Issue 48 – April 2013
Kiwi Ideas Limited sells Safe Eyes goggles around the world to reduce eye injuries in forestry, agriculture, building, construction, and in the home. Safe Eyes goggles meet the UK/European and US Standards and owner Phil Hall says that without these Standards, they would not be able to sell into those markets. We talked to Phil Hall, owner of Safe Eyes, about the development of an AS/NZS mesh goggles Standard, the support he received from Standards New Zealand, and how the new Standard will help him to take his products to the Australian and New Zealand industries with confidence.
Standards New Zealand: Why is it important to meet Standards?
Phil Hall: It is important to meet safety Standards to ensure our product is up to the safety Standard required by industry and to ensure that the users of our goggles are safe.
Standards New Zealand: Tell us about the history of the new Standard AS/NZS 1337.2:2012 Personal eye protection – Mesh eye and face protectors for occupational applications.
Phil Hall: We meet the UK/European and USA Standards and we went through the testing processes ourselves in test houses in the UK and USA. However, in Australia, companies were refusing to buy our goggles due to the lack of an AS/NZS Standard, so we had market barriers.
In 2009, I began talking to both Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia about the development of a New Zealand mesh goggle Standard for our goggles. Standards Australia Standards review committee SF 006 looked after this area, but as there were only a small number of parties interested in the Standard, it looked unlikely that a Standard would be developed.
In 2011, we talked to Standards New Zealand's Chief Executive Debbie Chin, who contacted Standards Australia to find out what could be done. Standards New Zealand recommended that I be nominated onto the Standards review committee SF 006. With the help of Standards New Zealand, Grow Wellington, and Economic Development Agencies of New Zealand, I was nominated and accepted onto the committee.
We had a series of meetings in Sydney to work through the mesh Standard development. The committee decided to use the UK Standard structure of EN 1731 and write this into the AS/NZS 1337 Standard as a new section, to enable the testing of mesh eyewear.
In October 2012, the Standard was published, which allows our product to be tested to the new Standard and removes the market barriers.
Standards New Zealand: Tell us about the Standards development process.
Phil Hall: Meetings were held in Sydney with the committee, during which we discussed the development and implementation of the Standard in depth. Luckily, we had the UK Standard to work from, which made things easier.
We had sufficient industry representation on the committee to ensure they could give valuable feedback and industry support for the project and that we could develop a widely accepted, workable, and practical solution. New Zealand representation on the committee included representatives from the following organisations:
- Economic Development Agencies of New Zealand (Phil Hall)
- New Zealand Association of Optometrists
- New Zealand Optical Wholesale Association
- Auckland University
All meetings were followed up with feedback opportunities via the committee website HUB. Any voting was also done via the HUB.
Once the draft Standard was in place, it was put out for public comment for several months. On completion of public comment, the Standard was adopted and published.
Standards New Zealand: Tell me about your future plans for Safe Eyes. How will meeting the new AS 1337.2 Standard help your business?
Phil Hall: We have designed a new goggle frame and we have sent this to the UK for testing. We hope to get this new product to the international market in May. After this, we will start developing a range of mesh safetyeyewear to complement our mesh goggles.
By meeting AS/NZS 1337.2:2012, we will be able to take our products to the Australian and New Zealand industries with confidence and with third party endorsement that our customers and users will be safe.