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10 important Australian Standards keeping our nation safe and prosperous

October 5, 2022

Standards affect us in thousands of ways.

Nearly everything we touch has a standard connected to it: the beds we sleep in, the food we eat, the cars we drive, the toys our children play with, the homes we live in, and the countless ways we look after the health and safety of those around us.

They touch every industry, from manufacturing and construction to energy and mining; from public safety, communications, and information technology to transport and logistics; and from water and waste services to consumer products, health, and agriculture.

Here is an overview of some of the range of standards that exist in Australia:

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The first ever national standard in Australia was AS A1-1925, Structural Steel and Australian Standard Rolled Steel Sections for Structural Purposes, published almost 100 years ago in 1925.

Did you know? The number of mathematical calculations used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge filled 28 books.


World War II

One of the most important standards was AS B85-1941, Report on British Standard heads for British Association screws, which standardised the type of screw heads to be used by our armed forces during World War II. Screws that had previously been sent to troops had a variety of different head types which made it harder to maintain equipment on the frontline. The implementation of this standard during World War II was critical to the war effort as it made the servicing of tanks, planes, artillery, rifles and virtually every other piece of equipment more consistent and efficient.

Did you know? The first ever combat aircraft designed and manufactured in Australia was the ‘Boomerang’, a fighter designed and manufactured by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation between 1942 and 1945. It was rapidly rolled out to meet the urgent need for fighter planes as Japan entered WWII and pushed into Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.


Electricity

Managing the safe use of electricity is key to our way of life in Australia. That’s why AS/NZS 3000:2018, Electrical Installations, also known as the ‘Wiring Rules’, are one of the bedrock Australian standards. The standard was most recently updated in 2018 and provides the technical rules that help electricians design and construct of electrical installation

Did you know?The nominal voltage for Australian households is 230 volts, but because voltage fluctuates all the time, electricity can be delivered within an allowable range of between 216 and 253 volts.


Sunscreen

The ‘bronzed Aussie’ is a national tradition that has undergone critical revision over the last 50 years, as medical science has developed a greater understanding of the harmful impacts of over-exposure to UV rays. Standards Australia has worked to ensure standards that relate to sun protection products keep pace with scientific advancement. The most recent revision was to AS/NZS 2604, Sunscreen Products – Evaluation and Classification, in 2012, which included a thorough revision by health, government, and industry experts to align with technological updates and international guidance. This standard sets out testing methods and labelling requirements for sunscreen products, including the water resistance and UV filtering requirements, making it an important confidence builder for consumers.

Did you know? An Australian chemist named Milton Blake created the first successful commercial sunscreens for a company called Hamilton, using financial funding from his friends and family. You can still buy this line of sunscreens today.


Environment

Australia has one of the most varied environments on the planet. That’ why the standard, ISO 14001:2015, Environmental Management Systems, most recently revised in 2015, plays an important role in guiding companies as to how they manage their environmental impact.

Did you know?  The Great Barrier Reef is the only living ecosystem that can be seen from space.


Internet

Our world changed forever when a little company called Netscape brought the world wide web into our homes in an easy-to-use graphical format. Unfortunately, like many advancements in technology, unanticipated problems arose.   The online world has provided criminals unprecedented access to private and sensitive information. Developed in 2012, ISO/IEC 27032:2012, Information technology -- Security techniques -- Guidelines for cybersecurity, has become a critical benchmark in the way in which governments, companies and organisations mitigate risks to cybersecurity breaches.

Did you know?  It was the critical work of Australian scientists at the CSIRO that led to the development of wireless networks (Wifi) now in use around the globe. CSIRO’s groundbreaking work in radioastronomy, involving the structure and behaviour of radio waves, led to the discovery of how to effectively move large quantities of data around indoor environments. By 2012 CSIRO had licences with 23 companies which had generated a revenue in excess of $430 million.


Bushfire prevention

One of the hazards that has faced Australia since European settlement has been uncontrolled bushfires, and the cost they have had in terms of life and property. The Australian standard AS 3959:2918, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, was established in 1991 and covers the bushfire safety requirements of building in a bushfire-prone area, as well as providing the methodology for calculating the bushfire vulnerability level of a home.


Did you know?  One of the first recorded bushfires in the colonies of European settlers in Australia was on 'Black Thursday', 6 February 1851, which burnt a quarter of the Victorian colony.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. Since 2017, AU$86 billion in focused AI programs and activities has been announced by 14 of the world’s most advanced economies. That’s why Standards Australia is seeking engagement from all relevant stakeholders by participating in the Standards Australia AI Committee (IT-043), to actively shape the development of the management system Standard for AI as a pathway to certification.

Did you know?  The first notion of machines with human-like intelligence dates to Samuel Butler's 1872 novel Erewhon, although many argue that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was the first fantasy novel that involved AI.


Road safety

The first road safety standards were introduced in 1924 as vehicles permanently took over from the horse as the preferred form of transport. Since then, road vehicles have become complicated pieces of machinery. There is a myriad of Australian and international Standards that support the car manufacturing sector– for example ISO 26262-11:2018, Road vehicles — Functional safety, provides the standard be applied to all electronic safety systems within a motor vehicle – such as airbags.


Did you know? Airbags are triggered and deploy in the first 10 to 20 milliseconds of a crash.


Food

Australians love our seafood. Australia has more than 5,000 native species of finfish, and many more crustaceans and molluscs. Several hundred of these species are important commercially, and Australia also imports seafood from around the world to help satisfy our increasing domestic demand. To improve transparency for Australian consumers and provide a best-practice guide for the whole supply chain - from primary producer (wild harvest or aquaculture), through to retailers and restaurants, including imported seafood - the Australian Fish Names Standard AS 5300 was published in 2007.

The Standard specifies one Standard Fish Name for an individual species or group of species and includes approximately 5,000 Standard Fish Names.

As an Australian Standard, it is independently audited annually to ensure compliance to meet Standard Australia requirements.

Did you know? Australia has the world’s third largest fishing zone (8,148,250 square kilometres). Australia's commercial fishing and aquaculture industry is worth around $3.1 billion per year and employs about 17,000 people. Each year, Commonwealth fisheries generate over $390 million in value alone and produce about 52,000 tonnes of catch. (https://www.agriculture.gov.au/agriculture-land/fisheries/domestic)


Author
Jess Dunne
Communications Manager

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