Self-contained self-rescuer malfunctions

A Fenzy Biocel 90 Self-Rescuer (SCSR) failed to activate correctly during a recent Level 2 Emergency Exercise at an underground coal mine.

A Fenzy Biocel 90 Self-Rescuer (SCSR) failed to activate correctly during a recent Level 2 Emergency Exercise at an underground coal mine. This SCSR was part of a stored batch used for training.

It was at the end of its service life. When the wearer donned the SCSR and extended the breathing bag to activate the unit, a plug within the bag failed to dislodge from one side of the canister, causing a blockage in the breathing circuit.

The plug dislodged when the pressurised exhalation side of the breathing bag was squeezed.

The wearer then donned the SCSR and used it to evacuate the mine, as per the exercise criteria.

According to the Department of Mines and Energy(DME) the worker broke the seal/safety tab, released the locking band and opened the Fenzy unit.

The user then activated the unit by pulling the breathing bag up by the valve box. Unit appeared to activate normally with pressurised oxygen inflating the breathing bag.

The DME has released a report on the incident.

According to the report, the wearer could not inhale or exhale into the unit and was, therefore, removed and handed to the exercise facilitator.

The exercise facilitator then attempted to reactivate the unit by re-extending the breathing bag, which resulted in no change.

The pressurised exhalation side of the breathing bag was pressed, causing a release of pressure into the rest of the bag.

Dust came out of the SCSR’s mouth piece tube. The worker then donned the SCSR, with the dust in the mouth piece tube causing him to cough.

He then proceeded with the training exercise evacuation out of the mine, taking approximately 40 minutes to reach the surface.

The report stated that the plug had detached from the nipple spigot on the breathing bag.

Further inspection into the malfunction found that the spigot had not been correctly inserted into the plug.

The DME recommended that all mines using this type of SCSR should take a representative sample, activate them and ensure they are operating correctly.

Kevin Clough

District Inspector of Mines

07 4967 0869

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