FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Have a question? Let us help answer it for you.
What are the standard requirements for hand protection?
EN420 – General Occupational Protective Standards
To achieve a standard, gloves must meet minimum performance levels for the following:
• Clear manufacturer identification, product and size marking
• Neutral pH of the materials and will not harm the health of the user
• Respect of agreed sizes (see the following size measurement table)
• Dexterity: it is advisable that a glove allows as much dexterity as possible according to
the intended use
• Glove composition – any seams present in the construction of the glove do not result in a
significant decrease in product performance
• Packing, storage, maintenance and cleaning
• Information to the user on instruction for use whatever
• the PPE category: performances, pictograms, uses, use precautions, available size range
• AS/NZS Equivalent:
• AS/NZS 2161.2:2005 Occupational protective gloves -General requirements
What are the most common categories of European Standards?
What are the hand protection standards?
How is hearing protection tested in Australia and New Zealand and what standards apply?
The SOUND LEVEL CONVERSION (SLC80) rating as applied to hearing protection devices (HPD) is a simple number and class rating derived from a test procedure outlined in the Australian/New Zealand Standard, AS/NZS 1270:2002.
It provides a simple number guide to the level of noise attenuation that can be expected from a particular HPD.
Because humans are different, the level of protection achieved for each person could also be different and so a scientific formula is used to allow for differences.
The SLC value includes a correction to ensure that the stated degree of noise reduction is obtained on 80% of occasions. Hence the SLC80 rating. The SLC80 rating is the difference between the sound level of the environment in which the HPD is worn and the sound level reaching the wearer’s ears.
The testing procedure can be separated into 2 different areas:
1) Mechanical Testing: Where the device is subjected to physical forces, stretching, heating and concussion – to simulate real wearing conditions over a period of time.
2) Audiometric Testing: This is a subjective test. A minimum number of human test subjects are selected at random and given a hearing test to establish if they fall into the category of “normal hearing”, as outlined in the standard. The attenuation of the HPD is determined by measuring each subject’s hearing threshold with and without the HPD fitted. The difference between these two thresholds is the so called real ear attenuation of the HPD to a variety of frequencies.
In simplistic terms, from this data the mean real ear attenuation and standard deviation (variation) at each frequency is calculated. The mean minus standard deviation, when subtracted from the band level gives the attenuation.
HPD are also given a class rating, as outlined below, once the SLC80 rating is known, and refers to the level of noise attenuation achieved by each device. The higher the rating, the greater the efficiency of the hearing protection device.
The SLC80 is a rating only, by which in conjunction with the information contained in the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1269.3:2005 Occupational Noise Management – Hearing Protector, the problems of hearing loss due to noise exposure for a given environment are addressed.
A deeper understanding of the SLC80 rating or how to apply these ratings to your workplace can be obtained from the OH&S authority in your State.
How does hearing loss occur?
Permanent loss of hearing is the result of nerve destruction or damage to the hair cells which transfer sound waves within the ear.
Once these important parts of the hearing mechanism are damaged or destroyed, they can never be regenerated, resulting in slight to total hearing loss that is permanent.
What are the common problems of hearing protection?
Studies have shown that one half of the workers wearing hearing protectors receive one half or less of the noise reduction potential of their protectors because these devices are not worn continuously while in noise or because they do not fit properly.
A hearing protector that gives an average of 30 dB of noise reduction if worn continuously during an eight hour work day becomes equivalent to only 9 dB of protection if taken off for one hour in the noise. This is because decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, and there is a ten fold increase in noise energy for each 10 dB increase.
How do I choose my hearing protection?
The choice of hearing protection depends on a number of factors including level of noise, comfort, and the suitability of the hearing protection for both the worker and the environment. Most importantly, the hearing protection should provide the desired noise reduction.
It is best where protection must be used, to provide a choice of a number of different types of hearing protection. Each hearing protection device is given a class rating from 1 to 5 to show the level of noise reduction achieved.
If the noise exposure is intermittent, earmuffs are more desirable, since it may be inconvenient to remove and reinsert earplugs.
When does noise become harmful to your hearing?
Exposure to sounds greater than 85 dB may cause hearing loss. General estimates of some work-related noises are listed in the chart below.
Can I “toughen up” my ears?
No. If you think you have grown used to a loud noise, it probably has damaged your ears, and there is no treatment – no medicine, no surgery, not even a hearing aid – that completely restores your hearing once it is damaged by noise.
How can I protect my hearing at work?
The best method of preventing occupational deafness is to reduce noise at the source by engineering methods. However, in certain workplace conditions, there is very little or nothing one can do to reduce noise at the source. In these workplaces, workers must wear hearing protection to reduce the amount of noise reaching the ears
What should I know about the fit of my hearing protection?
Follow manufacturers’ instructions. With ear plugs, for example, the ear should be pulled outward and upward with the opposite hand to enlarge and straighten the ear canal, and insert the plug with clean hands. Ensure the hearing protector tightly seals within the ear canal or against the side of the head. Hair and clothing should not be in the way.
What is Tinnitus?
Involuntary noises in the ear, such as ringing or hissing, often associated with hearing loss.
What is the “Safe Noise Threshold”?
85 dB (A) – at this level and above appropriate hearing protection MUST be worn.
How do polarised lenses work?
See more and stay safe. Polarised safety sunglasses greatly reduce glare allowing for you to spot workplace hazards easier.
Light travels and vibrates in all directions. Polarised light vibrates in a horizontal direction, parallel to the surface it is refracting off, e.g. water, road, car bonnet. Polarised safety sunglasses utilise the physics of light by setting polarising filters in a vertical direction, meaning only light vibrating vertically can pass through the filter. The reflected polarised light is blocked out, which significantly reduces glare and improves visibility on site which allows you to spot workplace hazards before an incident occurs.
Which eyewear should I use?
The following table gives some guidance in the selection of appropriate protective eyewear; whether a spectacle, goggle or face-shield. In all cases, a proper risk assessment should be carried out by a suitably qualified Occupational Health and Safety professional. Remember:
1. Use only AS/NZS1337 certified eyewear
2. Review the work area for potential hazards and select the appropriate eye and/or face protection in consultation with your Occupational Health and Safety professional
3. Face-shields can be worn over spectacles or goggles
What are the features that differentiate between the various models of Pro Choice Safety Gear safety glasses?
The range caters for a variety of uses. There are clear and smoke lenses for indoor/outdoor work; Anti-fog lenses for use in humid conditions; and styles to suit individual comfort requirements as well as appearance.
What is the difference between safety glasses and safety goggles?
Safety glasses do allow air in and around the eye area and despite providing protection for many workplace scenarios, are not suitable for others. Safety goggles fit tight against the face offering protection against dust and splashes. Choose a model that suits your work environment and application.
What does AS/NZS1337.1:2010 Standard test for?
A number of requirements need to be met before any eye protection can meet this Standard. All eye protection must meet the following criteria:
General Finish: The eye protector must be finished correctly and not cause injury or discomfort during use.
Materials: Materials should not cause skin irritation, abrasion or skin discolouration.
Optical Properties of Lenses: Lenses that offer protection, provide no distortion and are comfortable to wear.
Ventilation: Eye protectors that completely seal the eyes must provide ventilation (Note: some medium and high impact protectors are exempt from this requirement).
Dimensional requirements for face shields and spectacles: The minimum vertical dimension for face shields is 150mm from the lower edge of the browguard to the lower edge of the visor. For spectacles a length of not less than 42mm and a depth of not less than 32mm is required.
Lateral Protection: In addition to ‘impact’ testing, eye protectors claiming impact resistance greater than low impact resistance must also provide lateral protection. This is evaluated by placing the eye protector on a manikin head and being subjected to horizontal impact using a metal rod about 2 metres long and 22mm in diameter.
Impact Resistance: All eye protection shall be capable of withstanding impact from a specified weight ball without cracking, detaching or dislodging, breaking or coming into contact with the eye or the head.
Low Impact: Can withstand impact from an object moving at 12 metres per second (46km/h).
Medium Impact: Can withstand impact from an object moving up to 45 metres per second (162km/h).
High Impact: Can withstand impact from an object moving up to 120 metres per second (432km/h).
Extra High Impact: Can withstand impact from an object moving up to 190 metres per second (632km/h).
Penetration Resistance: Eye protection must withstand penetration of a specified weight projectile without cracking into two or more pieces, being pierced or allowing the projectile to come into contact with the eye or the head.
Flame Propagation: Materials used in the construction of protectors should withstand heat so that the burning rate of the material will be no greater than 100mm per minute.
Low Impact Protection: All eye protection should be capable of withstanding the relevant test for low impact.
Medium Impact Protection: Medium impact protection is required for wide vision goggles, wide vision spectacles, faceshields and eye shields.
High Impact Protection: High impact resistant shields should be worn during impact tasks including metal chipping, hydraulic nailing or any mechanical procedure involving high velocity machinery.
Thermal Stability: Materials used in the construction of protectors shall be stable at elevated temperatures and will show no physical distortion in optical properties or strength.
Protection Against Corrosion: When tested for corrosion, the materials shall have a smooth surface free from corrosion.
Is there a minimum standard for safety glasses in the Pro Choice Safety Gear range?
All Pro Choice Safety Gear models feature medium impact, polycarbonate lenses; 99.9% UV protection and are Certified to AS/NZS1337.1:2010 Standards.
Why is eye protection necessary?
Legislation decrees that approved safety glasses or eye protection must be worn in a wide variety of workplace environments. Statistics show that despite such requirements, in Australia, 51,778 people were hospitalised between 2010 and 2015.1 While in New Zealand, A total of 332,418 adult eye injuries were recorded nationally between 2007 and 2016.
What features should be looked for in quality safety glasses?
Check to see that the spectacles have the Australian and New Zealand Standards logo which indicate that they conform to tests for impact resistance. There are also lens markings indicating suitability for specific applications.
Why wear eye protection?
Industrial related eye injuries are commonly caused by chemical splashes, metal or plastic debris hitting the eye, tools accidentally striking the face, and improper use of equipment.
Given that most Australian and New Zealand industries require protective eyewear to be worn, why not look stylish wearing them?
Pro Choice has an ever changing range of safety specs in the latest materials, designs and colours, which meet the required safety standards.
Our Certified range also includes protective goggles and face shields.
What is the in use life span of a hard hat?
When a hard hat shows signs of wear and tear to either the helmet shell or the harness it should be replaced. It should also be replaced after any impact that would have caused the wearer injury, as the integrity of the structure will have been weakened. Although there is no set service life for hard hats, we recommend replacement after no more than 3 years from the date of first use.
Components of harnesses may deteriorate more rapidly in service, therefore they must be replaced every 2 years from the date of first use.
In use, head protection gear is generally treated with a lack of care, often being thrown or dropped, used as a receptacle or carried on the rear window shelf of a vehicle. None of these actions are conducive to continued performance so Pro Choice Safety Gear recommends users to regularly inspect both the helmet shell and its harness for signs of wear and tear and to store in a cool, dry place when not in use.
What is PushLock?
PushLock is a unique easy adjustment harness system for Pro Choice Safety Gear hard hats which also incorporates the ProLink anchorage system. It removes the frustration and guess work out of properly fitting a hard hat. A comfortable and safe fit is achieved without having to remove the hard hat.
Am I able to use chin straps on Pro Choice Safety Gear Hard Hats that are made by another manufacturer?
This is not recommended.
Chin straps are not tested under AS/NZS 1801 for Type 1 helmets but in order to provide the best quality product, Pro Choice Safety Gear Chin Straps are tested and certified by BSI against European Standard EN397:1995 Industrial Safety Helmet. Under the European Standard requirement, it became necessary for the chin strap to break when a specific load is applied. A Pro Choice Safety Gear chin strap may break in a different manner to another company’s so it is recommended that you should only use a Pro Choice Safety Gear chin strap on a Pro Choice Safety Gear helmet.
Will the addition of chin straps, visors or ear muffs affect the effectiveness of the hard hat?
Pro Choice Safety Gear accessories such as chinstraps, ear muffs and visors have been designed to complement the
Pro Choice Safety Gear hard hats without compromising the effectiveness of the helmet. Official Pro Choice Safety Gear accessories have been tested and certified by Australian and New Zealand Standards to meet their stringent criteria, when worn with Pro Choice Safety Gear Hard Hats.
Can a hard hat be painted?
No. The addition of paint or other chemical compounds such as texter’s or permanent markers, may alter the structural and protective effectiveness of the hard hat. The Pro Choice Safety Gear range comes in a series of colours to suit the varying requirements of workplaces.
Can the effectiveness of a hard hat be affected by modifications such as drilling holes for ventilation or to secure a light?
Yes, the design of the hard hat is to give maximum protection at minimum weight. This is achieved by the ridging and moulding of the helmet shape. Any interference to the design will weaken the structure.
What is the importance of the harness, apart from fitting the hard hat to the head?
The harness works by stretching, which absorbs and distributes the force of the energy at impact, thus minimising the effect of the outside force.
Date stamp? Is that like a “best before” date?
No, we are required by the Australian Standards to mark each helmet with the month and year of manufacture. This should not be used as a basis for determining the life of an industrial safety helmet.
When do I replace the suspension?
• The suspension becomes brittle
• One or more of the mounts break off
• The suspension will no longer hold securely to the head
• The cradling straps break or become worn
When do I need to replace a hard hat?
• Cracks appear in the shell
• The shiny surface appears dull or chalky
• The shell becomes brittle
• Impact with helmet surface has been made
What is the Standard for respirators and how are they tested?
AS/NZS1716:2012 is the Standard that dust masks must comply with in Australia and New Zealand. Each device must be tested to show that it provides effective respiratory protection against certain hazards. The respiratory device should be issued as part of a full respiratory protection program that covers: Hazard Control, Selection of PPE,
Fit Testing, Maintenance and Storage Procedures.
Resistance to Flame Testing
This is where the respirator is assessed for its resistance to heat, for use in hot work environments.
Quantitative Sodium Chloride Test
A panel of people assess the performance of the respirator against sodium chloride (a gas which has much smaller particles than those found in the workplace). The test is for fit and does not indicate the performance of the respirator.
Breathing Simulator Test
This is where the respirator is tested on a breathing machine which simulates natural breathing in one of a number of environmental and test conditions such as carbon monoxide, temperature rises, carbon dioxide accumulation, resistance to breathing, positive pressure and exhaled air humidity.
Exhalation Valve Leakage Test
This is where the respirator is checked for potential leakages with a leakage meter apparatus.
Breathing Resistance Test
Breathing resistance is measured under continuous flow conditions at specified flow rates at a temperature
of 23 +/- 3°C.
Simulated Rough Usage Test
This tests the respirators under conditions for rough usage and handling such as vibration and impact from falls.
Particulate Filters – Test for Filtering Efficiency
Tests for initial filter penetration using sodium chloride.
Simulated Works Test
This test is designed to assess the suitability of self-rescue and supply-air respirators for a variety of work situations.
Cylinder Valve Requirements
Valves are assessed for construction, materials, pressure rating, valve stem thread, valve outlet connection and manufacturer markings.
When should a respirator be replaced?
• The respirator is removed in a contaminated area
• Excessive clogging of the respirator causes breathing difficulty
• The respirator becomes damaged
• The smell of vapours becomes apparent
A mask should fit snugly for the entire shift. If not, the mask should be replaced, and the old one disposed of in an approved rubbish receptacle.
Can a half mask with organic filters be used to protect against inorganic compounds?
No.The levels at which inorganic material can be detected by taste or smell are much higher than the maximum exposure limit, so it would be impossible to detect when exposure is occurring. In these environments an air fed system should be used
Is a disposable mask all that is needed to protect against harmful airborne material?
No.There are six types of airborne hazards – dust, mist, fumes, vapour, gas and oxygen deficiency/enrichment.
Respiratory gear is designed, manufactured, tested and Certified for use against a number of different hazards and should be selected for a specific purpose. Charts are available to choose the appropriate protection. Check the charts and the label/type of each respirator.
P1 rated respirators protect against mechanically generated particles.
P2 rated respirators protect against mechanically and some thermally generated particles.
Respirators fitted with an Active Carbon Filter protect against nuisance-level organic vapours.
P3 rated respirators protect against highly toxic or irritant particles.
What is technically meant by oxygen deficiency?
Oxygen deficiency occurs when the percentage of oxygen in the air falls below 18% by volume. It may be caused by fire or when chemicals replace the oxygen in the air. Places with poor ventilation or in confined spaces such as unventilated workspaces, are likely environments for oxygen deficiency.
How should respirators be stored?
Keep unused disposable respirators in their closed box in a dry, uncontaminated area. Disposable respirators can be stored for up to 3 years in this way. Half mask cartridges and pre-filters can be stored for up to 3 years this way.
Is the use of respiratory equipment required by law?
In certain hazardous conditions or in a workplace where fumes or dust particles are present, OH&S regulations and company policies require that appropriate respiratory gear is worn.
What does SPF mean?
Sun Protection Factor – According to the Cancer Council, two out of three people will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime in Australia and New Zealand.
The best way to protect skin from the sun is by use of clothing and shade, however, when you’re outside for work this isn’t always possible. Any remaining exposed skin should be protected by sun protection factor (SPF) SPF 50+.
The purpose of using sunscreen is to reduce Ultra Violet Rays (UVR) exposure, not to extend the time you can spend outside in the sun.
The SPF rating indicates the level of protection provided by a sunscreen against UVR. Sunscreens sold in Australia must be labelled with an SPF rating of at least 4, up to a maximum of 50+. Sunscreens of less than SPF 15 offer only moderate to low protection.
All of our sunscreen complies with Australian and New Zealand Standards – AS/NZS 2604:2012
How much sunscreen should you use?
According to the Cancer Foundation, the effectiveness of sunscreens is dependent upon many factors including how thickly the sunscreen is applied to the exposed skin. It is internationally accepted that the application should be about two milligrams per square centimetre. This translates to about 35 millilitres (ml), which is approximately six teaspoons, of sunscreen to protect the entire exposed skin of an adult male.
How should you apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen is best applied to clean, dry skin. Sunscreen must be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside to all exposed areas of skin and reapplied every two hours to maintain the stated protection. Reapplication does not give additional protection. Application of sunscreen ineffectively or too sparingly may considerably reduce the level of protection for the wearer. Remember that sunscreens do not block out all of the UVR so a person is not completely protected by sunscreen and may still sunburn.
Is PROBLOC® a chemical absorber or a physical blocker sunscreen?
PROBLOC® is a chemical absorber sunscreen and absorbs UVR in a chemical barrier. The individual chemicals in this form of sunscreen absorb UVR at specific wavelengths. Broad spectrum sunscreens contain several ingredients that each absorb at different wavelengths and so are effective over more of the UVR spectrum.
PROBLOC® sunscreen is water resistant for up to 4 hours, dry touch, PABA free and very easy to apply to the skin. It also contains Vitamin E which nourishes your skin.