The risk of exposure to toxic and combustible gases is a problem for any industrial business that works with volatile chemicals on a regular basis, and oxygen deprivation can be a major concern in the mining industry, where workers often operate machinery underground for extended periods of time with little exposure to fresh air.
With regard to the risk of exposure to oxygen-deficient atmospheres in mines, WorkSafe Victoria states that employers need to ensure:
- active mine workings are routinely inspected
- gas monitoring information and training is made available to workers for early detection of harmful gases or low oxygen levels when re-entering unventilated areas
- workers are competent in the use of self-rescuers and trained in hazard identification; and
- there is a system to ensure all unused and unventilated workings are barricaded to prevent unauthorised access and control hazards of re-entry into the area.
In particular, when it comes to safety equipment, it is important that these products are sourced from an experienced manufacturer such as MSA.
MSA states that it has an unwavering commitment to high quality products, investing countless hours of research and development, and conducting relentless testing on all of the safety solutions it offers.
Founded in 1914, the company manufactures high quality safety products used by workers in:
- the military
- fire service
- law enforcement
- oil and gas
- chemical; and
- many other industries.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs)
As they are independent of the ambient atmosphere, SCBA systems such as MSA's AirGo and AirMaXX do not require the user to be tied to a specific location. They are designed for long life, and are primarily used in maintenance and rescue operations.
The AirGo Pro is rugged, reliable and flexible, with evenly distributed weight that is kept close to the body of the user to reduce stress and fatigue.
Widely used by fire fighters and industrial workers, it features the alpha SingleLine pneumatic system, which integrates a warning signal, second connection and gauge in an easily accessible manifold at the chest of the user.
An optional alpha Personal Network system can also be incorporated into the AirGo Pro to provide extended electronic and telemetric monitoring and communication capabilities.
MSA's AirGo Compact SCBA is specifically designed for emergency response and escape, and is an ideal solution for industrial facilities where such units are mandatory. This 'no-frills' system is inexpensive without sacrificing on safety, and features the same vital pneumatic and carrier components that are used in high end MSA breathing apparatus.
Designed for high frequency and extended SCBA wear, the AirMaXX range combines premium ergonomic features with advanced technology, and is adjustable to fit all body sizes.
Further, S-swing shoulder pads and a swivelling hip belt ensure weight is distributed evenly while increasing freedom of movement.
To provide increased safety, the AirMaXX range also incorporates the alpha SingleLine pneumatic system, and can be optionally fitted with the alpha Personal Network.
The AirMaXX eXXtreme combines the ergonomic and safety features of the standard AirMaxx SCBA with special materials designed to withstand frequent hard training in environments exposed to flames and heat. This assists in reducing maintenance and cost of ownership costs for critical components that would otherwise require frequent replacement in such extreme applications.
Chemical Oxygen Breathing Apparatus
MSA's self-contained chemical oxygen (KO2) breathing apparatus are suitable for use in oxygen deficient atmospheres, and atmospheres that contain smoke and toxic gases.
Offering protection for periods of between fifteen minutes and four hours, they can be used in a variety of applications, ranging from simple assistance and salvage, to tough fire fighting and rescue missions.
Reliable and almost maintenance-free for extended storage periods, the AirElite 4H breathing apparatus is designed for use for extended durations, in particular for use in tunnels, high rise buildings and large storage facilities. It is also used in underground mining by rescue teams for quick rescue missions.
Common to all MSA chemical oxygen apparatus is their capacity to be stored for long periods in a condition of immediate readiness, combined with minimum maintenance requirements.
MSA offers airline systems for long duration work restricted to one location or at adverse sites. Examples of such applications would be sites with confined entry that do not permit the use of a compressed air breathing apparatus.
They are certified according to EN139, and can be used in all locations where the ambient air is not breathable due to contaminants or oxygen deficiency. Compressed air is supplied to these systems from an external source like a factory airline, from a compressed air cylinder or from a compressor.
In addition, the short duration compressed air breathing apparatus BD mini can be used in combination with an airline as an emergency device when connected to a factory airline system or a cylinder cascade.