MSA Safety


Mine Safety Appliances, or MSA Safety Incorporated, is a maker of safety products to protect workers exposed to a variety of hazardous conditions in such industries as construction, the military, fire service, and chemical, oil, and gas production.[1][2]

MSA Safety Incorporated
S&P 400 Component
IndustrySafety equipment
HeadquartersCranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Key people
Nish Vartanian, CEO
Gas detector
Hard hat
Safety harness
Thermal imaging camera
RevenueIncreaseUS$1.2 billion (2017)
Number of employees
Construction worker wearing an MSA Skullgard hard hat at Douglas Dam, Tennessee (TVA), 1942

Best known for its iconic reinforced Bakelite Skullgard hard hat, the company’s product line includes gas monitoring and detection instruments, filter-type respirators, gas masks, breathing apparatus used by firefighters, thermal imaging cameras, firefighter helmets, ballistic body armor, military communications systems, a broad range of industrial head and fall protection products, and safety products for Do-It-Yourself consumers.[1][2]

MSA is based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry.[3] With help from Thomas Edison[citation needed] the company was formed in 1914[3] to develop a battery-powered cap lamp for miners to help prevent methane-related explosions caused by open flame lamps. Since the turn of the 21st Century, MSA has seen record sales. Only a small portion of the company's current products involve mining related products. The company’s competitors include Industrial Scientific Corporation, RAE Systems and Dräger.[4]

The corporation's assets are managed through two business segments: MSA North America and MSA International. MSA has sales and manufacturing operations throughout the world and sells products to customers in more than 140 countries. While the majority of MSA's products are available only through distributors, the company does sell head, eye, ear, respiratory and body protection products to individuals through a variety of hardware and home center retail outlets.

Breathing ApparatusEdit

Mine Safety Appliances Co. has been manufacturing oxygen breathing apparatus for decades.[5]

Their "Chemox" chemical rebreather, primarily designed for use in mines, has been modified for use on Mount Everest in 1952 and 1986. They are stated to be simple in construction and operation. It is essentially a canister of potassium superoxide connected to one-way flow valves to an air bag and thence to the user, as in Rebreathers whose absorbent releases oxygen hereinabove. There are no controls or operable valves of any kind. Breathing rate controls oxygen production. The main disadvantage is the 4-lbs canisters are good for only about 45-minutes of rapid climbing before another canister must be switched in. The canisters supply about 6 hours of sleeping oxygen.

Hard hatsEdit

MSA also produces protective hard hats. The first generation, known as the "Skullguard", was made of reinforced Bakelite. Introduced in the 1930s it is still manufactured today.

MSA went on to produce a lighter and more streamlined helmet known as the "Topgard" in the 1960s. MSA brand firefighting helmets were notably used by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and were seen regularly on 1970s TV shows.

MSA continues to manufacture firefighting protective helmets and in 2000 acquired competitor, Cairns Helmets. Cairns firefighting helmets are now produced under the MSA Cairns label.



  1. ^ a b The Wall Street Journal. "Mine Safety Appliances Co. ." Retrieved Feb 28, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Bloomberg Businessweek. "Mine Safety Appliances Co (MSA:New York)." Retrieved Feb 28, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Yahoo Finance. "Mine Safety Appliances Co. (MSA)." Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Wikinvest. "Competition Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine." Retrieved Apr 26, 2013.
  5. ^

External linksEdit

  • MSA's website