NIOSHThose who use a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) can run into problems with this life-saving device if it not properly maintained.

“Correct inspection, cleaning, upkeep, and service procedures are all vital to ensure optimum SCBA operation,” writes Jaclyn Krah, MA, in a recent NIOSH Science Blog post. Krah, a Health Communication Specialist in the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, cautions users and service technicians against assuming that they know the best methods of carrying out these procedures.

Her advice? Follow the guidelines issued by the SCBA manufacturer for proper care and maintenance.

“Maintenance procedures and training are unique to each respirator manufacturer and model. Additionally, any equipment changes to the original respirator configuration may entail new training and maintenance requirements. Manufacturers must include instructions for different configurations in the training and maintenance manual if an equipment modification impacts the use or maintenance of the respirator.”

Best practices include:

  • Conducting daily inspections of your SCBA
  • Being able to identify be able to identify the signs that indicate an SCBA should be removed from service and examined by a certified technician
  • Knowing which maintenance operations must be performed by trained and certified technicians as part of the manufacturer’s maintenance cycle instructions

“You wouldn’t want your dentist fixing your car!” notes Krah. “These specific operations should only be performed by someone who has been trained and certified on the specific model.”

She also discusses how cleaning and sanitizing the SCBA helps the user avoid RTDs (respiratory transmitted diseases).

Click here to read the complete blog post.