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Standards and COVID-19

COVID-19 is shifting the way industries work, with countless examples of manufacturers changing their product offering to meet domestic and international shortfalls. Standards underpin many of the products and services being delivered at a rapid pace, providing the checks and guidelines agreed to by a broad range of stakeholders for the benefit of the Australian community.

Standards Australia remains committed to working alongside businesses, government, emergency services and the broader community through this challenging time in responding to COVID-19.

The below outlines information on standards that may be relevant to the national response to COVID-19.

The information below is intended to provide general summary information only. It may not be comprehensive and does not cater for specific circumstances. Users should obtain and rely on professional or technical advice on the standards and specifications to be used on a case by case basis. Any reference to any third-party organisations does not constitute an endorsement by Standards Australia of those organisations or their products or services.

Medical PPE Standards

Standards relating to key Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical applications and environments are listed below, as an example of the resources available.

Some PPE meets the definition of a medical device. Manufacturers and sponsors of medical devices must meet regulatory obligations including under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth), before medical devices can be legally supplied in or exported from Australia. More information is available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s website:


AS/NZS 1715:2009, Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment
Provides certain guidance for respiratory protection. Includes respiratory hazards, the assessment of associated risks and various methods of control, including the use of respiratory protective equipment.
For respiratory protective equipment with a close fitting facepiece, achieving an adequate face seal is essential to provide protection as designed, i.e. it must be properly fitted to the wearer. The following information should be considered when selecting the most appropriate respirators:

  • Level P2: are generally half facepiece masks. These are commonly supplied as a disposable mask.
  • Level P3: must incorporate a full facepiece to claim P3 and aims to provide a higher level of protection than P2.

AS/NZS 1716:2012, Respiratory protective devices
Specifies requirements, performance and testing criteria to be observed in the manufacture of respiratory protective devices (respirators) intended to provide, according to type, varying degrees of protection against atmospheres containing substances which may be harmful if breathed; also, with certain types, to provide protection against atmospheres which may be deficient in oxygen.
It does not purport to provide information on the selection, use and maintenance of respirators. This is covered in AS/NZS 1715.


Gloves are typically worn in two types of situations: during patient or person contact, such as medical and healthcare examination; and non-patient/person contact, such as handling goods and objects.

Patient or person contact

AS/NZS 4179:2014, Single-use sterile rubber surgical gloves - Specification (ISO 10282:2014, MOD)
Specifies requirements for packaged sterile rubber gloves intended for use in surgical procedures to protect the patient and the user from cross-contamination. It is applicable to single-use gloves that are worn once and then discarded. It does not apply to examination or procedure gloves.

AS/NZS 4011.1:2014, Single-use medical examination gloves, Part 1: Specification for gloves made from rubber latex or rubber solution (ISO 11193-1:2008, MOD)
Specifies requirements for packaged sterile, or bulked non-sterile, rubber gloves intended for use in medical examinations and diagnostic or therapeutic procedures to protect the patient and the user from cross-contamination. It also covers rubber gloves intended for use in handling contaminated medical materials.

AS/NZS 4011.2:2014, Single-use medical examination gloves, Part 2: Specification for gloves made from poly(vinyl chloride) (ISO 11193-2:2006, MOD)
Specifies requirements for packaged sterile, or bulked non-sterile, poly(vinyl chloride) gloves intended for use in medical examinations, and diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, to help protect the patient and the user from cross-contamination.
It also covers poly(vinyl) chloride gloves intended for use in handling contaminated medical materials.

Non patient or person contact

AS/NZS 2161.10.1:2005 (Rec:2016), Occupational protective gloves - Part 10.1: Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms - Terminology and performance requirements
Specifies terminology and performance requirements for penetration and permeation testing of gloves intended for use when handling chemicals and biologically hazardous materials.


AS 3789.2-1991, Textiles for health care facilities and institutions - Theatre linen and pre-packs
Specifies requirements for the following items of theatre linen for healthcare facilities and institutional uses: drapes, fenestrated drapes, theatre gowns, hand towels, leggings (mayo table covers) and wrappers. Requirements for the inspection and repair of used theatre linen and for the assembly of theatre linen pre-packs are also specified.

AS/NZS ISO 6529:2006, Protective clothing - Protection against chemicals - Determination of resistance of protective clothing materials to permeation by liquids and gases
Specifies laboratory test methods that determine the resistance of materials used in protective clothing to permeation by liquid or gaseous chemicals under the conditions of either continuous or intermittent contact.

AS/NZS 4501.1:2008, Occupational protective clothing - Guidelines on the selection, use, care and maintenance of protective clothing
Specifies guidance for the selection, use, care and maintenance of clothing designed to provide protection to the wearer.

AS/NZS 4501.2:2006, Occupational protective clothing - General requirements
Specifies general performance requirements for ergonomics, innocuousness, size designation, ageing, compatibility and marking of protective clothing and the information to be supplied by the manufacturer with protective clothing.


AS/NZS 1337.1:2010, Personal eye protection, Part 1: Eye and face protectors for occupational applications
Specifies minimum requirements for non-prescription eye and face protectors and associated oculars. They are designed to provide protection for the eyes and face of persons against common occupational hazards such as flying particles and fragments, dusts, splashing materials and molten metals, harmful gases, vapours and aerosols.

