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SafeWork issues emergency self-rescue respirator warning

Safety notice recommends removal of HFZY30 EEBD emergency escape breathing device


SafeWork New South Wales has issued a notice warning users to remove an unsafe emergency escape breathing device from road transport vehicles and workplaces.

Transport industry members are advised to remove the HFZY30 EEBD self-rescue respirator as it does not meet Australian Standard respiratory protection device requirements (AS/NZS 1716).

SafeWork warns of “potential life-threatening risk from use of the equipment in an emergency”.

“Testing by the Mine Safety Technology Centre of the HFZY30 EEBD has established that the device does not provide sufficient breathable air to be safe and users are at risk of asphyxiation from carbon dioxide after wearing the device for more than a few minutes,” the notice states.

The testing results showed that the devices:

  • exceeded the accepted breathing resistance limit in less than four minutes of operation
  • exceeded the average carbon dioxide limit of 1.5 per cent
  • exceeded the maximum carbon dioxide limit of 3 per cent.

Due to these failures, the devices were not tested for their claimed safe duration of 30 minutes.

Other issues include:                            

  • The units are very difficult to remove from their vacuum seal in an emergency – often the bag had to be cut with scissors to remove them
  • The rubber plugs that are on either side of the chemical canister often break when you are trying to remove them and so stay stuck in the canister – they break where the string pull attaches to them. This is of particular concern in regard to the plug that is inside the breathing bag as a user would be unaware of the failure and would not be able to breathe through the unit.

SafeWork recommends informing all workers about the potential hazards of the product and instructing them not use it even in an emergency.

It recommends replacing the emergency respirator with an AS/NZS 1716 compliant device as per the list of design registered breathing apparatus provided by the NSW Resources Regulator.

“SafeWork NSW and the NSW Environment Protection Authority consider devices on this list meet the requirements of Table 12.2 of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code).”

For transport related enquiries, contact NSW Environment Protection Authority on 13 15 55.

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