An employer is required to demonstrate compliance to AS/NZS 1715 or any of the legislated Codes of Practice in terms of risk management. It is also an employer responsibility to ensure other means of hazard control have been investigated prior to introducing respiratory protection initiatives.


The AS/NZS 1715:2009 describes respiratory risk assessment along with a Respiratory Protection Programme and the appointment of a Programme Administrator where respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is required to be worn. Some of the risk assessment requirements are:

  • Ensure the workplace is not a confined space. This can only be determined by measurement of the risk atmosphere for safe oxygen levels throughout the working period.  Negative pressure respiratory protection cannot supplement oxygen.
  • Evaluate tasks to determine if RPE will compromise vision, communications or other PPE.
  • The employer must provide training in the cleaning, safe use and limitations of RPE at the commencement of employment.
  • The Programme Administrator must ensure a compliant fit test has been carried out for all users of RPE and maintain suitable records. The AS/NZS 1715:2009 describes both Qualitative and Quantitative fit test methods.


PROTECTION LEVEL (Negative Pressure)*
PARTICLE FILTERSFor levels up to:
P1WhiteMechanically generated particles10 x WESN/AParticulate filters should be changed when unacceptable breathing resistance is experienced or in accordance with a locally specified change schedule.
P2WhiteMechanically/Thermally generated particles10 x WES50 x WES
P3WhiteToxic & Mechanically/Thermally generated particles10 x WES100 x WES
GAS & VAPOUR FILTERSWhichever level is lower of:
A1BrownOrganic gases/vapours with boiling points > 65 degrees C10 x WES or 1000ppm50 x WES or 1000ppmCharcoal filters should be changed when breakthrough/smell/taste is detected or in accordance with a locally specified change shedule.
A2BrownOrganic gases/vapours with boiling points > 65 degrees C10 x WES or 1000ppm100 x WES or 5000ppm
AXBrownOrganic gases/vapours with boiling points < 65 degrees CN/A50 x WES or 5000ppm
B1GreyInorganic gases/vapours10 x WES or 1000ppm50 x WES or 1000ppm
E1YellowAcid Gases10 x WES or 1000ppm50 x WES or 1000ppm
K1GreenAmmonia & Ammonia Derivatives10 x WES or 300ppm300ppmNote: Ammonia has an IDLH value of 300ppm and filtering respirators should not be used above this concentration.

This guide is based on AS/NZ 1715:2009 with specific reference to tables 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5

WES = Workplace Exposure Standard – see Safework Australia website
Additional filter types are available for specific chemicals.
Combination filters have the same limitations as for each component .
*Note: protection levels for PAPR and face/head top combinations may vary.


AS/NZS 1715:2009  Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment.
AS/NZS 1716:2012  Respiratory protective devices.

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