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  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes clothing and other equipment designed to keep you safe in hazardous environments.  

    • 3 important personal protective equipment (PPE) Standards for face masks

      Standards play an important role in determining the effectiveness of personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes clothing and other equipment with the intention to protect someone from risks of injury or illness.  

      PPE is generally designed and used to provide safer workplace conditions and play an important role in the healthcare and building and construction industries. Their main purpose is to make sure workers stay safe in their daily jobs.  

      However, such protective equipment and their associated Standards can also be used in hazardous conditions in everyday life. For example, minimising risk of spreading diseases or instances of poor air quality.

      When selecting  protective clothing or equipment to suit  your needs, whether for work or everyday safety, it's important to know if they meet the requirements of their relevant Standards. Given the purpose of PPEs is to minimise potential risk and harm to the user, you can feel confident in the effectiveness of your equipment when it's built to the right specifications.

      Face masks are just one type of a personal protective device that can be utilised in conditions where infectious substances, asbestos, hazardous chemicals or fumes are present.

      Here are three important Standards shaping how face masks should be designed, manufactured and used to ensure effectiveness in the workplace and everyday life.

      1. AS 4381:2015 Single-use face masks for use in health-care 


      This Standard sets out requirements for single-use face masks in health care. In cases where cross contamination between the health care worker and the patient needs to be minimal, AS 4381:2015 should be followed. 

      2. AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment  


      This Standard states the requirements and guidelines for respiratory protection. AS/NZS 1715:2009 includes discussion of respiratory hazards, the assessment of associated risks and various methods of control including the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). 

      3. AS/NZS 1716:2012 Respiratory protective devices


      This Standard specifies requirements, performance and testing criteria for the manufacture of respiratory protective devices (RPDs). AS/NZS 1716:2012 focuses on providing protection against harmful substances in the atmosphere when breathed in, as well as atmospheres that may lack enough oxygen. 

       

      It's important to know that use of PPEs work best in conjunction with other harm minimisation processes, rather than a standalone fix. Face masks are quick and easy to implement and help to further reduce risk when used in conjunction with a holistic risk management plan.

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