<PAGE>
 
                            SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION
 
PROXY STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 14(A) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
                               (AMENDMENT NO.  )
 
Filed by the Registrant [X]
 
Filed by a Party other than the Registrant [_]
 
Check the appropriate box:
 
[_] Preliminary Prospectus Statement
 
[X] Definitive Proxy Statement
 
[_] Definitive Additional Materials
 
[_] Soliciting Material Pursuant to (S)240.14a-11(c) or (S)240.14a-12
 
                         MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY
                (Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)

 
                         MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY
                   (Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement)
 
Payment of Filing Fee (check the appropriate box):
 
[X] $125 per Exchange Act Rules 0-11(c)(1)(ii), 14a-6(i)(1), or 14a-6(j)(2).
 
[_] $500 per each party to the controversy pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 14a-
    6(i)(3).
 
[_] Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(4) and 0-11.
 
    (1) Title of each class of securities to which transaction applies:
 
    (2) Aggregate number of securities to which transaction applies:
 
    (3) Per unit price or other underlying value of transaction computed
        pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 0-11:*
 
    (4) Proposed maximum aggregate value of transaction:
- --------
*Set forth the amount on which the filing is calculated and state how it was
   determined.
 
[_] Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule
    0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid
    previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number,
    or the Form or Schedule and the date of its filing.
 
    (1) Amount previously paid:
 
    (2) Form, Schedule or Registration Statement No.:
 
    (3) Filing Party:
 
    (4) Date Filed:
 
Notes:
 

<PAGE>

[LOGO MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY] 

MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY  P.O. BOX 426, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA 15230
                             PHONE (412) 967-3000
 

                   NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
 
TO THE HOLDERS OF COMMON STOCK OF
  MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY:
 
     Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Mine
Safety Appliances Company will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 1994, at 10:00
A.M., local Pittsburgh time, at the Company's headquarters, 121 Gamma Drive,
RIDC Industrial Park, O'Hara Township, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the purpose
of considering and acting upon the following:
 
          (1) Election of Directors: The election of three directors for a term
     of three years;
 
          (2) Amendment of the 1990 Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option Plan:
     Approval of an amendment to the Company's 1990 Non-Employee Directors'
     Stock Option Plan to increase annual stock option grants under the plan
     from 200 to 500 shares of Common Stock per non-employee director.
 
          (3) Selection of Auditors: The selection of independent auditors for
     the year ending December 31, 1994;
 
and such other business as may properly come before the Annual Meeting or any
adjournment thereof.
 
     Only the holders of Common Stock of the Company of record on the books of
the Company at the close of business on February 18, 1994 are entitled to notice
of and to vote at the meeting and any adjournment thereof.
 
     You are cordially invited to attend the meeting. Whether or not you expect
to attend the meeting, please execute and date the accompanying form of proxy
and return it to the Company in the enclosed self-addressed, stamped envelope at
your earliest convenience. If you attend the meeting, you may, if you wish,
withdraw your proxy and vote your shares in person.
 
                                          By Order of the Board of Directors,
 
                                                     DONALD H. CUOZZO
                                                        Secretary
 
M
arch 16, 1994



<PAGE>
 
March 16, 1994
 
                         MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY
 
                                PROXY STATEMENT
 
     This Proxy Statement is furnished in connection with the solicitation by
the Board of Directors of Mine Safety Appliances Company (the "Company") of
proxies in the accompanying form to be voted at the Annual Meeting of
Shareholders of the Company to be held on Wednesday, April 27, 1994, and at any
and all adjournments thereof, for the purposes set forth in the accompanying
Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareholders. If a proxy in the accompanying form is
duly executed and returned, the shares of Common Stock represented thereby will
be voted and, where a specification is made by the shareholder, will be voted in
accordance with such specification. A shareholder giving the accompanying proxy
has the power to revoke it at any time prior to its exercise upon written notice
given to the Secretary of the Company.
 
     The mailing address of the principal executive offices of the Company is
P.O. Box 426, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230.
 
                       VOTING SECURITIES AND RECORD DATE
 
     As of February 18, 1994, the Company had 6,009,653 shares of Common Stock
issued and outstanding. Holders of Common Stock of the Company of record on the
books of the Company at the close of business on February 18, 1994 are entitled
to notice of and to vote at the Annual Meeting and at any adjournment thereof.
Such holders are entitled to one vote for each share held and do not have
cumulative voting rights with respect to the election of directors. Holders of
outstanding shares of the Company's 4-1/2% Cumulative Preferred Stock are not
entitled to vote at the meeting.
 
     See "Security Ownership" for information with respect to share ownership by
the directors and officers of the Company and the beneficial owners of 5% or
more of the Company's Common Stock.
 

                                 PROPOSAL NO. 1
                             ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
 
     Three directors will be elected at the Annual Meeting to serve until the
Annual Meeting in 1997 and until a successor has been elected and qualified. The
Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR the election of the three nominees
named below, each of whom has consented to be named as a nominee and to serve if
e
lected. Properly executed proxies timely received in the accompanying form will
be voted for the election of the nominees named below, unless otherwise directed
thereon, or for a substitute nominee designated by the Board in the event a
nominee named becomes unavailable for election.
 
     The following table sets forth certain information about the nominees and
about the directors whose terms of office will continue after the Annual
Meeting. Messrs. Gerlach and Ryan, Jr. are currently members of the Board. Mr.
Campbell has not previously served as a director of the Company.
 
                                       1


<PAGE>
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                              Principal Occupation and any                    Director                Other
Name                           Position with the Company            Age         Since             Directorships
- ----                           -------------------------            ---         -----             -------------

<S>                           <C>                                   <C>          <C>          <C>
                                           Nominees for terms expiring in 1997:
 
Calvin A. Campbell, Jr.      President and Chief Executive            59          N/A        Champion Parts, Inc.; Cyprus
                             Officer of Goodman Equipment                                    Amax Minerals Company;
                             Corporation (manufacturer of                                    Eastman Chemical Company
                             underground mining locomotives and
                             plastics blow molding machinery)
 
G. Donald Gerlach            Partner of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay      60         1989              None
                             (attorneys-at-law)
 
John T. Ryan, Jr.            Retired; formerly Chairman of the        82         1943              None
                             Board of Directors of the Company;
                             Chairman of the Executive Committee
                             of the Board
<CAPTION>
                                    Continuing Directors with terms expiring in 1995:
 
Helen Lee Henderson          Investor; President of Chiron            55         1991              None
                             Productions, Ltd. (theatrical
                             business)
 
John T. Ryan III             President, Chairman and Chief            50         1981              None
                             Executive Officer of the Company
 
Leo N. Short, Jr.            Retired; formerly Chairman of the        67         1986              None
                             Board and Chief Executive Officer of
                             the Company; Chairman of MSA
                             International
<CAPTION>
 
</TABLE>

 
                                       2

<PAGE>

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                              Principal Occupation and any                    Director                Other
Name                           Position with the Company            Age         Since             Directorships
- ----                           -------------------------            ---         -----             -------------

<S>                           <C>                                   <C>          <C>          <C>

                                    Continuing Directors with terms expiring in 1996:
 
John M. Arthur               Consultant to Chambers Development       71         1974        DQE Inc., Duquesne Light
                             Company, Inc. (waste management);                               Company and Chambers
                             formerly Chairman of the Board of                               Development Company, Inc.
                             Duquesne Light Company (electric
                             public utility)
 
Joseph L. Calihan            Managing Partner of Bradford Capital     56         1993                None
                             Partners (venture capital
                             investments and acquisitions);
                             Chairman of the Board and Chief
                             Executive Officer of Bradford
                             Schools, Inc. (post-secondary
                             business schools)
</TABLE>

 
     For at least the past five years, directors Calihan, Campbell, Gerlach and
Henderson have engaged, and for at least five years prior to his retirement
director Ryan, Jr. was engaged, in the principal occupations indicated in the
table above. Prior to becoming President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
in October 1991, Mr. Ryan III was President of the Company since April 1990 and
previously was Executive Vice President of the Company. Mr. Short was Chairman
of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Company from April 1990 to
October 1991 and previously was President and Chief Executive Officer of the
Company. Mr. Arthur has been a consultant to Chambers Development Company, Inc.
since January 1991; he retired as Chairman of the Board of Duquesne Light
Company in August 1987. Mr. Campbell also was Chairman of the Board (May 1991 to
May 1992) and President and Chief Executive Officer (February 1992 to May 1992)
of Cyprus Minerals Company (now Cyprus Amax Minerals Company).
 
     The Board of Directors has established an Audit Committee, a Compensation
Committee, a Nominating Committee and certain other committees. The Audit
Committee, which met two times during 1993, reviews the preparations for and
scope of the annual audit of the Company's financial statements, makes
recommendations as to the retention of independent auditors and as to their fees
and performs such other duties relating to the financial statements of the
Company and other matters as the Board of Directors may assign from time to
time. The current members of the Audit Committee are directors Arthur, Calihan,
Gerlach, Henderson, Ryan, Jr. and John P. Roche, a director whose term of office
will not continue after the Annual Meeting, each for a term expiring at the 1994
organizational meeting of the Board of Directors.
 
     The Compensation Committee presently consists of directors Arthur, Gerlach,
Henderson, Roche, Ryan, Jr. and Short, each for a term expiring at the 1994
organizational meeting of the Board. The Compensation Committee, which met one
time in 1993, makes recommendations to the Board with respect to the
compensation of officers of the Company. A report of the Compensation Committee
as to its policies in recommending the 1993 compensation of the Company's
executive officers appears below. The Compensation Committee also administers
the Company's 1987 Management Share Incentive Plan, and is empowered to award
restricted shares and grant stock options thereunder, and administers the
predecessor 1980 Management Share Incentive Plan.
 
     The current members of the Nominating Committee are directors Arthur,
Gerlach, Henderson and Ryan III, each for a term expiring at the 1994
organizational meeting of the Board. The Nominating Committee was formed after
the 1993 Annual Meeting and did not meet in 1993. The Nominating Committee
considers potential candidates for election to the Board of Directors and
         
                              3


<PAGE>
makes recommendations to the Board. Any shareholder who desires to have an
individual considered for nomination by the Nominating Committee must submit a
recommendation in writing to the Secretary of the Company not later than
November 30 preceding the annual meeting at which the election is to be held.
 
     The Board of Directors met seven times during 1993. All directors attended
at least 75% of the combined total of the meetings of the Board and of all
committees on which they served.
 
Vote Required
 
     The three candidates receiving the highest numbers of votes cast at the
Annual Meeting by the holders of Common Stock voting in person or by proxy will
be elected as directors. A proxy vote indicated as withheld from a nominee will
not be cast for such nominee but will be counted in determining whether a quorum
exists for the meeting.
 
     The Company's Restated Articles require that any shareholder intending to
nominate a candidate for election as a director must give written notice,
containing specified information, to the Secretary of the Company not later than
90 days in advance of the meeting at which the election is to be held. No such
notices were received with respect to the 1994 Annual Meeting. Therefore, only
the nominees named above will be eligible for election at the meeting.
 
                                       4


<PAGE>
              OTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
 

Executive Compensation
 
     The following table sets forth information concerning the annual, long-term
and other compensation paid or accrued by the Company and its subsidiaries for
the years 1993, 1992 and 1991 for the persons who were at the end of 1993 the
chief executive officer and the other four most highly compensated executive
officers of the Company (the "Named Officers"):
 
                           SUMMARY COMPENSATION TABLE
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                                                                                  Long-Term
                                   Annual Compensation                       Compensation Awards
                                   -------------------                       --------------------                           

<S>                  <C>         <C>          <C>           <C>              <C>            <C>            <C>
                                                                                              Shares
                                                                                            Underlying
                                                                Other                          Stock
                                                               Annual         Restricted       Options
Name and                                                     Compensa-           Stock         (No. of         All Other
Principal Position        Year     Salary ($)    Bonus ($)   tion ($)(1)     Awards ($)(2)     Shares)     Compensation ($)(3)
- ------------------        ----     ----------    ---------  ------------     -------------    --------     -------------------
John T. Ryan III,         1993   $  298,350   $    62,853        --          $   326,564          --         $     23,074
 President,               1992      285,480       107,100        --                   --          --               28,597
 Chairman and             1991(4)   217,051        90,100        --                   --        5,400                  --
 Chief Executive
 Officer
 
Werner E. Christen,       1993   $  268,736            --        --                   --          --                   --
 Vice President           1992      270,416   $    23,550        --                   --          --                   --
 (Managing                1991(5)   238,297        46,125        --                   --          --                   --
 Director of MSA
 Europe and General
 Director of German
 subsidiary)
 
Thomas B. Hotopp,         1993   $  192,200   $    32,500        --         $   125,995            --      $        13,352
 Senior Vice              1992      184,200        40,200        --                  --            --               15,376
 President-               1991(6)    88,626        18,400        --                  --         1,500                   --
 Safety Products
 
Frederick Tepper,         1993   $  150,860   $    25,700        --         $    89,341             --      $        21,210
 Vice President           1992      146,040        28,300        --                  --             --               23,470
                          1991      138,432        37,100        --                  --          1,700                   --
 
Donald E. Crean,          1993   $  142,300   $    17,900        --         $    83,181             --      $        20,732
 Vice President           1992      138,120        26,400        --                  --             --               22,987
                          1991      131,400        34,500        --                  --          1,600                   --
</TABLE>

 
- ---------
(1)  For each year, the incremental cost to the Company of personal benefits
     provided to any Named Officer did not exceed the lesser of $50,000 or 10%
     of aggregate salary and bonus.
 
