United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

IE Circular No. 79-15 - Bursting of High Pressure Hose and Malfunction of Relief Valve "O" Ring in Certain Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus



CR79015 

                              August 2, 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 Facility and 
                    Materials Safety Inspection, IE 

SUBJECT:            IE CIRCULAR NO. 79-15 - BURSTING OF HIGH PRESSURE HOSE 
                    AND MALFUNCTION OF RELIEF VALVE "O" RING IN CERTAIN 
                    SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS 

The subject circular, with enclosure, is transmitted for issuance on August 
8, 1979.  The circular should be issued to all Materials Priority I, Fuel 
Cycle and Operating Power Reactor Licensees.  Also enclosed is a draft copy 
of the transmittal letter and removable labels for all but reactors. 
Addresses for power 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 

Enclosures:
1.   Draft Transmittal Letter
2.   IE Circular No. 79-15
3.   Addressee Labels (Removable)

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

(Draft transmittal letter for Circular 79-15, to each Materials Priority I, 
Fuel Cycle and Operating Power Plants) 

                                                     IE Circular No. 79-15 

Addressee: 

The enclosed Circular 79-15, is forwarded to you for information. If there 
are any questions related to your understanding of the suggested actions, 
please notify NIOSH at the telephone No. listed in the enclosure to the 
Circular. 

                                        Sincerely, 


                                        Signature 
                                        (Regional Director) 

Enclosures:
1.   IE Circular No. 79-15 
2.   Listing of IE Circulars 
       Issued in the Last Six 
       Months 
.

                             UNITED STATES 
                      NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                   OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT 
                          WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 
                                     
                              August 8, 1979 

                                                      IE Circular No. 79-15 

BURSTING OF HIGH PRESSURE HOSE AND MALFUNCTION OF RELIEF VALVE AND "O"-RING 
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 occurrences of bursting of the high-pressure hose assembly and 
malfunction of the relief valve and of the "O"-Ring in the main line 
assembly of the SurvivAir Mark I self-contained breathing apparatus. Any one 
of these failures would result in immediate loss of air supply to a user. 

Licensees who use the SurvivAir Mark I SCBA should: 

1.   Discontinue use of the apparatus until the units have been inspected by
     the manufacturer and all necessary repairs or replacements have been 
     made. 

2.   Contact the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment for instructions 
     on arranging for inspection and repair. 

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

Enclosure: 
Mailgram 
.

                            M A I L G R A M 

                         RESPIRATOR USERS WARNING 

     The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 
advises workers to discontinue using the SurvivAir Mark I self-contained 
breathing apparatus until the units have been inspected by the manufacturer 
and all necessary repairs or replacements have been made. 

     NIOSH has learned that the high pressure hose assembly installed by the
manufacturer in some of these respirators is not the assembly, originally 
tested and approved by NIOSH for this respirator. In addition, reports from 
two fire departments indicate the following serious malfunctions have 
occurred recently during use: 

     1.   Bursting of the high pressure hose assembly (part no. 960627). 

     2.   Malfunction of the relief valve (part no. 912520). 
     
     3.   Malfunction of the O-ring in the main line assembly (part no. 
          824193). 

     Any one of these failures would result in immediate loss of air supply 
to the user. 

     In response to a NIOSH request, SurvivAir has agreed to discontinue 
sale and distribution of the respirators until all three problems are 
corrected. When NIOSH has determined that the three problems have been 
corrected, you will be advised that the stop sales request has been with 
drawn 

                               page 1 of 2 
.

                            M A I L G R A M 

     SurvivAir has also agreed to inspect all units in the field and make 
necessary repairs in accordance with a plan to be approved by NIOSH. In the 
meantime, owners of SurvivAir Mark I self-contained breathing apparatus 
should contact the manufacturer or supplier for further instructions. For 
further information contact NIOSH, Division of Safety Research, 944 Chestnut
Ridge Road, Morgantown, West Virgina 26505. Telephone: (304) 599-7595  

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