NIOSH Changes Closed-Circuit Escape Respirator Requirements

The new requirements for testing and certification become effective in 30 days, but manufactures can make and sell currently approved respirators for the next three years.

NIOSH published final rules March 8 updating its requirements for testing and certification of closed-circuit escape respirators, which are used by workers trying to escape from toxic concentrations of fumes, gases, or smoke or from confined areas where there is insufficient oxygen. The agency said the new rules reflect experience gained from field observations and reports by NIOSH and stakeholders, "including reports of widespread problems encountered with units in coal mine emergencies," as well as public comments and information from public meetings.

Published at www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/03/08/2012-4691/approval-tests-and-standards-for-closed-circuit-escape-respirators, the rules are codified in a new Subpart O of 42 CFR Part 84, Approval of Respiratory Protective Devices, and will become effective in 30 days.

At that point, NIOSH will cease approvals under the existing requirements, but manufacturers can make and sell currently approved closed-circuit escape respirators during a three-year phase-in period during which they can modify their current designs or develop new ones.

A closed-circuit escape respirator (called a self-contained self rescuer in mining and also known as an emergency escape breathing device) is a mouthpiece connected by a breathing hose to a small container that supplies oxygen. Such devices are either carried on a worker's belt or stored nearby for emergency use. They are used by Navy and Coast Guard crews for emergency escape from confined work spaces below deck, according to NIOSH.

The new testing and certification requirements include:

  • Improved performance measures to ensure these respirators are reasonably rugged to withstand harsh environments
  • A new capacity-rating system in which devices will be tested and certified on the volume of usable oxygen they supply, rather than certified according to the length of time they were expected to provide oxygen
  • New design requirements allowing NIOSH to check units during field evaluations and determine whether harsh working conditions or harsh treatment have diminished their performance
  • More stringent verification during testing of the quality and quantity of breathing gas they supply, using a mechanical test rather than testing with human subjects

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus