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In Australia, the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) in the workplace has strict legal regulations under the National Code of Practice Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances.

The majority of enforceable regulations on RPE usage and fit testing guidance can be found in:

  • AS/NZ 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment
  • AS/NZS 1716:2012 Respiratory protective devices

IN SHORT

The law requires employers to prevent/control the exposure of employees and others to hazardous substances at work.

Employers must carry out a thorough risk assessment to identify any potential hazardous substances before work begins and take action to prevent/control employee exposure.

If RPE is required, an RPE Program must be put in place, which includes:

  • Appointing a Program Administrator
  • Selecting appropriate RPE
  • Medical screening of RPE users
  • Employee training
  • Issuing, fitting and ensuring users wear RPE
  • Regular maintenance and appropriate disposal of RPE
  • Record keeping
  • Regular program evaluation

ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS

In some cases, additional regulations may also apply.

These include:

  • Model Code of Practice: How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace
  • Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants

FURTHER READING

A plethora of other resources exist which you may find helpful. These include: