National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

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National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:01 am

With Bryan's encouragement, I am now moving from footgear to headgear. I shall dedicate this thread to three National Standards (British, German and Russian) with specifications for diving masks, attempting once again to determine what they all have in common and what sets each of them apart.
BS_4532_Dec_1969_FP.jpg

1. British Standards Institution (December 1969) BS 4532. Specification for snorkels and face masks. London: British Standards Institution. This British Standard, whose status remains "current", is 11 pages in length and available for purchase from http://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000000132783

BS4532:1969 specifies requirements for snorkels as well as diving masks. Here, however, I shall focus on what the normative document has to say about masks, leaving my exploration of National Standards for snorkels to a separate future thread.

Foreword: According to the this section preceding the specification proper, "a face mask enables the wearer to see underwater and prevents water from being breathed up the nose inadvertently." Masks used both by the "untrained or casual skin diver" and by the "fully equipped free diver" are covered.

Scope: The Standard specifies requirements for "face masks used for recreational purposes."

General: Mask consists of "a piece of transparent material sealed to the face in a watertight manner." Drain valves/compensators are not essential, while combined masks and snorkels are not acceptable.

Materials and design: Prescribes first that the mask skirt should be flexible enough to provide "good sealing efficiency and comfort" but not so flexible as to allow the mask to "collapse during inhalation underwater." Proceeds to prescribe mask dimensions:
Figure_1.jpg

Para3-2-2.jpg

There follows a list of requirements for the toughened glass or plastic "eyescreen", the "retaining rim" and the "circumferential clamp", all providing "watertightness." A split headstrap with a non-slip buckles is prescribed. Any drain valve is to be fitted in the lowest point, permitting removal for cleaning purposes and preventing water from entering.

Fit of face masks: Explains how mask fit is gauged by trying on a mask without using the headstrap then inhaling through the nose to retain the mask in position without other support.

Instructions: The Standard requires a warning label to be affixed to eyescreens and a set of instructions to be enclosed with all masks. I have posted below the BS4532-prescribed "safety notes" enclosed with a Britmarine mask I have in my collection, made by the former underwater gear manufacturer Haffenden-Richborough of Sandwich in Kent in the south-east of England:
Safety_Notes.jpg


Marking: The Standard requires compliant masks to be marked with this British Standard's number and the manufacturer's name.

Appendices: Appendix B describes two mask watertightness tests. The first involves supporting the mask, face downwards, over a sheet of blotting paper, filling the cavity with ink-stained water and examining the outer eyescreen and blotting paper for signs of ink after one hour has elapsed. The second test involves placing the mask, face downwards, in an empty bowl, weighting the mask down, pouring water into the bowl and examining the inside of the mask after one hour for signs of water ingress from the bowl.

So that's the lowdown on BS4532:1969. I'll finish with a scan of the diving masks page from a 1970s Haffenden-Richborough underwater catalogue referring to BS4532 compliance:
Britmarine_Masks.jpg

In case the BS4532-related wording on the page isn't clear, here's a blow-up:
BS_Conformity.jpg

I hope this posting has been of some interest. In my next posting to this thread I shall take a look at the German Standard for diving masks, DIN7878 of November 1980.
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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:38 am

As promised, here is a summary of the German Standard for diving masks, DIN7877:

2. Deutsche Institut für Normung (November 1980) DIN 7877. Tauch-Zubehör: Tauchbrillen. Sicherheitstechnische Anforderungen und Prüfung. Berlin/Cologne: Beuth Verlag. Available for purchase from http://www.beuth.de/en/standard/din-7877/872817

This German Standard, subtitled with the official English translation "Diving accessories for skin divers: diver's masks, requirements and testing", is no longer in force and just 3 pages in length.

Scope and Purpose: The Standard is designed to cover masks intended to aid underwater vision but excludes those with "respiratory apertures" (i.e. combined snorkel-masks and full-face masks). The object is to lay down minimum safety requirements to improve diver safety.

