22, 1979 

                                                      IE Circular No. 79-09 

OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS IN CERTAIN SELF-
CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS 

Description of Circumstances: 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been informed by mailgram (copy 
enclosed) from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 
(NIOSH) of the high rate of regulator diaphragm failures in the Scott Air 
Pak II/IIA and Presur-Pak II/IIA self-contained breathing apparatus. The 
failures, ranging from pin holes in the diaphragm to complete diaphragm 
rupture, have been identified in about 10 percent of the units by the NIOSH 
field survey. Tests of the Scott apparatus by NIOSH showed reduced 
respiratory protection in the Demand-Mode and a loss of service time (but no
loss of protection) in the Pressure Demand-Mode. 

Notice to Licensees: 

Many major licensees use the types of Scott apparatus described above. Users
of the devices should take the following action: 

1.   Establish a program for examination of the described respiratory 
     devices in accordance with the enclosed NIOSH mailgram; or 

2.   Incorporate the provisions of the NIOSH mailgram into your current 
     program for inspection of the described devices. 

No written response to this Circular is required. If you require additional 
information regarding this subject, please contact the individual specified 
in the enclosed mailgram. 

Enclosure:
Mailgram
.

GSA . . SWITCHING CTR 
P.O. BOX 430] 
ROMNEY, WV 26757 

1-0561860122014 05/02/79 ICS WA 12139                 WSHA                 
  00592 MLTN VA 05/02/79 

MR. JERRY CAPLIN
USNRC
WASHINGTON, DC 20555 


RESPIRATOR USERS WARNING 

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH) WANTS TO 
ADVISE USERS OF SCOTT AIR PAK II/IIA AND PRESUR-PAK II/IIA SELF-CONTAINED 
BREATHING APPARATUS OF THE OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED REGULATOR 
DIAPHRAGMS, NIOSH TESTS INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF SUCH DEFECTS SHOWED 
REDUCED RESPIRATORY PROTECTION ON DEMAND-MODE APPARATUS, THESE SAME TESTS 
ALSO SHOWED NO LOSS IN PROTECTION, BUT A LOSS IN SERVICE TIME WHEN IN THE 
PRESSURE DEMAND-MODE. NOTE: THE PRESSURE DEMAND UNIT IS NOT APPROVED WHILE 
IN THE DEMAND MODE; THE DEMAND MODE IS TO BE USED FOR DONNING PURPOSES ONLY.

NIOSH BEGAN THIS INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING THE RECENT DEATH OF THREE 
FIREFIGHTERS WHO WERE WEARING THIS TYPE OF RESPIRATOR, ALTHOUGH IT HAS NOT 
BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT THE DEATHS WERE DUE TO DAMAGED REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS. A 
10% OF THE UNITS EXAMINED HAVE RUPTURED OR PUNCTURED DIAPHRAGMS. 

USERS SHOULD EXAMINE THEIR SCOTT A APPARATUS FOR POSSIBLE DAMAGED DIAPHRAGMS
IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS. THE USER SHOULD CHECK THE 
DIAPHRAGM BEFORE EACH USE BY CLOSING BOTH THE MAIN LINE AND BYPASS VALVES 
AND BLOWING THROUGH THE REGULATOR OUTLET PORT. IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE TO 
MAINTAIN A SLIGHT POSITIVE PRESSURE IN THE REGULATOR. THE USER SHOULD CHECK 
THE REGULATOR DIAPHRAGM AFTER EACH USE AND DURING MONTHLY INSPECTIONS OF THE
COMPLETE APPARATUS. IT IS ONT KNOWN IF FAILURE OCCURS DURING ASSEMBLY, 
STORAGE, OR USE OF THE RESPIRATOR. THEREFORE, EXTREME CAUSTION MUST BE 
EMPLOYED WHEN USING THE RESPIRATOR. IN CHECKING THE OPERATION OF THE 
RESPIRATOR, USERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO BLOCK THE FLOW OF AIR FROM THE 
REGULATOR WHEN THE BYPASS VALVE IS OPEN, BECAUSE SUBSTANTIAL OBSTRUCTION MAY
RUPTURE OR DISLODGE THE DIAPHRAGM. IF THE USER OBSERVES A LOOSE OR DISLODGED
REGULATOR COVER, THE COVER MUST BE REMOVED AND THE DIAPHRAGM INSPECTED 
BEFORE REASSEMBLY 
.

