Recently, a Flight Attendant was injured during an inflight emergency event as a result of the incorrect installation of a wire type seal on a portable oxygen bottle (POB). These wire seals do not belong on POBs. The injury occurred after the crew attempted to operate three different POBs, where the flow valves were locked with wire seals unsuccessfully before they were able to find one on which the seal could be broken and the device operated. The Flight Attendant was injured as a direct result of breaking the wire seal that was improperly installed on the flow valve.
Use of this wire type device unintentionally, prevented the Flight Attendant from being able to initiate the oxygen flow on the POB. AFA MEC Safety, Health and Security (SHS) Committee has advised Inflight Safety of this as of last week. In response, AFA was advised there was an awareness of the problem and that work is underway to determine the root cause.
Although we know it is important to determine how this happened, the right thing to do for safety is to proactively ensure that this does not occur to another crew in the middle of an inflight emergency. MEC SHS advocated that the company put out an alert advising Flight Attendants to be on the lookout for the potential hazard in order to identify and resolve it prior to dispatch of the aircraft.
We strongly recommend, while conducting safety checks, that you pay particular attention to the POB bottles to ensure that there is no wire seal. If there is one, please advise the Purser/Lead/ISM that a wire seal is present, so that discrepancy is brought to the attention of the Captain for resolution prior to aircraft dispatch.
Please file an ASRS (PM UA) or an ISAP (PM CO & CMI) to report safety issues/concerns associated with this hazard. Alternatively, if you don’t believe this meets the criteria for an ASRS or ISAP report, you may file an IOR. You may bring forward to your Local SHS any issues that you believe impact you as a United Flight Attendant.