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OSHA Safety Hazard Information Bulletin on
Use of Incompatible Nitrogen Gas and Breathing Air Supply Lines
as the Cause of Employees Fatalities
March 22, 1989
CSHO'S should be aware of the hazardous condition and cite the appropriate OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.134(d)(3) where air line couplings shall be incompatible with outlets for other gas systems to prevent inadvertent servicing of air line respirators with nonrespirable gases or oxygen.
Air Line Couplings must be used that operate only on breathing air and not nitrogen, oxygen or other gas systems. In addition, an appropriate respirator program, labeling and/or warning signs with training of employees in the hazard should be present.
Information has been received from our Jackson, Mississippi Area Office, Region IV regarding two chemical companies using similar couplings for both nitrogen gas lines and breathing air lines. Employees or contractor employees were killed when they connected their breathing air supply lines to the compatible nitrogen gas lines in violation of the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.134(d)(3).