Respirator safety – know your mandatory requirements

Respirator safety is important at all times

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a crucial component in protecting property services professionals from physical harm and hazards in the workplace.

A properly maintained respirator is a vital tool for pest managers. It protects us from airborne contaminants such as hazardous chemicals and dusts, so it is important to get your respirator safety right.

The pest industry is used to working within guidelines, Australian Standards and Codes of Practice. So, we are familiar with workplace health and safety requirements such as using PPE in our everyday work.

But are we fully aware of the Standard that we are obligated to follow?

The Australian Standard for respirators

For many years there has been an Australian Standard covering respirators, to help ensure our industry has respirator safety, AS/NZS 1715-2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment. It has existed for so long that some of us may not have checked over it in some time.

Let’s take a couple of minutes now to review this Standard and check our responsibilities.

the 10 requirements

The Standard has 10 mandatory requirements for respiratory users:

  1. A respirator protection program is to be formalised and an administrator appointed.
  2. Selection of equipment must take into account the wearer’s medical condition, physical and psychological suitability, the contaminants factors that will be encountered and the tasks the wearer will be undertaking.
  3. Wearers will be trained in the use of the respirators and PPE and this will be done at the commencement of employment and at routine intervals.
  4. Respirators will be for the exclusive use of the wearer.
  5. Fit testing of respirators will be carried out annually.
  6. Testing will cover correct seal, and this must be checked by the program administrator.
  7. Respirators will be worn at all times and in all areas required and to manufacturers’ instructions.
  8. Manufacturers’ maintenance instructions are carried out.
  9. Respirators are cleaned after every use.
  10. Records will be kept covering: maintenance, filter use, filter dates, equipment owner, dates of issue, training records, test dates and audits.

If this Standard is new to you or you think you do not meet all its requirements then you may be placing yourself, an employee or business at risk.

Consider: What can you do today to protect yourself, and those who rely on you, in future?

Further your knowledge

Speaking of staying up to date, have you recently looked at the labels of the chemicals you use? Things might have changed – read our blog on how to use chemical product labels appropriately.