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First Aid and Fire Operate Breathing Apparatus Training Course

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.

Performance Evidence Required

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 Required

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.

Course Prerequisites

There are no pre requisites for this unit.

Students must be at least 14 years of age at the time of attendance.

Clothing: We suggest that you wear clothing as would expected in the worksite, as the practical nature of the demonstrations and practice may possibly require bending, kneeling and climbing. Steel capped boots and appropriate PPE clothing are recommended.


Learn more about the Australian Government’s competency and assessment requirements for this course at

Course Details

Face to Face:


First Aid and Fire's accredited MSMWHS216 is 5 hours in duration and covers both theory and practical elements of the use of breathing apparatus.

The course is undertaken at your site.


There is a short multiple choice quiz at the end of the training covering the course theory learnt that day. Students will also be assessed on practical skills as a requirement to pass the course.


A Statement of Attainment in MSMWHS216 Operate breathing apparatus will be issued to the successful participant.

Certificate Validity

The MSMWHS216 Operate breathing apparatus certificate is generally valid for 3 Years. 

Industry recommendations do vary and may require that skills are refreshed more often.

First Aid and Fire

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