An example of a fake respirator. Picture: DNRME
An example of a fake respirator. Picture: DNRME

Mining industry combats influx of fake masks

THE mining industry has taken steps to ensure counterfeit masks are not being used in the state’s mining and energy operations, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane says.

It comes after the Queensland Mines Inspectorate issued a safety alert in March warning fake respiratory protection masks had entered the industry.

The alert stated the current demand for masks caused by the coronavirus outbreak had created the issue.

“It has come to our attention that current demand for respiratory protection has resulted in substandard or ‘fake’ respirators entering the industry that, despite being appropriately branded, have not been manufactured in accordance with a relevant standard or equivalent international scheme,” the alert said.

“It can be difficult to distinguish between authentic and fake RPE devices.

“The packaging and the appearance of these ‘fake’ respirators can be very deceptive.”

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CFMEU mining and energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said he understood the masks had been detected at a couple of underground Bowen Basin mines.

A Jetstar staff member is seen wearing a face mask at Sydney Airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Bianca De Marchi
A Jetstar staff member is seen wearing a face mask at Sydney Airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Bianca De Marchi

“They were brought into the system, but I’m not sure whether they were used,” Mr Smyth said.

“People need to be vigilant and be across the fact that whatever safety equipment they’re using, it has to meet the standard.”

Mr Macfarlane said the fake masks had already been addressed by industry.

“Over 100 members and the mines department discussed this issue on our weekly COVID-19 working group call on Thursday,” he said.

“Companies are fully aware of the alert issued from the government and as a matter of urgency have taken steps to ensure the counterfeit masks are not being used in Queensland mining and energy operations.

“Due to the increase demand from medical practitioners and fragile international logistic chains the industry has been working with two Australian manufacturers to increase supply of P2 masks for the resources industry.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. Picture: Jerad Williams
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. Picture: Jerad Williams

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Mr Macfarlane said one of the manufacturers was ready to supply surplus masks in August.

You can read the full safety alert about the fake masks here.


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