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Understanding the new certification of Breath Alcohol Testing Devices

Many users of Breath Alcohol Testing Devices have heard a new Australian Standards AS3547 certification has been introduced but are unsure of its impact on them. Users are wondering how the new standard AS3547:2019 differs from the previous standard.

Alcolizer Technology manufactures and sells its own devices, meaning the company does not contract out the manufacture of its products to third parties enabling the company to keep it in-house. Buyers can be confident that the information provided by Alcolizer is clear, honest and accurate and represents the facts. Alcolizer is a trusted brand that will always support customers, allowing them the ability to make informed decisions.

This document is designed to help users clarify their understanding of AS3547:2019 Breath Alcohol Testing Devices and what it means to you and your organisation.

What’s the difference between AS3547:1997 and AS3547:2019?
In general terms, 2019 is similar to the 1997 version in terms of accuracy but includes extra requirements for improved robustness and reliability. This new inclusion provides users with the peace of mind that the product they are purchasing is extremely accurate and reliable.

AS3547:2019 now also includes service and calibration recommendations which were never part of AS3547:1997, however defaults to manufacturer recommendations.

The unit of measure basis has changed from Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC). This means the units of measure have changed from grams/100ml of blood at a partition ration of 2300:1 to grams/210L of breath. This aligns with the units of measure used by law enforcement across Australia.

The accuracy that devices need to achieve is similar to AS3547:1997 in general terms, both standards are approximately ±10%.

Long term drift performance of devices (the ability to maintain accuracy over time) has increased from a minimum of one month to minimum of six months.

There has also been an increase metrological testing requirement with new tests introduced to ensure devices are accurate within a range of flow rates.

Additional physical requirements have been added to test for environmental issues such as shock and vibration, electrical disturbances, temperature, humidity and battery charge.

Type 1 single use devices have been removed and a unique standard specific to these devices is likely in the future.

Customers should review their requirements for breath alcohol testing devices and make an informed decision about whether they need to upgrade their devices to an AS3547:2019 certified model.

The AS3547:2019 Committee
The Alcolizer Engineering Manager represented the Workplace Drug Testing Association (WDTA) and assisted on the committee drafting the new standard along with the following representatives:

  • The following are represented on committee CS-077:
  • Association of Accredited Certified Bodies
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Australian Industry Group
  • Civil Aviation Safety authority
  • Consumer Federation of Australia
  • National Association of Testing Authorities Australia
  • National Measurement Institute
  • New South Wales Police Force
  • Royal College of Pathologists of Australia
  • Transport Certification Australia
  • Victoria Police
  • Western Australia Police
  • Workplace Drug Testing Association (represented by Alcolizer Technology)

What is the purpose of Australian standards?
Australian Standards are published documents setting out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they are intended to. They establish a minimum set of requirements which define quality and safety criteria.

Are Australian Standards Law?
Australian Standards are only legally enforceable when they are incorporated into legislation. It is commonplace for standards to be incorporated into the law. For more information regarding the mandatory nature of certain standards, you should consult your legal representative.

Benefits of Standards
Standards mean better value for all and a level playing field. They ensure the quality and consistency of products and services, giving businesses and consumers greater peace of mind. They also benefit the economy, improve health and safety, protect our natural resources, and improve our quality of life.

Who sets Australian Standards?
Australian Standards are set by Standards Australia, a Standards body recognised by the Commonwealth Government to coordinate standardisation activities. Standards Australia develops Australian Standards by working with the Government, industry and the community.

Are Australian Standards compulsory for manufacturers or importers?
On their own, standards are voluntary. There is no requirement for the importers or manufacturers to comply with standards. However, State and Commonwealth governments often refer to Australian Standards® (AS) or joint Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) in their legislation. When this happens, these standards can become mandatory.

It is not mandatory for breathalysers (personal or workplace) to be certified to Australian Standards AS3547. However, breathalysers with this certification are considered much more reliable than their uncertified counterparts. Only products that have met the stringent standards set in place by Standards Australia for breathalysers can become certified.

Any device used in a workplace, law enforcement situation, or anything related to those situations should comply with this standard because of the usability and reliability of the product. Even when purchasing a personal breathalyser for your own use, it is highly advisable to purchase one that adheres to the Australian Standards. This is so that you are assured of the reliability of the device you are purchasing.

Incorporation of Standards into Codes of Practice are common, especially within workplace health and safety recommendations. Even though the Codes are not necessarily binding, they are usually referred to by inspectors enforcing Workplace Health and Safety standards. If Australian Standards are applied to your business or products, it shows that you have taken measures to ensure your products are of quality, and that they have been thoroughly checked and qualified for commercial usage.

You can trust that all Alcolizer Alcohol testing Instruments have been certified to AS3547 and the certificate can be viewed on the SAI Global register: https://register.saiglobal.com/client/schedule.aspx?setID=SF01&custID=AS122946&appCertNo=SMK02334