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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Oxygen Regulator Fires Resulting from Incorrect Use of CGA 870 Seals

Audience: Hospital risk managers and nursing supervisory staff

[UPDATE posted 06/20/2006] FDA and NIOSH clarified recommendations on the use of sealing- type washers (reusable, metal-bound rubber seal) and crush-type gaskets (single use, not reusable, usually Nylon) with oxygen regulators. This update also provides additional recommendations on the proper use of both the plastic seals and rubber/metal seals.

[Posted 04/25/2006] FDA and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) notified healthcare professionals that twelve incidents have been reported in which regulators used with oxygen cylinders have burned or exploded, in some cases injuring personnel. Some of the incidents occurred during emergency medical use or during routine equipment checks. FDA and NIOSH believe that improper use of gaskets/washers in these regulators was a major factor in both the ignition and severity of the fires, although there are likely other contributing factors. FDA and NIOSH recommend that plastic crush gaskets never be reused, as they may require additional torque to obtain the necessary seal with each subsequent use. This can deform the gasket, increasing the likelihood that oxygen will leak around the seal and ignite.

[April 24, 2006 - Public Health Notification - FDA]