United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 83-68: Respirator User Warning: Defective Self-contained Breathing Apparatus Air Cylinders

                                                            SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                            IN 83-68       

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
                                     
                              October 11, 1983

Information Notice No. 83-68:   RESPIRATOR USER WARNING: DEFECTIVE 
                                   SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS AIR 
                                   CYLINDERS 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) or 
construction permit (CP), research and test reactors, fuel cycle licensees, 
and Priority 1 material licensees. 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to alert licensees of a serious, 
potential defect in certain self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) 
fiberglass-wound aluminum cylinders which contain high-pressure (4500 psi) 
air. Should a cylinder fracture, serious injury or death and/or property 
damage could result. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health (NIOSH) has issued a Respirator Users Warning. It is expected that 
licensees will review this information for applicability to their facility 
respiratory protection program. No specific action or response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

The NRC has recently learned of a serious defect found in certain SCBA's 
high-pressure air cylinders. A small number of fiberglass-wound aluminum 
cylinders manufactured since mid-1982 for Scott Aviation and Survivair (and 
possibly others) by Luxfer USA Limited have experienced cracking around the 
neck of the cylinder. In two cases, the defective cylinders ruptured but no 
injuries were reported. The manufacturer reported in a July 14, 1983 letter 
to its distributors/end users that all the incidents have involved cylinders
from the same manufacturing batch bearing Serial Numbers WF 20321 through 
21548 (Scott Cylinder Part No. 802239-01 for Air-Pak 4.5) and WA 43160 
through 50178 [Survivair Cylinder Part No. 9161-00 used in 9845 Mark I 
Series and 9840 Mark II Series (30 min.)]. 

NIOSH issued a Respirator Users Warning on July 21, 1983 (see Attachment No.
1). NIOSH's "Guidelines for Reporting Respirator Problems" are provided as 
Attachment No. 2. At the manufacturer's request, the product recall notice 
was issued by the Department of Transportation's Office of Hazardous 
Material Regulation on August 11, 1983 by publication in the Federal 
Register (Vol. 48, No. 156, p. 36559). 



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                                                           IN 83-68        
                                                           October 11, 1983 
                                                           Page 2 of 2     

The manufacturer, in a July 14 letter to its distributors/end users, made 
the following three recommendations in dealing with the cylinders bearing 
the above serial numbers: 

     (1)  If the cylinder has been filled, its entire contents should be 
          vented in order to relieve internal pressure. 

     (2)  These vented cylinders should be retained and segregated from all 
          other cylinders by being placed in a secure place and marked 
          conspicuously with a tag bearing the notation "DO NOT USE" or a 
          similar warning. 

     (3)  Under no circumstances should any of the cylinders in question be 
          sold, filled, refilled, or used for any purpose. 

Although the NRC fully supports the manufacturer's recommended precautionary
actions, licensees are reminded that if any affected cylinders are 
fulfilling 10 CFR 50 emergency preparedness, control room backup air, or 
fire protection requirements, then appropriate compensatory air supplies 
must be provided. 

Copies of Scott Aviation and Survivair warning letters to their customers 
(presented in Attachment Nos. 3 and 4) are attached to provide further 
information. 

If you have any questions concerning this problem, please call the number 
listed on the appropriate customer warning letter, or contact the Regional 
Administrator of the appropriate NRC Regional Office, or this office. 


                                   Edward L. Jordan Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contacts: J. E. Wigginton, IE
                    (301) 492-4967

                    L. Hendricks, RES
                    (301) 443-9790

Attachments:
1.    NIOSH Respirator Users Warning
2.    NIOSH Guidelines for Reporting Respirator Problems
3.    Scott Aviation Letter
4.    Survivair Letter
5.    List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices
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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013