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||U. S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine
Office of Science and Technology Assessment
Safety and Health Information Bulletin
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued warnings [1,2,3,4] to
consumers regarding the use of Star ME-1 Dry Fire Sprinklers manufactured from
1961-1998 by various manufacturers. The CPSC warns that the Star ME-1 sprinklers
present a serious safety risk and that the heads should be replaced immediately.
The following companies have manufactured over 3.5 million ME-1 sprinklers
during the specified time period and have issued voluntary recalls:
| This Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The Bulletin is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, pursuant to Section 5(a)(1), the General Duty Clause of the Act, employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard and they do not take
reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard. However, failure to implement any recommendations in this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not, in
itself, a violation of the General Duty Clause. Citations can only be based on standards, regulations, and the General Duty Clause.
The purpose of this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is to:
- Mealane Corporation (www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/PRHTML99/99152.html),
Philadelphia, PA, from 1961-
1976. (NOTE: This notice also includes D-1, RD-1, RE-1 and E-1 sprinklers.)
- Chemetron Corporation (www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml03/03116.html),
2381 Executive Center Drive, Boca Raton, FL 33431, an inactive subsidiary of
American Household Inc., from 1977-1982.
- Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee Inc. (www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml03/03117.html), formerly known as Star Sprinkler Corporation, 307 West
Layton Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207, from 1983-1995.
- Central Sprinkler Company (www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml03/03133.html),
Lansdale, PA, an affiliate of Tyco Fire Products LP, from 1996-1998.
CPSC received two reports of failures involving Star ME-1 dry sprinklers, one
report concerning a 1976 sprinkler and the other on sprinklers installed in 1990
Inform employers who may have the Star ME-1 sprinkler that the CPSC has issued
warnings regarding their use.
Recommend employers replace Star ME-1 sprinkler heads that were installed
between the years of 1961-1998.
Several sprinklers were removed from locations and tested by independent testing
laboratories. The results showed that 64 percent of the tested Star ME-1
sprinklers did not activate as required and failed the testing. In addition,
many of the Star ME-1's failed at water pressures far exceeding requirements
. For example, activation of some sprinkler heads required water pressures
higher than may be available in some buildings. Water pressure requirements vary
depending upon building use, occupancy, and hazards as defined by National Fire
Findings reported in the referenced CPSC administrative proceeding allege that
the sprinklers are defective, will likely fail to operate during a fire, and
could expose employees to death or serious injury . The proceeding, which was
recently resolved, led to the recall of the sprinklers.
The Star ME-1 is intended to operate in accordance with applicable installation
codes and listings, such as National Fire Protection Association or
Underwriter's Laboratory, Inc. The Star ME-1 is designed so that when the
temperature reaches a particular level, the thermal sensing element at the
exposed end of the sprinkler will melt and allow water to flow through and discharge
from the sprinkler. Due to inadequate design and/or manufacturing, the Star ME-1
sprinkler will likely fail to operate as intended during fires .
Star ME-1 sprinklers are identified with the name "Star," the designation
"ME-1," and a year of manufacture, for example "81" represents 1981. Figure 1
shows where to locate the identifying information on a sprinkler head. The Star
ME-1 sprinklers have been installed in a number of workplaces, including
factories, hotels, hospitals, schools, resorts, office buildings, warehouses,
nursing homes, and supermarkets.
OSHA recommends that employers whose workplaces are equipped with dry sprinkler
systems take steps to identify and then replace Star ME-1 sprinkler heads.
Employers should check with a fire protection engineering consultant or
sprinkler design company when replacing these sprinklers and when evaluating
existing systems or designing a new installation.
Local and state regulations may require that the replacement work be performed
either by a licensed party, or under an issued permit, or both. The local and
state authorities having jurisdiction should be contacted prior to the
In addition to the Star sprinklers identified, certain other sprinklers are
being recalled. Additional information can be obtained about product recalls
through the CPSC Press Releases and Recalls website at:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC, American Household Inc.,
(Formerly Sunbeam Corp.) Announce Recall of Star ME-1 Dry Sprinklers,
Administrative Law Settlement. Washington, DC. Release #03-116. April 25, 2003.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC Warns Consumers to Replace
Star ME-1 Dry Fire Sprinklers Made by Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee --
Administrative Lawsuit Settled, Firm Financially Unable to Conduct Recall --.
Washington, DC. Release #03-117. April 25, 2003.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC, Central Sprinkler Company Up-
date Voluntary Recall To Replace O-Ring Fire Sprinklers. Washington, DC. Release
#03-133. April 28, 2003.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC, Melanie Corp. Announce Recall of
Star Fire Sprinklers. Washington, DC. Release #99-152. April 4, 1999.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Administrative proceeding in the matter
of Chemtron corporation, Chemtron Investments Inc., Sunbeam Corporation,
Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee Inc., and Grucon Corporation. Washington, DC.
CPSC Docket No. 02-1. October 9, 2001.
Links/Citations to the websites listed above are offered for reader's
convenience. Since OSHA does not control the information contained in the
websites, OSHA cannot assure the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or
completeness of all of this information. Moreover, providing links/citations to
such websites does not constitute an endorsement of the websites, or their
content, nor does it suggest that these websites are the exclusive or most
useful sources of relevant information.
|Figure 1 - Sprinkler Identification