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Draeger OxyK-Plus Chemical Dusting

NIOSH Respirator User Notice

Issue Date: June 27, 2000

From: Richard W. Metzler, Chief, Respirator Branch, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH

Subject: Draeger OxyK-Plus Chemical Dusting

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wishes to inform users of Draeger Safety, Incorporated OxyK-Plus self-contained-self-rescuers (SCSRs) approved by NIOSH and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), approval number TC-13F-289, of a problem found in some of these SCSRs that could prevent them from providing effective protection.

During a recent examination of Draeger OxyK,-Plus units used in mines, the agencies found the presence of various amounts of potassium superoxide (KO2) in locations outside of the chemical cartridge in some of the units. In some instances, the KO2 had infiltrated locations in the breathing circuit that could directly expose the user. The presence of potassium super oxide dust in locations outside of the chemical cartridge in the Draeger OxyK-Plus is considered to be a non-conformance with the approval. Potassium super oxide fragments and fines in the breathing tube, or mouthpiece, could in some situations, render a unit unusable due to the user’s physiologic reaction to the chemical. According to Material Safety Data Sheets, inhalation of KO2 may cause severe respiratory tract irritation and possible burns.

The breathing tube and mouthpiece are enclosed within the sealed case of the unit, which may not be opened prior to actual use, and there have been no observable differences in the external condition of units found with visibly detectable fragments of KO2.

The cause of the problem observed, and the rate at which it progresses once dusting starts has not yet been conclusively determined. NIOSH, MSHA and Draeger are continuing the investigation, and additional information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. The manufacturer’s preliminary determination is that units with sufficient dusting to directly expose the user to KO2 particles can be removed from service with the inspection procedures listed below. This information is also listed in MSHA Program Information Bulletin (PIB) NO. P00-09 (, issue date June 23, 2000:

  1. Conduct the “Daily Checks” examination listed by the manufacturer in its Instructions for Use to make sure: (a) that the red seal is undamaged; (b) that the lid is closed; (c) that the housing does not reveal any cracks, holes or other damage deeper than 1.5 mm; and (d) that the color indicator is deep blue.
  2. Check the unit to make sure that there are no missing parts, including the belt plate and clamping strap.
  3. Shake all units to determine if there is any noise detected from within the device. Draeger states that a unit in serviceable condition will not make any noise.

NOTE: Any units that fail any of these three examinations must be immediately removed from service.

In addition, any users of Draeger OxyK-Plus SCSRs who have not already done so, should be in contact with Draeger ( (800) 858-1739 or 1741 ) for guidance in evaluating their units. Draeger is issuing a User’s Notice to all customers, alerting them of this problem. Draeger has begun to physically inspect customer units to assist users in identifying units that do not meet the requirements listed above. These manufacturer inspections will be completed as expeditiously as possible.

Users of Draeger OxyK-Plus SCSR devices should, in accordance with availability, replace each affected device with an approved SCSR as expeditiously as possible. If you find it necessary to obtain approved SCSRs from other sources, the following complete list (in alphabetical order) of manufacturers producing MSHA/NIOSH approved SCSRs is provided for your convenience.

CSE Corporation, telephone number, 412-856-9200 or 800-245-2224
Attention, Scott Shearer

Draeger, telephone number, 800-858-1739 or 1741
Attention, Mary Doane, or Kent Armstrong

Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA), telephone number, 412-967-3151
Attention, John Hierbaum

Ocenco Incorporated, telephone number, 262-947-9000
Attention, Richard Vanderveer

If you have any questions, please contact MSHA at 412- 386-6923 or NIOSH at 1-800-35NIOSH.