Standards Australia remains committed to working alongside business, government and the broader community through this challenging time in responding to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is shifting the way industries work, with countless examples of manufacturers moving from product to product to meet domestic shortfalls.
Standards underpin the products and services being manufactured at a rapid pace providing checks and guidelines agreed to by industry and governments for the benefit of the Australian community.
This is not a standard scenario
COVID-19 is having an unprecedented and significant impact on jobs, human health and the everyday lives of Australians.
Standards Australia recognises the role we have had for many years is to support society as technology and environmental conditions change. The gravity of this global pandemic highlights to the highest extent the vital contribution of our nation’s quality benchmarks in support of industry.
What this means, is we will continue to work alongside business, government and the broader community during this time in a way needed by the Australian community now more than ever before.
The speed and scope of our work must adapt to these challenging times, and so far we have proven we can measure up to the task ahead.
Supporting the COVID-19 response effort
COVID-19 is shifting the way industries work, as the realities and challenges of complex global supply chains are brought into focus. Working in the national interest, to the net benefit of Australia, has never been more important.
Countless examples of the flexibility of Australian companies are now being shown. Breweries are producing hand sanitiser; production of sanitisation products and consumable goods, like toilet paper, is being ramped up; and existing producers are looking to diversify what they produce, from gloves to face masks.
Our role in supporting consistency and the ability of businesses to scale into new areas is being called upon like it never has been before. Standards have a key function in supporting quality, promoting safety and assuring Australians of what they are buying, and the services they are accessing, in these trying times and we take this responsibility seriously and with a commitment to continue.
If you are designing, producing or buying equipment directly related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, please do consult standards for quality and safety. It is not just good common-sense, but good business sense.
As an example of the resources available already, some standards relevant to the pressing need for face masks include:
AS/NZS 1716:2012, which provides guidance for performance and testing criteria for the manufacture of respiratory protective devices intended to provide protection against atmospheres containing substances, which may be harmful if breathed and atmospheres that may be deficient in oxygen.
AS/NZS 1715:2009, which provides guidance for respiratory protection, which includes respiratory hazards, the assessment of associated risks and various methods of control including the use of respiratory protective equipment.
There are many more existing standards, relating to gloves, gowns and related areas of demand. These standards are readily available through Standards Australia’s distribution partners. Further information can be found on Standards Australia’s website: www.standards.org.au
Playing our part for the team – supporting Australia’s quality infrastructure at a critical time
Behind each product, each service, and each piece of technology we take for granted are untold layers of quality checks and guidelines agreed to by industry and governments. These hidden checks are standards and their support in testing and certification as well as the guidance in accurate measurements.
For example, where Australian consumers are asking for more masks and more gloves we have been hard at work with relevant Federal Government agencies. The support we have provided is in the relevant standards that continue to apply around personal protective equipment that are available for download and use immediately.
We encourage interested parties in this area, including current and prospective producers, to respond directly to the Request For Information (RFI) issued by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) around PPE in Australia, which is looking to map capacity so Australia can act quickly in relation to supply-chain challenges. The link is available on tenders.gov.au
This nationwide challenge, of COVID-19, needs a nationwide response. We will remain proactive in minimising the barriers in the way of Australian businesses providing products and services needed by Australians in this hour of need.