(2)  The amounts shown in this column represent the market values on January 29,
     1993 of restricted shares awarded on that date. At December 31, 1993, the
     number and market values of restricted shares held by the Named Officers
     were as follows: Mr. Ryan, 9,489 shares ($400,910); Mr. Christen, none; Mr.
     Hotopp, 2,884 shares ($121,849); Mr. Tepper, 3,225 shares ($136,256); and
     Mr. Crean, 3,004 shares ($126,919). Holders of restricted shares receive
     dividends at the same rate as paid on other shares of Common Stock.
 
(3)  1993 amounts include Company matching contributions to the Company's
     Retirement Savings and Supplemental Savings Plans as follows: Mr. Ryan,
     $8,951; Mr. Hotopp, $7,688; Mr. Tepper, $6,192; and Mr. Crean, $5,693. 1993
     amounts also include life insurance premiums paid by the Company as
     follows: Mr. Ryan, $14,123; Mr. Hotopp, $5,664; Mr. Tepper, $15,018; and
     Mr.
                                       5

<PAGE>
     Crean, $15,039. As permitted by Securities and Exchange Commission
     regulations, no information is provided in this column for 1991.
 
(4)  Mr. Ryan was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in October 1991,
     having previously served as President since April 1990 and Executive Vice
     President.
 
(5)  Mr. Christen first became an executive officer of the Company in 1992.
 
(6)  Mr. Hotopp was first employed by the Company in July 1991.
 
Stock Option Exercises and Year-End Values
 
     The following table sets forth information concerning stock options under
the Company's Management Share Incentive Plans (the "MSIP") held by the Named
Officers at December 31, 1993. No stock options were granted to or exercised by
executive officers in 1993.
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                                  Number of
                                   Shares         Value of
                                 Underlying     Unexercised
                                 Unexercised    In-the-Money
                                 Options at      Options at
Name                              12/31/93      12/31/93 (3)
- ----                             -----------    ------------

<S>                             <C>              <C>
John T. Ryan III                 8,766(1)        $   860
                                   894(2)        $     0
Werner E. Christen                   0                --
Thomas B. Hotopp                 1,500(1)        $     0
Frederick Tepper                 6,260(1)        $30,135
Donald E. Crean                  3,000(1)        $     0
</TABLE>

 
- ---------
(1)  Options exercisable at December 31, 1993.
 
(2)  Options not exercisable at December 31, 1993.
 
(3)  Represents the amount by which the December 31, 1993 market value of the
     shares subject to certain unexercised options exceeded the option price of
     those options as follows: Mr. Ryan, 860 shares; and Mr. Tepper, 3,060
     shares. At December 31, 1993, the option price of all other unexercised
     options exceeded the market value of the option shares.
 
C
ompensation Committee Report on Executive Compensation
 
     The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors has furnished the
following report on 1993 executive compensation:
 
     The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors is responsible for
recommending to the Board salaries and bonuses to be paid to the Company's
corporate officers, including its executive officers. The Compensation Committee
is also responsible for administering the Company's shareholder approved 1987
Management Share Incentive Plan (the "MSIP"), which permits the Committee to
make discretionary grants of stock options and restricted stock as incentives to
executive officers and other key employees.
 
     The Compensation Committee's policy in recommending salaries is designed to
pay executive officer salaries at competitive levels necessary to attract and
retain competent personnel while at the same time recognizing Company and
individual performance factors. To do this, the Company periodically retains
compensation consultants to assist in evaluating each United States domestic
executive officer position and in determining the market level salary range for
the position based on salaries paid for executive positions with similar duties
and responsibilities by other manufacturing companies of comparable size and
sales volumes. Between these periodic evaluations, market level salary ranges
for each position are reviewed to reflect changes shown by data provided from
compensation surveys. Within the market level salary range for each executive
officer position, the salary to be paid to the individual officer is determined
based on a consideration of Company and individual
                                       6

<PAGE>

performance. For domestic officers other than the chief executive officer,
Company performance, measured primarily by consolidated net income for the
preceding year, and compensation survey data are used to establish the aggregate
budget for salary adjustments. Individual salary adjustments are then determined
by allocating the aggregate budget taking into consideration the relationship of
the officer's current salary to the market level range and an evaluation of the
officer's individual performance made initially by the chief executive officer
or the officer's other immediate supervisor. In the case of the chief executive
officer, the individual performance evaluation and the determination of the
amount of the salary adjustment is made by the Compensation Committee.
 
     The Company has one executive officer located overseas, Werner E. Christen,
a Vice President of the Company. Mr. Christen is the Managing Director of MSA
Europe and the General Director of the Company's German subsidiary. The
determination of Mr. Christen's salary is made in a manner similar to that used
for domestic executive officers except that the market level salary range for
his position is determined by reference to salaries paid for similar executive
positions in Germany and corporate performance is measured by the income of the
German subsidiary, rather than by consolidated net income. In determining Mr.
Christen's salary, the Company also takes into account the fact that Mr.
Christen does not participate in stock option and restricted stock awards made
to other executive officers under the MSIP and also does not receive many of the
insurance and other benefits available to domestic officers.
 
     Executive officer salaries for 1993 were considered by the Committee in
December 1992. For 1993, the Compensation Committee increased the salary of John
T. Ryan III, the chief executive officer, by 4.5% over his salary for 1992,
which was somewhat higher than the budgeted average increase for 1993 executive
officer salaries. In granting the increase, the Committee was influenced by the
fact that Mr. Ryan's 1992 salary had been significantly below the median market
salary for his position and that even with the increase his 1993 salary would
still be significantly below the market salary median. The Committee also
considered the significant increase in Mr. Ryan's responsibilities resulting
from his assumption of the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in
October 1991, particularly in the area of overseas operations, which it felt was
only partially recognized in his 1992 salary. The Committee felt that Mr. Ryan
had provided notable leadership in evaluating and working toward a resolution of
the problems presented by losses at the German metallized paper joint venture,
in cutting costs and containing expenses domestically and overseas, particularly
through the consolidation of U.S. manufacturing operations, and in strengthening
the Company's management team through the addition of new personnel.
 
