Unit of competency details

MSMWHS216 - Operate breathing apparatus (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to MSAPMOHS216A - Operate breathing apparatusSupersedes and is equivalent to MSAPMOHS216A Operate breathing apparatus 01/Jun/2016

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 02/Jun/2016

Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
UEG - Gas Industry Training PackageGas Industry Training Package 1.0 
PMB - Plastics, Rubber and CablemakingPlastics, Rubber and Cablemaking 1.0 
PMA - Chemical, Hydrocarbons and RefiningChemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining 1.0 
NWP - National Water Training PackageNational Water Training Package 3.0 
MSM - Manufacturing Training PackageManufacturing Training Package 2.0-5.0 
CSC - Correctional Services Training PackageCorrectional Services Training Package 2.0 

Qualifications that include this unit

UEG40118 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry OperationsCertificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
UEG30118 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry OperationsCertificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
UEG20118 - Certificate II in Gas Supply Industry OperationsCertificate II in Gas Supply Industry Operations
PMB40116 - Certificate IV in Polymer TechnologyCertificate IV in Polymer Technology
PMB30116 - Certificate III in Polymer ProcessingCertificate III in Polymer Processing
PMB20116 - Certificate II in Polymer ProcessingCertificate II in Polymer Processing
PMA40116 - Certificate IV in Process Plant TechnologyCertificate IV in Process Plant Technology
PMA30116 - Certificate III in Process Plant OperationsCertificate III in Process Plant Operations
PMA20116 - Certificate II in Process Plant OperationsCertificate II in Process Plant Operations
NWP30219 - Certificate III in Water Industry OperationsCertificate III in Water Industry Operations
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 039905 Fire Technology  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 039905 Fire Technology  14/Oct/2016 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MSAPMOHS216A Operate breathing apparatus


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
  • 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.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Competency Field

Work health and safety

Unit Sector

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element


Conduct pre-donning checks and tests on breathing apparatus


Inspect breathing apparatus for immediate use in accordance with procedures


Report/record faulty or damaged equipment in accordance with procedures


Operate breathing apparatus


Identify, monitor and control hazards in accordance with the procedures


Establish and maintain communication with appropriate personnel throughout the activity


Use breathing apparatus for the required activities in accordance with procedures


Monitor remaining working time available and return to a respirable atmosphere as required


Implement entrapment procedures in accordance with procedures


Maintain personal safety at all times


Conclude operations in accordance with procedures


Close down breathing apparatus set


Remove breathing apparatus set


Undertake after-use cleaning and maintenance of breathing apparatus


Make equipment ready for operational use

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential to performance.

Foundation skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.

Range of Conditions

This field allows for different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included.

Regulatory framework  

The latest version of all legislation, regulations, industry codes of practice and Australian/international standards, or the version specified by the local regulatory authority, must be used, and include one or more of the following:

  • legislative requirements, including work health and safety (WHS)
  • industry codes of practice and guidelines
  • environmental regulations and guidelines
  • Australian and other standards
  • licence and certification requirements:
  • AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment or its authorised replacement


All operations must be performed in accordance with relevant procedures.

Procedures are written, verbal, visual, computer-based or in some other form, and include one or more of the following:

  • emergency procedures
  • work instructions
  • standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • safe work method statements (SWMS)
  • temporary instructions
  • any similar instructions provided for the smooth running of the plant

Breathing apparatus 

Breathing apparatus includes one or more of open circuit:

  • self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
  • airline equipment
  • other similar breathing apparatus

It does not cover the use of rebreather (closed circuit) apparatus.


Hazards include one or more of the following:

  • entrapment
  • failure to maintain a face seal
  • exhaustion of air supply
  • heated atmospheres
  • asphyxiating atmosphere (oxygen deficient)
  • (non-skin absorption) toxic or poisonous atmosphere
  • smoke or suspended particles/fibres in atmosphere
  • malfunction of equipment
  • disorientation in smoke, darkness or confinement
  • fire and explosion
  • dust or other atmospheric hazards
  • electricity
  • gas
  • gases and liquids under pressure
  • structural hazards
  • structural collapse
  • equipment failures
  • industrial (machinery, equipment and product)
  • equipment or product mass
  • noise, rotational equipment or vibration
  • limited head spaces or overhangs
  • flammability and explosivity
  • hazardous products and materials
  • unauthorised personnel
  • sharp edges, protrusions or obstructions
  • slippery surfaces, spills or leaks
  • extreme weather
  • other hazards that might arise

Unit Mapping Information

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MSAPMOHS216A Operate breathing apparatus


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=d1287d36-dff4-4e9f-ad2c-9d6270054027


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MSAPMOHS216A Operate breathing apparatus

Performance Evidence

Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy the requirements of the elements and performance criteria and must include the ability to:

  • 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
  • report faults and/or damage to breathing apparatus.

Knowledge Evidence

Evidence must be provided that demonstrates knowledge of:

  • 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
  • communications while wearing breathing apparatus.

Assessment Conditions

  • Competency must be achieved before performing this work unsupervised. Therefore this unit will typically be assessed off the job. Where assessment is undertaken on the job appropriate supervision and safety precautions must be provided.
  • The unit should be assessed holistically and the judgement of competence based on a holistic assessment of the evidence.
  • The collection of performance evidence:
  • should provide evidence of the ability to perform over the range of situations which might be expected to be encountered, including typical disruptions to normal, smooth work conditions
  • must include the use of breathing apparatus, appropriate tools, equipment and safety gear requiring demonstration of preparation, operation, completion and responding to problems
  • may use industry-based simulation particularly where safety, lack of opportunity or significant cost is an issue.
  • Off-the-job assessment must sufficiently reflect realistic operational workplace conditions that cover all aspects of workplace performance, including environment, task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job role environment skills.
  • Assessment in a simulated environment should use evidence collected from one or more of:
  • walk-throughs
  • demonstration of skills
  • industry-based case studies/scenarios
  • ‘what ifs’.
  • Knowledge evidence may be collected concurrently with performance evidence (provided a record is kept) or through an independent process, such as workbooks, written assessments or interviews (provided a record is kept).
  • Assessment processes and techniques must be appropriate to the language, literacy and numeracy requirements of the work being performed and the needs of the candidate.
  • Conditions for assessment must include access to all tools, equipment, materials and documentation required, including relevant workplace procedures, product and manufacturing specifications associated with this unit.
  • The regulatory framework will be reflected in workplace policies and procedures and is not required to be independently assessed.
  • Foundation skills are integral to competent performance of the unit and should not be assessed separately.
  • As a minimum, assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 assessor requirements.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=d1287d36-dff4-4e9f-ad2c-9d6270054027