Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean has today issued a warning to NSW workplaces about an emergency escape breathing device (EEBD), due to serious safety concerns.
EEBDs provide wearers with a short-term supply of oxygen so they can escape situations where the air has been contaminated by gas, smoke or chemicals.
They are supplied by workplaces as precautionary safety devices, and may also be found in heavy road transport vehicles.
Mr Kean said recent testing of one device – the HFZY30 EEBD model – found it does not provide sufficient breathable air, putting users at risk of asphyxiation from carbon dioxide.
“This device claims to deliver clean air for up to 30 minutes, but recent testing has shown that users would not be able to breathe normally after just four minutes,” he said.
“The unit also exceeded acceptable levels of carbon dioxide, so rather than being a life-saver in an emergency situation, it could very well have an opposite and tragic outcome.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and poses a serious risk to workers’ safety.
“That is exactly why I am issuing an urgent warning to workplaces to remove these devices immediately and ensure your workers do not use them – even in an emergency.
“I have also instructed SafeWork NSW to issue an urgent Safety Alert, and to speak with suppliers of work-safety products to get these dangerous items off their shelves.”
Workplaces should replace HFZY30 EEBD with a device that is compliant with the relevant Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1716 Respiratory protection devices).