PAGE 2 

OF THE REGULATOR, 

NIOSH HAS REQUESTED THE MANUFACTURER STOP ALL SALES OF THE RESPIRATOR 
PENDING DETERMINATION OF THE REASON FOR AND NECESSARY CORRECTIVE ACTION TO 
PREVENT DIAPHRAGM FAILURE. FOR FURTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTACT: MR. 
RICHARD RONK, NIOSH, 944 CHESTNUT RIDGE ROAD, MORGANTOWN, WV 26505. PHONE: 
304-599-7337. 

ANTHONY ROBBINS, M.D.
DIRECTOR, NIOSH
ROCKVILLE MD 

(ARS RUEVPCZ 0-26-01-036883)
21:19 EST 

MGMCOMP MGM 
.

                              UNITED STATES 
                       NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                          WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555 

                                FEB 14 1980 

MEMORANDUM FOR:     W. P. Gammill, Acting Assistant Director for Operating 
                      Reactor Projects, DOR 

FROM:               L. B. Higginbotham, Assistant Director, Division of Fuel
                      Facility and Materials Safety Inspection, IE 

SUBJECT:            IE CIRCULAR NO. 79-09, OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED
                    REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS IN CERTAIN SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING
                    APPRARATUS 

In your memorandum of December 26, 1979, to E. Jordan, you recommended 
issuance of an IE Circular to all licensees addressing punctured diaphragms 
in Scott Air Pak's. The above subject IE Circular issued June 22, 1979, 
addresses this potential problem. We have discussed the need for an 
additional circular with L. Derderian of your staff; we are in agreement 
that no additional action is needed at this time. 

If more concerns arise or the need for clarification becomes apparent please
let us know. Otherwise, the subject seems to be adequately covered by IE 
Circular 79-09. A copy is attached for your information. 


                                        Leo B. Higginbotham 
                                        Assistant Director 
                                        Division of Fuel Facility and 
                                          Materials Safety Inspection, IE 

Enclosure: As stated

cc:  J. Sniezek 
     E. Jordan 
     G. Lainas 
     R. Ferguson 
     L. Derderian 
.

                              UNITED STATES 
                       NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                   OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT 
                          WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555 

                               June 22, 1979 

                                                      IE Circular No. 79-09 

OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS IN CERTAIN SELF-
CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS 

Description of Circumstances: 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been informed by mailgram (copy 
enclosed) from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 
(NIOSH) of the high rate of regulator diaphragm failures in the Scott Air 
Pak II/IIA and Presur-Pak self-contained breathing apparatus. The failures, 
ranging from pin holes in the diaphragm to complete diaphragm rupture, have 
been identified in about 10 percent of the units by the NIOSH field survey. 
Tests of the Scott apparatus by NIOSH showed reduced respiratory protection 
in the Demand-Mode and a loss of service time (but no loss of protection) in
the Pressure Demand-Mode 

Notice to Licensees: 

Many major licensees use the types of Scott apparatus described above. Users
of the devices should take the following action: 

1.   Establish a program for examination of the described respiratory 
     devices in accordance with the enclosed NIOSH mailgram; or 

2.   Incorporate the provisions of the NIOSH mailgram into your current 
     program for inspection of the described devices 

No written response to this Circular is required. If you required. If you 
require additional information regarding this subject, please contact the 
individual specified in the enclosed mailgram. 

