Skip to main content

Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Breathing Apparatus set failure and reporting procedure

Incidents may occur when a breathing apparatus set fails, resulting in distress to the wearer. Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR): ‘where the malfunction causes a significant risk of personal injury to the user or during testing immediately before use in such a way that had the malfunction occurred while the apparatus was in use it would have posed a danger to the health and safety of the user, must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive’.

Malfunctions that arise during routine maintenance are not reportable under RIDDOR

The term malfunction does not include leakage into a facemask due to poor face fit or a failure arising from an external source such as falling debris or entanglement.

All ‘distress to wearer’ situations should be properly investigated and may be reportable to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR.

Role and responsibilities of the incident commander

When impounding a BA set, the incident commander must:

  • Take control of the BA set
  • Record the following information:
    • The cylinder pressure before closing the cylinder valve
    • The precise number of turns required to close the cylinder valve
    • The time the wearer entered the incident
    • The time the wearer left the incident
    • All other information from the BA entry control board
    • Any other obvious information regarding the condition of the set without carrying out a detailed inspection
    • Any remarks made by the wearer or other members of the BA team
    • Witness statements
  • Put the BA set and the following items into a plastic bag which should then be sealed, labelled and secured in a safe place:
    • The BA tally
    • The facemask
    • The cylinder
    • The log book
  • Inform the fire service control room
  • Complete any administration relevant to the investigation
  • Ensure a full investigation is carried out by a competent person

The fire and rescue service must then report the dangerous occurrence to the Health and Safety Executive.