MSA the Safety Company and the Brands
Over the years, MSA has developed thousands of products and secured hundreds of patents to the brands. With operations dating more than 100 years ago, the firm boasts of a widespread coverage that serves millions of clients. Behind the success of the Firm is a rich history that saw the company change operations to suit different times. Every decade came with challenges that triggered great milestones to enhance growth.
The company is a creation of an incident that happened in 1912, in West Virginia where more than 80 mineworkers lost their lives. The explosion triggered the ignition of methane gas that led property destruction. The tragic incident motivated a mining engineer, John T. Ryan Sr to dedicate his time in initiatives that could avert future fatal incidents in the workplaces. After recruiting a workmate, George H. Dieke, they founded MSA in the year 1914.
Understanding the significant role of safe mining tools, they sought ideas from the leading inventors such as Thomas Edison. The brilliant inventor spurred their vision through the creation of an electric lamp that prevented explosions by 75% for over 25 years. Other than being the first to get the US Bureau of Mines approval, Edison Flameless electric miner’s Lamp got a huge boost when Carlisle Mine ordered 500 lamps. According to Edison, it was his biggest humanitarian achievement that changed the working conditions of thousands of workers.
The key turning point was in 1917 when the US declared war on Germany, Hungary, and Austria. The war provided a ready market for MSA’s breathing equipment that was used by miners using the enemy lines to set up explosives. The company responded to the Army’s requirements while Edison supplied factory materials and skilled workforces to construct Gibbs breathing equipment in three months. After the First World War, the business established its first mainstream company in Pittsburgh that manufactured gas masks, first aid kits, and hardhats.
The second decade saw the safety company introduce a customized Rock dust distributor that minimized explosive coal dust in the air. In 1927, the Hopcalite-based monitors helped control ventilation fans every time CO levels got too high in the Holland Tunnel. The great economic depression was the real test of stability for most businesses. While most companies resulted in layoffs and closures, MSA almost tripled its workforce from 248 to a whopping 722, reporting zero layoffs.
A new era came in 1930’s when the company set up the first international branch in Canada. Jack Lewis designed the Skull guard using the plastic-Bakelite- with the capacity to withstand high temperatures of up to 350 F. it was an ideal addition to industrial workers in the welding industry and the oil and gas sector where the risk of explosions was high. Also, the business received the BoM approval for the dust respirator and introduced the MSA top Gard firefighter’s Helmet that formed the platform for other lightweight, big hats.
During the Second World War, the firm secured 132 major projects with the US military, which led to growth that tripled the workforce. One of the projects at Oak Ridge resulted in the creation of the first nuclear weapon. As the war gained momentum, MSA increased the scale of operations that led to the production of about 300 products and the first chemical oxygen breathing equipment. The breathing apparatus helped save aircraft carriers after the attacks. The same period saw the group extend its operations to South Africa and Britain to serve the African and European markets respectively.
With several incidents of electrical shock reported in workplaces, MSA launched the shock Gard hat to protect workers from a shock of up to 10,000 volts. The single-lens face piece replaced the popular twins-lens breathing equipment and gas masks. In 1960’s, the company produced gas masks for the US Army in Vietnam, and designed the filter system for the Apollo moon spacecraft. Also, the first polycarbonate Helmets, Topgard, and V-Gard, came to be the most durable and difficult to break. Currently, the two remains part of the best-selling helmets for the firm.
With increased operations in the oil and gas subsector, the IDLH mask was launched and used in firefighting. In a bid to enhance efficiency in firefighting, MSA developed the fiberglass-wrapped SCBA cylinders for the firefighters. The firm introduced the custom 4500-air mask, the ultra-lite air mask, and the Composite II air cylinder, which lowered the bulk of the overall weight for the fighters. In 1986, the crew designed the MCU-2/P military gas mask that featured comfortable face seal and flexible urethane lens.
Initially, respirators were made to give protection against specific hazards, prompting the need for different types of gadgets in areas with more than one hazard. MSA’s super Cartridge became the game changer as it protected users from 10 particular gasses and vapors, allowing free movement from one station to another. Recently, the V-Gard Accessory system saw numerous improvements that included visors, frames, retractable chin guards and winter liners among others. Some of MSA’s brands available at the oil and gas safety supplies include:
The presence of dangerous gasses and vapors in the oil sector demands dependable detecting gadgets. The MSA Altair 4X Gas monitor is a multi-gas detector used to test for Carbon monoxide, oxygen, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. The device features an economical design that saves more than half on calibration gas and maintenance. The high contrast screen and the large buttons make it suitable for use in dim light while the rubber cover offers better grip for greater durability.
The highly automated gadget features the different end of sensor alerts to notify users when they cease working. The motion signal features tell others when a staff becomes motionless hence fastening the evacuation. With an instant warning system, it is possible to tell others of a dangerous situation to prevent casualties. With a 4-year sensor lifespan, it surpasses the industry standards making it suitable for use in firefighting and welding.
With eye injuries and falling objects forming the bulk of job site injuries, the MSA V-Gard Face shield frame comes in handy towards guiding debris away from the frame. The PPE meets ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-201 requirements and is only compatible with MSA V-Gard face shield visor. Users can still wear the V-Gard with other PPE such as earmuffs and respirators.
Based on the nature of the products, employees are prone to falls and slips especially in areas with oil leakages. Faulty equipment is common causes of falling objects that pose hazards to people working in the sector. As the industry moves towards zero tolerance to incidents in the workplaces, hard hats become a vital shield to protect the workers from falling objects, chemical substances, heat, and traps. The hat comes with a fiberglass material capable of withstanding the excess heat of up to 350 degrees F. The ratchet suspension mechanism and the lightweight material make it suitable for use across industries.
Like other sectors, work at height remains a common hazard among the oil and gas companies. OSHA provides the requirements for projects where tasks require raised platforms to prevent falls and slips. Other than the structural requirements, MSA standard harness helps in holding the crew at the workstation preventing falls when lapses occur. They are a great addition to both offshore and onshore rigs where workers need to climb down the slippery wells. The Harness features a yellow polyester webbing and color contrasting straps for better visibility in the dark sites. The ANSI compliant PPE offers a weight capacity of about 400lbs that includes the weight of the staff, clothing, and the working tools.