     The Company's annual bonus policy is designed to make a significant
percentage of an executive officer's total cash compensation dependent upon
corporate and individual performance. At targeted levels for domestic officers,
this percentage is 40% of median market level salary for the chief executive
officer, 30 to 33% for vice presidents and 22% or 13% for other officers. The
percentage of the targeted bonus earned is initially determined as the
percentage of achievement by the Company of a targeted level of consolidated net
income for the year. The initial percentage determined by corporate performance
may then be adjusted upward or downward for each officer based upon an
evaluation of the individual officer's performance during the year, which is
made initially by the chief executive officer or the officer's other immediate
supervisor or, in the case of the chief executive officer, by the Compensation
Committee. Individual bonuses may not exceed 150% of targeted levels. The total
amount payable as bonuses in any year may not exceed the sum of (1) 2% of
consolidated net income before bonuses and income taxes plus (2) 2% of the
excess (if any) of (a) consolidated net income before bonuses and income taxes
over (b) 16% of the consolidated shareholder's equity of the Company (excluding
cumulative translation adjustments) at the end of the preceding year. The
determination of the amount of the annual bonus to be paid to Mr. Christen is
made after taking into consideration the income of the Company's German
subsidiary and an evaluation of his individual performance.
 
     The Committee considered bonuses for 1993 at its meeting in February 1994.
The Company's stated policy has been that no bonus be paid if consolidated net
income for the year is less than 50% of
                                       7

<PAGE>
the targeted amount. The 1993 earnings were, for the first time, less than this.
However, the Committee determined that bonuses should nonetheless be paid. In
making this determination, the Committee was influenced by the fact that
consolidated net income was close to the minimum (44% vs. 50% of target) and
that the total bonuses payable under the formulas of the plan would be 32% lower
than the previous year, reflecting the reduced levels of the Company's financial
performance. The Committee further considered the fact that under a salary
freeze then in effect no salary increases would be granted to executive officers
for 1994, and that officers' total compensation (salary plus bonus) would be
significantly below competitive industry norms. The Committee also noted that
corporate earnings, while below target, were achieved in a very difficult
business environment and concluded that it would be appropriate to award
executive bonuses at reduced levels. The amount of the 1993 bonus paid to John
T. Ryan III, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, reflected the percentage
of achievement by the Company of the 1993 consolidated net income target.
 
     Awards under the MSIP are intended to provide executive officers with
long-term incentives in the form of stock-based compensation to remain with the
Company and to work to increase shareowner value. Under both types of awards
authorized by the MSIP, stock options and restricted stock, the value received
by the officer is a direct function of the Company's success in achieving a
long-term increase in the market value of its Common Stock. Historically, the
Committee has considered the grant of stock option awards every second year and
the grant of restricted stock awards every third year. In accordance with this
practice, the Committee considered and made awards under the MSIP in the form of
restricted stock grants in January 1993. Under the terms of the awards, the
restricted shares granted will vest over a term of five years, with one-third of
the shares awarded vesting on March 15 in each of the years 1996 through 1998.
Until vesting, the restricted shares, which are held in escrow by the Company,
may not be sold and generally will be forfeited if the officer's employment
terminates other than by death, disability or retirement under a Company
retirement plan.
 
     In determining the level of the incentive to be provided to an individual
executive officer in the form of restricted shares, the Committee considers the
opportunity for the officer to contribute to the achievement of the Company's
financial and/or strategic goals. This is done first by fixing a targeted value
for the officer's position equal to 120% of the maximum annual bonus for the
position which could be earned under the Company's annual bonus plan. The
targeted value for the position may then be adjusted upward or downward by up to
50% based on an assessment of the individual officer's performance. The number
of restricted shares to be granted to each officer is computed by dividing the
value as so determined by the per share market price of the Company's Common
Stock on the date of the Committee's action.
 
     The amount of the restricted stock award made to the chief executive
officer for 1993 was 15% above the targeted award for his position. In
increasing the amount of the award, the Committee was influenced by the same
factors relating to Mr. Ryan's 1992 performance as were considered by the
Committee in connection with Mr. Ryan's 1993 salary.
 
     The Company believes that stock options granted under the MSIP qualify as
"performance-based compensation" under new Section 162(m) of the Internal
Revenue Code, and the Company does not anticipate that it will be affected by
the cap on deductibility of executive compensation imposed by that Section.
 
     The foregoing report was submitted by the Compensation Committee of the
Board of Directors:
 
                                            G. Donald Gerlach, Chairman
                                            John M. Arthur
                                            Helen Lee Henderson
                                            John P. Roche
                                            John T. Ryan, Jr.
                                            Leo N. Short, Jr.
 
                                       8

<PAGE>
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
 
     There are no interlocking relationships, as defined in regulations of the
Securities and Exchange Commission, involving members of the Compensation
Committee.
 
     During 1993, directors Arthur, Gerlach, Henderson, Roche, Ryan, Jr. and
Short served as members of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Ryan, Jr. and Mr.
Short are each former officers of the Company, and Mr. Ryan, Jr. is the father
of Mr. Ryan III. Mr. Gerlach is a partner in the law firm of Reed Smith Shaw &
McClay, which provides legal services to the Company as its outside counsel.
 
Retirement Plans
 
     The following table shows the estimated annual retirement benefits payable
upon normal retirement at age 65 under the Company's Non-Contributory Pension
Plan for Employees to participating employees, including officers, in selected
compensation and years-of-service classifications.
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                                                5 Year Average Compensation
                          ------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Years of                    
        Service           $100,000    $200,000     $300,000     $400,000     $500,000     $600,000
       --------           --------    --------     --------      -------     --------      -------

<S>                       <C>        <C>          <C>          <C>          <C>          <C>
           5              $   6,540  $    14,290  $    22,040  $    29,790  $    37,540  $    45,290
           15                19,619       42,869       66,119       89,369      112,619      135,869
           25                32,698       71,448      110,198      148,948      187,698      226,448
           35                45,777      100,027      154,277      208,527      262,777      317,027
           45                55,777      120,027      184,277      248,527      312,777      377,027
</TABLE>

 
- ---------
Notes:
 
1.   Years of service are based upon completed months of service from date of
     hire to date of retirement.
 
2.   The benefits actually payable under the plan will be subject to the
     limitations of Sections 415 and 401(a)(17) of the Internal Revenue Code.
     These limitations have not been reflected in the table. However, the Board
     of Directors has passed a resolution providing for the payment by the
     Company to officers on an unfunded basis of the difference between the
     amounts payable under the benefit formula of the plan and the benefit
     limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code.
 
