SafeWork NSW recently issued a safety alert regarding fake respiratory protective equipment (RPE) entering the Australian market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for P2 disposable respirators, and as a result, construction businesses, their PCBUs and some other industries have had difficulty getting P2 disposable respirators used for protection against dust and chemicals including silica, asbestos and lead.
This extra demand is leading to fake respiratory protective equipment (RPE) entering the Australian market, according to the safety alert.
In Australia, most disposable respirators and filters that give protection against dust 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.
The alert made a number of key points:
SafeWork NSW recommended a number of required actions as a result:
The regulator also noted that making false or misleading representations about goods is an offence under Australian Consumer Law and carries a fine up to $10 million for a body corporate and $500,000 for individuals.