Enclosure:
Mailgram
.

GSA . . SWITCHING CTR
P.O. BOX 430]
ROMNEY, WV 26757 

1-0561860122014 05/02/79 ICS WA 12139                 WSHA                 
  00592 MLTN VA 05/02/79 

MR. JERRY CAPLIN
USNRC
WASHINGTON, DC 20555 


RESPIRATOR USERS WARNING 

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH) WANTS TO 
ADVISE USERS OF SCOTT AIR PAK II/IIA AND PRESUR-PAK II/IIA SELF-CONTAINED 
BREATHING APPARATUS OF THE OCCURRENCES OF SPLIT OR PUNCTURED REGULATOR 
DIAPHRAGMS. NIOSH TESTS INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF SUCH DEFECTS SHOWED 
REDUCED RESPIRATORY PROTECTION ON DEMAND-MODE, NOTE: THE PRESSURE DEMAND 
UNIT IS NOT APPROVED WHILE IN THE DEMAND MODE; THE DEMAND MODE IS TO BE USED 
FOR DONNING PURPOSES ONLY. 

NIOSH BEGAN THIS INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING THE RECENT DEATH OF THREE 
FIREFIGHTERS WHO WERE WEARING THIS TYPE OF THE DEATHS WERE DUE TO DAMAGED 
REGULATOR DIAPHRAGMS. A SAMPLING OF THE APPARATUS IN THE FIELD HAS SHOWN AT 
LEAST 10% OF THE UNITS EXAMINED HAVE RUPTURED OR PUNCTURED DIAPHRAGMS. 

USERS SHOULD EXAMINE THEIR SCOTT APPARATUS FOR POSSIBLE DAMAGE DIAPHRAGMS IN
ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS. THE USER SHOULD CHECK THE 
DIAPHRAGM BEFORE EACH USE BY CLOSING BOTH THE MAIN LINE AND BYPASS VALVES 
AND BLOWING THROUGH THE REGULATOR OUTLET PORT. IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE TO 
MAINTAIN A SLIGHT POSITIVE PRESSURE IN THE REGULATOR. THE USER SHOULD CHECK 
THE REGULATOR DIAPHRAGM AFTER EACH USE AND DURING MONTHLY INSPECTIONS OF THE
COMPLETE APPARATUS. IT IS ONT KNOWN IF FAILURE OCCURS DURING ASSEMBLY, 
STORAGE, OR USE OF THE RESPIRATOR. THEREFORE, EXTREME CAUSTION MUST BE 
EMPLOYED WHEN USING THE RESPIRATOR. IN CHECKING THE OPERATION OF THE 
RESPIRATOR, USERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO BLOCK THE FLOW OF AIR FROM THE 
REGULATOR WHEN THE BYPASS VALVE IS OPEN, BECAUSE SUBSTANTIAL OBSTRUCTION MAY
RUPTURE OR DISLODGE THE DIAPHRAGM. IF THE USER OBSERVES A LOOSE OR DISLODGED
REGULATOR COVER, THE COVER MUST BE REMOVED AND THE DIAPHRAGM INSPECTED 
BEFORE REASSEMBLY 
.

PAGE 2 

OF THE REGULATOR, 

NIOSH HAS REQUESTED THE MANUFACTURER STOP ALL SALES OF THE RESPIRATOR 
PENDING DETERMINATION OF THE REASON FOR AND NECESSARY CORRECTIVE ACTION TO 
PREVENT DIAPHRAGM FAILURE. FOR FURTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTACT: MR. 
RICHARD RONK, NIOSH, 944 CHESTNUT RIDGE ROAD, MORGANTOWN, WV 26505. PHONE: 
304-599-7337. 

ANTHONY ROBBINS, M.D.
DIRECTOR, NIOSH
ROCKVILLE MD 

  (ARS RUEVPCZ 0-26-01-036883)
21:19 EST 

MGMCOMP MGM 


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