3.   This table applies to employees born in calendar year 1934. The actual
     benefits payable will vary slightly depending upon the actual year of
     birth.
 
4.   The benefits shown have been calculated using the Social Security law in
     effect on January 1, 1994, with a maximum taxable wage base of $60,600
     assumed until retirement.
 
     The amounts shown in the table are straight-life annuity amounts, assuming
no election of any available survivorship option, and are not subject to any
Social Security or other offsets. Benefits under the plan are based on the
highest annual average of the participant's covered compensation for any five
consecutive years of service, with covered compensation including salary and
bonus. As of December 31, 1993, years of service under the plan for the Named
Officers were: Mr. Ryan III, 24.50 years; Mr. Hotopp, 2.42 years; Mr. Tepper,
36.28 years; and Mr. Crean, 18.50 years.
 
     Mr. Christen does not participate in the Company's retirement plans, but
instead participates in a separate plan of the Company's German subsidiary.
Assuming normal retirement at age 65, the annual retirement benefit payable to
Mr. Christen under this plan would be approximately 45% of his final annual
salary. Based upon his 1993 salary, the amount of Mr. Christen's annual
retirement benefit is estimated to be approximately $120,000.
 
     The Company's Executive Insurance Program was established to assist members
of senior management approved by the Board in procuring life insurance during
their working careers and to provide them with additional flexibility and
benefits upon retirement. Under the program, the Company's group term life
insurance in excess of $50,000 is replaced with permanent insurance up to an
approved
                                       9

<PAGE>
amount. Premiums are paid by the Company and are included under "All Other
Compensation" in the above compensation table. In lieu of insurance after
retirement, the participant may elect (i) an uninsured death benefit from the
Company in the insurance amount, which would be taxable when paid, or (ii) to
have 75% of the insurance amount paid to him by the Company in monthly
installments over 15 years. If the second uninsured alternative were selected,
the annual amount payable by the Company upon retirement would be $50,000 for
Mr. Ryan III and $30,000 for Messrs. Hotopp, Tepper and Crean. If either of the
two uninsured alternatives are selected, the death benefit on the insurance
policy would be paid to the Company. Mr. Christen does not participate in this
program.
 
Director Compensation
 
     In 1993, directors who are not employees of the Company or one of its
subsidiaries were paid a retainer of $3,500 per quarter and $700 for each Board
meeting and each meeting of a Committee of the Board that they attended.
Commencing April 1, 1994, non-employee directors will receive a quarterly
retainer of $4,000 and $1,000 per Board meeting attended. The fee for Committee
meetings remains at $700 per meeting attended. Directors who are employees of
the Company or a subsidiary do not receive additional compensation for service
as a director. Under the Retirement Plan for Directors, directors who retire
from the Board on or after attaining age 70 and completing at least 5 years of
service as a director are entitled to receive a lifetime quarterly retirement
allowance equal to the quarterly directors' retainer payable at the time of
their retirement.
 
     The 1990 Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option Plan (the "DSOP") was
approved by the shareholders at the 1991 Annual Meeting. Its purposes are to
enhance the mutuality of interests between the Board and the shareholders by
increasing the share ownership of non-employee directors and to assist the
Company in attracting and retaining able persons to serve as directors. Under
the DSOP, directors who are not employees of the Company or a subsidiary receive
annual stock option grants to purchase up to 200 shares of Common Stock at an
option price equal to the market value on the date the options are granted. A
further description of the DSOP appears under Proposal No. 2 below in connection
with a proposed amendment to the DSOP to increase the annual stock option grant
from 200 to 500 shares. Pursuant to the terms of the DSOP, on May 3, 1993
options to purchase 200 shares of Common Stock at an exercise price of $47.125
per share were granted to directors Arthur, Calihan, Gerlach, Henderson, Roche,
Ryan, Jr. and Short.
 
     Subsequent to their retirement as employees Messrs. Ryan, Jr. and Short
each entered into a consulting agreement with the Company, providing an annual
consulting fee as compensation for his advisory services. Mr. Ryan Jr.'s
agreement provides for an annual consulting fee of $65,000, and the current term
of the agreement expires in 1996. Mr. Short's consulting agreement has a
one-year term, renewable from year to year. In 1993, the consulting fee under
the agreement was $60,000. Beginning in February 1994, the annual consulting fee
is $30,000. If Mr. Ryan, Jr. or Mr. Short were to become incapacitated or die
prior to the end of the term, the balance of the fees for the term would be paid
in a lump sum to him or his estate.
 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions
 
     The Company and its affiliates acted as sales agents with respect to sales
of certain mining locomotives and spare parts for Goodman Equipment Corporation,
and were paid commissions in 1993 of approximately $85,000 therefor. Nominee for
director Calvin A. Campbell, Jr. is a majority owner, a director and President
and Chief Executive Officer of Goodman Equipment Corporation.
 
                                       10

<PAGE>
 
               COMPARISON OF FIVE-YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN
 
   Among S&P 500 Index, Russell 2000 Index and Mine Safety Appliances Company
 
     Set forth below is a line graph comparing the cumulative total returns
(assuming reinvestment of dividends) for the five years ended December 31, 1993
of $100 invested on December 31, 1988 in each of the Company's Common Stock, the
Standard & Poor's 500 Composite Index and the Russell 2000 Index. Because its
competitors are principally privately held concerns or subsidiaries or divisions
of corporations engaged in multiple lines of business, the Company does not
believe it feasible to construct a peer group comparison on an industry or
line-of-business basis. The Russell 2000 Index, while including corporations
both larger and smaller than the Company in terms of market capitalization, is
composed of corporations with an average market capitalization similar to that
of the Company.
 

<TABLE>
                      [GRAPH APPEARS HERE]
           COMPARISON OF FIVE YEAR CUMULATIVE RETURN
        AMONG MSA, S&P 500 INDEX AND RUSSELL 2000 INDEX

<CAPTION>               
Measurement period	                S&P 500        RUSSELL 2000          
(Fiscal year Covered)	  MSA		Index	           Index
- ---------------------	---------	---------	------------
<S>			<C>		<C>		<C>
Measurement PT - 
12/31/88		$  100 		$  100  	$  100 

FYE 12/31/89		$  135 		$  132 		$  116 
FYE 12/31/90		$  121 		$  127		$   94 
FYE 12/31/91		$  109 		$  166		$  137
FYE 12/31/92		$  101 		$  179 		$  162 
FYE 12/31/93		$  109		$  197  	$  192 

</TABLE>
  

 
 

                               SECURITY OWNERSHIP
 
     Under regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a person is
considered the "beneficial owner" of a security if the person has or shares with
others either the power to vote the security (voting power) or the power to
dispose of the security (investment power). In the tables which follow,
"beneficial ownership" of the Company's stock is determined in accordance with
these regulations and does not necessarily indicate that the person listed as a
"beneficial owner" has an economic interest in the shares indicated as
"beneficially owned."
 
