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  • Fake respiratory protective equipment detected in Queensland workplace

Fake respiratory protective equipment detected in Queensland workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased demand for P2 disposable respirators. As a result, manufacturing and construction industries have had difficulty getting P2 disposable respirators used for protection against dusts and chemicals including silica, asbestos and lead.

This extra demand is leading to fake respiratory protective equipment (RPE) entering the Australian market. ABC News has reported “The high demand for P2 and N95 masks since the COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on industries, like coal mining, that routinely use them to protect workers from dust-borne diseases like black lung.”

"We had masks coming in that weren't rated and were actually ineffective and fake at our coal mines," CFMEU spokesman Steve Smyth said. "This is a huge concern because there are guys relying on these masks each and every day, thinking they're effective."

 

In Australia, most disposable respirators and filters that give protection against dusts and other particles are classified and marked as P1, P2 or P3, in accordance with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1716:2012.

There are also international standards for the classification of these respirators, with the United States 'N95', European 'FFP2' and Chinese 'KN95' considered equivalent to the Australian P2 and acceptable in Australian workplaces.

In a safety alert, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said “It can be very difficult to spot a fake or unaccredited mask from the real thing.” It said some of the masks were marked as P2 or came with packaging indicating that they had been tested, but WorkSafe New South Wales found some of the documentation was provided by unaccredited testing facilities and some did not have any licence numbers.


 

Internationally, some companies have been using the approval number of accredited companies, without their permission.

Under Australian consumer law, companies can be fined up to $10 million and individuals $500,000 for making false or misleading representations about goods.

All masks at AusTech Saw and Tooling are Genuine and only from reputable manufacturers.

For guides on health and safety you can find more information at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Image credit: Worksafe NSW 2020
ABC News link https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-30/fake-face-masks-risk-coronavirus-shortages-concern-union/12506164

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