Information Security & Privacy Standards

Securing facilities, safe-guarding information and respecting privacy in a time of crisis
Privacy, and protecting commercial and personal information through proper security practices remains an important matter. This is only highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic with the shift to working remotely and the challenges around phishing, as well as platform security for file-sharing and teleconferences.
Standards can play a role in providing tools for organisations of all sizes to plan, manage risks and respond when these risks materialise.
The ISO/IEC 27000 suite of standards provide information on developing and implementing a framework for managing the security of their information assets. This includes financial information, intellectual property, and employee details, or information entrusted to them by customers or third parties.
Some of the relevant standards in this area are listed here, as an example of the resources available.

ISO/IEC 27701, Security techniques — Extension to ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002 for privacy information management — Requirements and guidelines
This document specifies requirements and provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving a Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) in the form of an extension to ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002 for privacy management within the context of the organization. It is applicable to a broad range of types and sizes of organizations, including public and private companies, government entities and not-for-profit organizations, which are PII controllers and/or PII processors processing PII within an ISMS.

Further information is available here, at pp. 28-29:

Water and Waste Management Standards

The following standards provide information on maintaining the safety and quality of our water and waste management systems. There are several measures outlined in the below standards that aim to protect the quality and safety of our drinking water and provide information on the management of wastewater and hazardous. Australian standards that may relevant for maintaining the quality of our drinking water include:

AS/NZS 4020:2018, Testing of products for use in contact with drinking water.
This Standard specifies requirements for the suitability of products for use in contact with drinking water, with regard to  their effect on the quality of water.

AS/NZS 3497-1998, Drinking water treatment units - Plumbing requirements
Specifies requirements for the construction, installation and testing of drinking water treatment units and equipment, or appliances, or both, designed for domestic type applications under Australian and New Zealand climatic conditions, but does not preclude their use for commercial or industrial applications.
These appliances are designed to be used for the reduction of specific groups of contaminants from a drinking water supply (public or private), such contaminants being specified by the manufacturer or reseller of the appliances. The Standard establishes minimum requirements for point of use (POU), point of entry (POE) and stand-alone appliances.

AS 3816:2018, Management of clinical and related wastes.
Specifies requirements for clinical and related wastes to be safely managed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
It seeks to provide personnel responsible for the proper handling, storage and disposal of healthcare and biomedical wastes such as hospital environmental services management, nursing unit managers, laboratory managers, practice proprietors and others with practical information about how to manage these wastes from point of generation to final disposal.

AS 1546.3:2017, On-site domestic wastewater treatment units, Part 3: Secondary treatment systems.
Specifies requirements for the design, commissioning, performance and compliance testing of secondary treatment systems and advanced secondary treatment systems designed to treat domestic wastewater.
The design hydraulic treatment capacities that may be tested in accordance with this Standard range from a minimum of 1200L/d to a maximum of 5000L/d. Information on installation, operation and maintenance is also provided.

AS/NZS 1546.1-2008, On-site domestic wastewater treatment units - Septic tanks
Specifies performance requirements and performance criteria for septic tanks, technical means of compliance and provides test specifications that enable septic tanks to be manufactured to comply with the performance requirements and performance criteria.

AS/NZS 2845.1:2010, Water supply-Backflow prevention devices, Part 1: Materials, design and performance requirements.
Specifies requirements for the materials, design, performance and testing of mechanical backflow prevention devices that are used for the protection of water supplies.

AS 2845.2-2010, Water supply - Backflow prevention devices, Part 2: Registered air gaps and registered break tanks
Specifies requirements for registered air gaps including those incorporated in break tanks used as backflow prevention devices for the protection of water supplies.

AS/NZS 3500.2:2018, Plumbing and drainage, Part 2: Sanitary plumbing and drainage
Specifies requirements for the design and installation of sanitary plumbing and drainage from fixtures to a sewer, common effluent system or an on-site wastewater management system. Applies to new installations, additions or repairs to existing installations.

AS 1172.3:2019, Sanitary plumbing products, Part 3: Personal hygiene fixtures and appliances - Bidets and bidettes
Specifies requirements for bidets intended for use with douche spray below the rim of the bowl, and for bidettes that can be fitted with over-the-rim taps.

Risk Management and Business Continuity Standards

The following standards provide information in the field of Risk Management and Business Continuity, providing risk assessment and mitigation strategies, and may assist organisations in responding to business interruption incidents like those that may have been raised during the COVID-19 pandemic:

AS ISO 31000:2018, Risk management – Guidelines
The objective of this Standard is to provide guidelines on managing risk faced by organizations. The application of these guidelines can be customized to any organization and its context. This Standard also provides a common approach to managing risk that is not industry or sector specific. This Standard may be used throughout the life of the organisation and applied to a range of activities, including decision-making at all levels.

AS ISO 22300:2019, Security and resilience – Vocabulary
The objective of this Standard is to define terms used in security and resilience standards.  It supports understanding of the application of concepts and processes in the family of standards of the 22300 series addressing security and resilience.

AS ISO 22301:2017, Societal security - Business continuity management systems – Requirements
This standard specifies requirements to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve a documented management system to protect against, reduce the likelihood of occurrence, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive incidents when they arise.

AS ISO 22313:2017, Societal security - Business continuity management systems - Guidance  
The objective of this standard is to provide information based on international practice for planning, establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and continually improving a documented management system that enables organizations to prepare for, respond to and recover from disruptive incidents when they arise.

SA TS ISO 22317:2017, Societal security - Business continuity management systems - Guidelines for business impact analysis (BIA)
This Technical Specification provides guidelines for an organization to establish, implement, and maintain a formal and documented business impact analysis (BIA) process. This document does not prescribe a uniform process for performing a BIA, but aims to assist an organization to design a BIA process that is appropriate to its needs.