     The following table sets forth information regarding the amount and nature
of beneficial ownership of the Company's Common Stock as of February 18, 1994
and 4-1/2% Cumulative Preferred Stock as of February 11, 1994 by each director,
nominee and Named Officer and by all directors, nominees
 
                                       11

<PAGE>
and executive officers as a group. Except as otherwise indicated in the
footnotes to the table, the person named or a member of the group has sole
voting and investment power with respect to the shares listed.
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                                                                               4-1/2% Cumulative
 
                                                     Common Stock              Preferred Stock
                                                ------------------------    ---------------------
                                                Amount and                  Amount and
                                                 Nature of      Percent     Nature of      Percent
                                                Beneficial        of        Beneficial       of
Name                                           Ownership (1)   Class (1)    Ownership       Class
- ----                                           -------------   ---------    ----------------------

<S>                                            <C>              <C>          <C>           <C>

John T. Ryan III                                  250,500(2)        4.16%       187          .78%
John M. Arthur                                      4,525(3)         .08%        --           --
Joseph L. Calihan                                     200           --           --           --
Calvin A. Campbell, Jr.                                --           --           --           --
G. Donald Gerlach                                  18,600(4)         .31%        --           --
Helen Lee Henderson                               657,889(5)       10.95%       897(5)      3.72%
John P. Roche                                       6,600            .11%        --           --
John T. Ryan, Jr.                                 581,720(6)        9.68%       352(6)      1.46%
Leo N. Short, Jr.                                  16,230(7)         .27%        --           --
Werner E. Christen                                    400            .01%        --           --
Thomas B. Hotopp                                    5,384            .09%        --           --
Frederick Tepper                                    9,485(8)         .16%        --           --
Donald E. Crean                                     6,244            .10%        --           --
All executive officers, nominees and
  directors as a group (20 persons)             1,565,484(9)       25.91%     1,436         5.96%
</TABLE>

 
- ---------
(1)  The number of shares of Common Stock beneficially owned and the number of
     shares of Common Stock outstanding used in calculating the percent of class
     include the following shares of Common Stock which may be acquired within
     60 days upon the exercise of stock options held under the MSIP or the DSOP:
     Mr. Ryan III, 9,660 shares; Mr. Calihan, 200 shares; Mr. Short, 400 shares;
     each other director, 600 shares; Mr. Hotopp, 1,500 shares; Mr. Tepper,
     6,260 shares; Mr. Crean, 3,000 shares; and all directors, nominees and
     executive officers as a group, 32,520 shares. The number of shares of
     Common Stock beneficially owned also includes the following restricted
     shares awarded under the MSIP, as to which such persons have voting power
     only: Mr. Ryan III, 9,489 shares; Mr. Hotopp, 2,884 shares; Mr. Tepper,
     2,635 shares; Mr. Crean, 3,004 shares; and all directors, nominees and
     executive officers as a group, 29,864 shares.
 
(2)  Does not include 54,383 shares of Common Stock held by Mr. Ryan III's wife.
     Includes 17,500 shares of Common Stock held in a trust as to which Mr. Ryan
     III and Mr. Gerlach share voting and investment power as co-trustees.
 
(3)  Mr. Arthur shares voting and investment power with his wife.
 
(4)  Does not include 100 shares of Common Stock owned by Mr. Gerlach's wife.
     Includes 17,500 shares of Common Stock held in a trust as to which Mr.
     Gerlach and Mr. Ryan III share voting and investment power as co-trustees.
 
(5)  Includes 554,710 shares of Common Stock and 318 shares of 4-1/2% Cumulative
     Preferred Stock held in trusts, as to which Ms. Henderson shares voting and
     investment power with co-trustees. See the following discussion of the
     beneficial ownership of PNC Bank Corp. and Carl E. Glock, Jr.
 
(6)  Includes 8,928 shares of Common Stock and 93 shares of 4-1/2% Cumulative
     Preferred Stock held in a testamentary trust under which Mr. Ryan, Jr.
     shares voting power with a co-trustee. Does not include 139,456 shares of
     Common Stock owned by Mr. Ryan, Jr.'s wife and 96,000 shares of Common
     Stock and 1,000 shares of 4-1/2% Cumulative Preferred Stock held in an
     irrevocable inter vivos trust under which Mr. Ryan, Jr.'s wife has voting
     power.
 
(7)  Includes 4,600 shares of Common Stock as to which Mr. Short shares voting
     and investment power with his wife.
 
                                       12

<PAGE>
(8)  Does not include 3,665 shares of Common Stock owned by Mr. Tepper's wife.
 
(9)  See the other footnotes above. Also includes 300 shares of Common Stock as
     to which an executive officer shares voting and investment power with his
     wife.
 
     As of February 18, 1994, to the best of the Company's knowledge, six
persons or entities beneficially owned more than 5% of the Company's Common
Stock. The beneficial ownership of Helen Lee Henderson and John T. Ryan, Jr.
appears in the immediately preceding table. The following table sets forth the
beneficial ownership of the other 5% beneficial owners, based upon information
provided by such persons:
 

<TABLE>
<CAPTION>
                                             Amount and
                                             Nature of          Percent
Name and Address                             Beneficial           of
of Beneficial Owner                          Ownership           Class
- ------------------                           ---------           -----

<S>                                         <C>                 <C> 
PNC Bank Corp.                             724,853(1)(2)(3)     12.06%
PNC Bank Building                                    (4)(5)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15265
 
Helen Ruth Henderson                       429,357(3)(6)         7.14%
728 Fairview Road
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238
 
Carl E. Glock, Jr.                         397,004(5)            6.61%
2150 South Ocean Boulevard
Delray Beach, Florida 33483
 
State Farm Mutual Automobile               375,422(7)            6.25%
Insurance Company
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, Illinois 61710
</TABLE>

 
- ---------
(1)  All shares are held by subsidiary banks of PNC Bank Corp. ("PNC") in
     various fiduciary capacities. The banks have sole voting and investment
     power with respect to 86,375 and 3,000 shares, respectively, and share
     voting and investment power with respect to 638,478 and 636,525 shares,
     respectively.
 
