What to Consider Before Purchasing a “Refurbished” SCBA

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When considering the purchase of new SCBA, it is important to understand the compliance implications of purchasing “refurbished” SCBA from a supplier not authorized by its manufacturer.

Several businesses in the United States and Canada advertise and sell SCBA that are “refurbished” or “reconditioned” units from various SCBA manufacturers. U.S. OSHA regulations [29 CFR 1910.134(h)(4)] require that “the employer shall ensure that respirators that fail an inspection or are otherwise found to be defective are removed from service, and are discarded or repaired or adjusted in accordance with the following procedures.”

Also, according to the U.S. OSHA regulation 1910.134(h)(4)(i), repairs or adjustments to respirators are to be made only by persons appropriately trained to perform such operations and shall use only the respirator manufacturer’s NIOSH-approved parts designed for the respirator. “These requirements serve to ensure that any repaired products meet the performance levels, quality, and safety levels originally intended, and approved through in-depth regulatory testing.”

In addition, NFPA 1852 Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), 2019 Edition requires purchased SCBA show evidence of certification of compliance with NFPA 1981 Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services and the edition of said standard shall be the current edition at the time of purchase.

Please be aware that “refurbished” or “reconditioned” SCBA sold by companies not authorized by the SCBA manufacturer is are likely to have undergone repair or adjustment not authorized by the manufacturer and may contain unapproved parts. Repair of SCBA or adjustment of key components by individuals who are not manufacturer-trained and certified on the latest repair procedures may create a safety concern. Use of parts other than the manufacturer’s original parts approved by NIOSH for repair of the SCBA invalidates the SCBA’s NIOSH certification, and therefore any NFPA certification as well. In addition, the use of an SCBA with unapproved parts or an SCBA that was repaired or adjusted by someone not trained by the manufacturer cause the user’s respiratory protection program to be non-compliant with NFPA 1852 and OSHA regulations.

3M™ Scott™ Fire & Safety takes significant pride in the quality, durability, and performance of its products in the field. It is critical that all our products continue to perform as intended, and that is why we have taken the step of highlighting this potential safety and compliance issue. If you have any questions about whether a business is trained and authorized to repair the SCBA of a specific manufacturer, please contact the manufacturer directly to inquire.

Download this letter from 3M Scott Fire & Safety to share with your fire department administration.  do not hesitate to contact your local, knowledgeable safety specialist for more information on product-specific solutions.