This unit of competency covers the skills and knowledge required to operate and maintain breathing apparatus and equipment in an irrespirable atmosphere, as defined by the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment.

This unit of competency applies to operators who are required to wear breathing apparatus because they are working:
  • in a confined space;
  • with hazardous gases/vapours;
  • in an oxygen deficient atmosphere, and;
  • in other situations requiring the wearing of breathing apparatus.

Operators may also be required to wear breathing apparatus in emergency situations, however, this is not the prime focus of this unit.

This unit of competency applies to an individual working alone or as part of a team or group and working in liaison with other shift team members and the control room operator, as appropriate.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge and skill competence within set and controlled parameters in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes and performance criteria requirements, including the setting of work based practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following required skills: - conduct pre-donning tests on breathing apparatus; - correctly don and operate breathing apparatus; - identify hazards and apply control measures according to procedures; - communicate while using breathing apparatus; - determine the available working time from a breathing apparatus set; - correctly close down, remove and clean breathing apparatus, and; - report faults and/or damage to breathing apparatus.Students will also be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: - the effects of irrespirable atmospheres on the body and the need for protective equipment; - characteristics, component parts, operation of compressed air breathing apparatus; - operational testing, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and safe work practices when wearing breathing apparatus; - use of procedures, personal lines and tallies; - pre-use tests and checks; - breathing apparatus control; - entrapment procedures, and; - communications while wearing breathing apparatus.

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.