(2)  Includes 8,928 shares as to which PNC and Mr. Ryan, Jr. share voting power.
 
(3)  Includes 74,840 shares as to which PNC and Helen Ruth Henderson share
     voting and investment power.
 
(4)  Includes 157,706 shares as to which PNC and Helen Lee Henderson share
     voting and investment power with a third person as co-trustees. The
     trustees have delegated the authority to vote these shares to Helen Lee
     Henderson.
 
(5)  Includes 397,004 shares as to which PNC, Helen Lee Henderson and Mr. Glock
     share voting and investment power as co-trustees. The trustees have
     delegated the authority to vote these shares to Helen Lee Henderson.
 
(6)  Helen Ruth Henderson has sole voting and investment power with respect to
     308,965 shares and shares voting and investment power with respect to
     120,392 and 74,840 shares, respectively. Does not include 6,240 shares of
     Common Stock held by Helen Ruth Henderson's husband. Helen Ruth Henderson
     is the mother of Helen Lee Henderson.
 
(7)  Based upon their Schedule 13G filed with Securities and Exchange
     Commission, as of December 31, 1993 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
     Company and related entities had sole voting and investment power over
     375,422 shares of Common Stock, of which 169,622 shares were held by State
     Farm Growth Fund, Inc. and 205,800 shares were held by the State Farm
     Employees Savings and Thrift Plan.
 
                                       13

<PAGE>
     Section 16(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 requires that
directors and officers of the Company and beneficial owners of more than 10% of
its Common Stock file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission with
respect to changes in their beneficial ownership of equity securities of the
Company. Based solely upon a review of the copies of such reports furnished to
the Company and written representations by certain persons that reports on Form
5 were not required, the Company believes that all 1993 Section 16(a) filing
requirements applicable to its directors, officers and greater-than-10%
beneficial owners were complied with.
 

                                 PROPOSAL NO. 2
        AMENDMENT TO THE 1990 NON-EMPLOYEE DIRECTORS' STOCK OPTION PLAN
 
     The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors proposes that the 1990
Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option Plan (the "DSOP") be amended to increase
the number of shares for which stock options are granted annually under the DSOP
from 200 to 500 shares of Common Stock per non-employee director. The Executive
C
ommittee recommends that the shareholders vote "FOR" approval of the proposed
amendment to the 1990 Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option Plan.
 
The DSOP
 
     The DSOP was approved by the shareholders at the 1991 Annual Meeting. Its
purposes are to enhance the mutuality of interests between the non-employee
directors and shareholders of the Company through increased share ownership by
directors and to assist the Company in attracting and retaining able persons to
serve as directors.
 
     The DSOP provides that on the third business day following each Annual
Meeting of Shareholders, each director who is not an employee of the Company or
a subsidiary shall automatically be granted a nonstatutory stock option to
purchase 200 shares of Common Stock at an option price per share equal to the
market value of a share of Common Stock on the date of grant. On March 10, 1994,
such market value was $42.6875 per share. Stock options granted under the DSOP
become exercisable six months from the date of grant and expire ten years from
the date of grant. Options which have not yet become exercisable are forfeited
if the director resigns or is removed for cause. Otherwise, unexpired options
may be exercised for two years following termination of service as a director
(90 days in the case of resignation or removal), but not less than six months
from the date of grant.
 
     Stock options granted under the DSOP may be exercised by paying the option
price to the Company in cash and/or by delivering to the Company shares of
Common Stock having a market value on the date of exercise equal to the option
price of the shares being purchased. Shares of Common Stock used to pay the
option price of a stock option must have been held by the director for at least
one year prior to the date of exercise.
 
     The total number of shares of Common Stock which may be issued upon the
exercise of stock options under the DSOP is limited to 50,000 shares, subject to
proportionate adjustment for stock splits and similar events. Options for 3,600
shares of Common Stock are presently outstanding under the DSOP. Directors
Arthur, Gerlach, Henderson, Roche and Ryan, Jr. each hold three options for 200
shares at option prices of $47.125, $43.875 and $55.00 per share. Mr. Short
holds two options for 200 shares at option prices of $47.125 and $43.875. Mr.
Calihan holds one option for 200 shares at an option price of $47.125 per share.
Mr. Ryan III does not participate in the DSOP.
 
Proposed Amendment
 
     The proposed amendment provides that, subject to shareowner approval, the
number of shares of Common Stock subject to the annual stock option grants under
the DSOP will be increased from 200 shares to 500 shares per non-employee
director, commencing with the stock options to be granted under the DSOP
following the 1994 Annual Meeting. The stock options presently outstanding under
the DSOP will not be affected by the amendment.
 
     In addition to promoting the identification with shareholder interests
which results from increased share ownership by directors, one of the principal
purposes of the DSOP is to assist the Company in attracting and retaining able
persons to serve as non-employee directors of the Company
                                       14

<PAGE>
by permitting the Company to offer a competitive compensation package for
non-employee directors. At its meeting on February 25, 1994, the Executive
Committee of the Board increased the quarterly retainer for non-employee
directors from $3,500 to $4,000 and increased the per meeting fees for non-
employee directors from $700 to $1,000 per Board of Directors' meeting attended.
The increase in the annual stock option grants under the DSOP, which was
approved by the Executive Committee at the same meeting, is intended to increase
the competitiveness of the stock component of the Company's compensation package
for non-employee directors.
 
Vote Required
 
     Approval of the proposed amendment to the DSOP requires the affirmative
vote of the holders of a majority of the shares of Common Stock present in
person or by proxy at the Annual Meeting and entitled to vote on the proposal.
Unless otherwise specified by the shareholder on the proxy card, proxies
received in the accompanying form will be voted "for" approval of the proposed
amendment. Since the aggregate number of shares voted "for", "against" or
"abstain" is counted in determining the minimum number of affirmative votes
required for approval, an abstention has the same legal effect as a vote
"against" the proposal.
 

                                 PROPOSAL NO. 3
                             SELECTION OF AUDITORS
 
     Because of the importance to the shareholders of having the Company's
accounts reviewed by independent accountants, it is the opinion of the Board of
Directors that the selection of auditors should be submitted to the
shareholders. The firm of Price Waterhouse has been the independent auditors for
the Company since 1959. Price Waterhouse has advised the Company that neither
the firm nor any of its partners has any direct or material indirect financial
interest in the Company or any of its subsidiaries.
 
     As independent accountants for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1993
Price Waterhouse provided auditing services in connection with their examination
of the consolidated financial statements of the Company, the separate financial
statements of its subsidiaries and periodic filings made by the Company with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
 
    The Board of Directors recommends a vote for the selection of Price
Waterhouse as independent auditors, and proxies received in the accompanying
form will be so voted, unless a contrary specification is made. It is expected
that one or more representatives of Price Waterhouse will be present at the
Annual Meeting with the opportunity to make a statement, if they desire to do
so, and to respond to appropriate questions. See "Election of Directors" for
information concerning the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
 
     Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of a majority of
the votes cast on the proposal at the Annual Meeting by the holders of Common
Stock voting in person or by proxy. Under the Pennsylvania Business Corporation
Law, an abstention is not a vote cast and will not be counted in determining the
number of votes required for approval, though it will be counted in determining
the presence of a quorum. In the event the proposal is not approved, the Board
will treat this as a recommendation to consider other auditors for 1995.
 
                                 OTHER MATTERS
 
     The Board of Directors does not know of any matters, other than those
referred to herein, which will be presented for action at the meeting. However,
in the event of a vote on any other matter that should properly come before the
meeting, it is intended that proxies received in the accompanying form will be
voted thereon in accordance with the discretion and judgment of the persons
named in the proxies.
 
                           ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
 
     Upon written request to the undersigned Secretary of the Company (at the
address specified on page 1) by any shareholder whose proxy is solicited hereby,
the Company will furnish a copy of its 1993 Annual Report on Form 10-K to the
Securities and Exchange Commission, together with financial statements and
schedules thereto, without charge to the shareholder requesting same.
 
                                       15

<PAGE>
                           1995 SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS
 
     To be eligible for inclusion in the Company's proxy statement for the 1995
Annual Meeting, any shareholder's proposal(s) must be received by the Company at
its principal executive offices not later than November 16, 1994.
 
                            EXPENSES OF SOLICITATION
 
     All expenses incident to the solicitation of proxies by the Board of
Directors will be paid by the Company. The Company will, upon request, reimburse
brokerage houses and other custodians, nominees and fiduciaries for reasonable
out-of-pocket expenses incurred in forwarding copies of solicitation material to
beneficial owners of Common Stock held in the names of such persons. In addition
to solicitation by mail, in a limited number of instances, regular employees of
the Company may solicit proxies in person or by telegraph or telephone.
Employees will receive no additional compensation for any such solicitation.
 
                                          By Order of the Board of Directors,
 
                                                     DONALD H. CUOZZO
                                                        Secretary
 
                                       16
 

<PAGE>
   Proxy--Mine Safety Appliances Company--1994 Annual Meeting of Shareholders
 
    The undersigned hereby appoints JOHN T. RYAN, JR., JOHN T. RYAN III and
DONALD H. CUOZZO, or any of them, as proxies, with power of substitution, to
vote all shares of MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY which the undersigned is
entitled to vote at the 1994 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and any adjournment
thereof:
 
      The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR items 1, 2 and 3 below:
 
1. Election of three Directors for terms expiring in 1997. Nominees: Calvin
   A. Campell, Jr., G. Donald Gerlach and John T. Ryan, Jr.

      FOR all nominees listed (except as          WITHHOLD AUTHORITY to
        marked to the contrary below) [_]    vote for all nominees listed [_]

(Instructions: To withhold authority to vote for any nominee, write that
               nominee's name on the line provided below.)
 
2. Approval of an amendment to the 1990 Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option
   Plan to increase annual stock option grants from 200 to 500 shares per
   non-employee director.        FOR [_]     AGAINST [_]     ABSTAIN [_]
 
3. Selection of Price Waterhouse as independent auditors.
                                 FOR [_]     AGAINST [_]     ABSTAIN [_]
 
          This proxy is solicited on behalf of the Board of Directors.
 
    This proxy will be voted as directed, or, if no direction is given, FOR
items 1, 2 and 3 above. A vote FOR item 1 includes discretionary authority to
vote for a substitute if any nominee listed becomes unable or unwilling to
serve. The proxies named are authorized to vote in their discretion upon such
other matters as may properly come before the meeting or any adjournment
thereof.
 
    The undersigned hereby revokes all previous proxies for such Annual Meeting,
acknowledges receipt of the Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement, and
ratifies all that said proxies may do by virtue hereof.
 
                                 Dated.................................., 1994
                                 ...................................... (SEAL)
                                 ...................................... (SEAL)
                                                  (Signature)
                                 Please sign exactly as your name appears
                                 hereon. FOR JOINT ACCOUNTS, EACH JOINT OWNER
                                 SHOULD SIGN. When signing as attorney,
                                 executor, administrator, trustee, etc.,
                                 please give your full title as such. If a
                                 corporation, please sign full corporate name
                                 by President or other authorized officer and
                                 give full title. If a partnership, please
                                 sign in partnership name by authorized
                                 person and give full title.
 
       PLEASE MARK, DATE, EXECUTE AND RETURN THIS PROXY PROMPTLY IN THE
                              ENCLOSED ENVELOPE.

<PAGE>

[LOGO MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY] 

MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY   P.O. BOX 426, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA 15230
                             PHONE (412) 967-3000
 

                    NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
 
TO THE HOLDERS OF 4-1/2% CUMULATIVE PREFERRED STOCK
  OF MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY:
 
     Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Mine
Safety Appliances Company will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 1994, at 10:00
A.M., local Pittsburgh time, at the Company's headquarters, 121 Gamma Drive,
RIDC Industrial Park, O'Hara Township, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the purpose
of considering and acting upon the following:
 
          (1) Election of Directors: The election of three directors for a term
     of three years;
 
          (2) Amendment of the 1990 Non-Employee Directors' Stock Option Plan:
     Approval of an amendment to the Company's 1990 Non-Employee Directors'
     Stock Option Plan to increase annual stock option grants under the plan
     from 200 to 500 shares of Common Stock per non-employee director.
 
          (3) Selection of Auditors: The selection of independent auditors for
     the year ending December 31, 1994;
 
and such other business as may properly come before the Annual Meeting or any
adjournment thereof.
 
     Only the holders of Common Stock of the Company of record on the books of
the Company at the close of business on February 18, 1994 are entitled to notice
of and to vote at the meeting and any adjournment thereof. You are cordially
invited to attend the meeting even though as a holder of 4-1/2% Cumulative
Preferred Stock you have no voting rights.
 
                                          By Order of the Board of Directors,
 
                                                     DONALD H. CUOZZO
                                                        Secretary
 
M
arch 16, 1994