Designations and nomenclature: Masks with one lens are designated as "Form A", those with two as "Form B". As for the nomenclature of the mask parts (see images below), they are numbered 1-7 as follows: 1. Head strap. 2. Lens. 3. Lens retainer. 4. Adjustable buckle. 5. Skirt. 6. Fixing device (frame or clamp). 7. Pressure equalisation device (e.g. compensator).
din7877a.jpg

DIN7877b.jpg


Material: The Standard covers masks made from either rubber or synthetics.

There follows a long section devoted to safety requirements:
Edges: hard edges must be rounded off.
Metal parts: must be made from corrosion-proof materials and pass a 72-hour test of resistance to brine spray.
Minimum fittings: mask must be equipped with a skirt (mask body and seal), lens(es), head strap, adjustment device, pressure equalising device.
Head strap and adjustment device: Stresses need for elasticity and adjustability with a split at the back of the head for security purposes. Must resist tearing and distortion.
Lenses: lenses with visual correction must be replaceable; must be break-proof; no scratches, holes or other blemishes; absolute watertightness; single-lens masks must have a minimum field of vision of 35%, dual-lens masks 23%, of normal vision.
Pressure equalisation device: must also be operable when wearing gloves.

Testing: Edges to be tested by measuring or finger probing; metal parts by reference to different standard; minimum fittings by visual test; head strap and adjustment device by visual and practical test; lens(es) by visual testing and measurement; equaliser by practical test with a 7mm three-fingered glove.

Marking: The Standard required any masks complying with its specifications to be marked permanently and legibly with the name or symbol of the manufacturer, distributor or importer, alongside the number of the Standard. Here is a real-life example of this practice:
din7877A2.jpg

The marking indicates that this mask has a single lens (hence DIN 7877 A) as well as complying with the specification. A complying dual-lens mask would be labelled "DIN 7877 B".

Instructions: The Standard stipulates that instructions be included advising inexpert users how to handle, maintain and store a dive mask. Such instructions should cover use, possible misuse, care, storage, maintenance and how to install correction glasses.
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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:36 pm

Lot of info there David, Can you share with us some unusual or unique masks you have come across that were not following the standards outlined above?
Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:05 am

Bryan wrote:Lot of info there David, Can you share with us some unusual or unique masks you have come across that were not following the standards outlined above?


A very interesting question, Bryan, and I'll stick for the moment to the "usual suspects" when it comes to non-compliant masks: 1. children's masks and 2. combined snorkel-masks.

In the case of children's masks, British manufacturer Haffenden-Richborough claimed in their early 1970s catalogue that every one of their then range of masks conformed to BS 4532 except the following child's model:
C.108.jpg

I can only speculate why this mask was reported as non-compliant, but I expect the absence of a "double headstrap" had a great deal to do with it. Paragraph 3.3.6 of the British Standard requires:
BS_double strap.jpg

As for the German Standard DIN 7877 on masks, it is less prescriptive about the necessity of a double headstrap:
DIN7877_541.jpg

All that is required is for the strap to hold securely against the back of the head, one of the ways of assuring this being a split in the strap. Both the German Standard's drawings, however, show masks with split straps.

In the case of combined snorkel-masks, a note following paragraph 2.2 of BS 4532 explicitly excludes "combined masks and snorkels":
BS-CombM&S.jpg

So the "combined mask and snorkel", model C.110, featured in an earlier Haffenden-Richborough catalogue
C110.jpg

would not have complied with BS 4532 either; in the event, no combined masks and snorkels appeared in the catalogue that referred to BS 4532 compliance.

German Standard DIN 7877 excludes all diving masks that have "respiratory apertures"
DIN7877_1.jpg

so that would also mean that combined snorkel-masks do not conform to the German Standard.

I'll leave matters there for the moment as I have to go out!
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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:51 pm

It probably is a good idea that the government set some standards for something that could be dangerous to the unsuspecting, such as requiring tempered glass for a lens.

But please don't mention to the government that I may still dive using my handcarved wooden googles that I got in the Philippines in the 60's as it might trigger a government recall notice. It just has a piece of slingshot rubber for a strap and I am unable to swirl spittle around with a shake of my head when I wear them and I may be in violation. :shock:

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:24 am

You're right, Crimediver, to point out the folly of central government, or their national agencies, when striving to "save us from ourselves", particularly when any risk involved is hardly life-threatening.

The problem, however, often lies with local authorities charged with upholding such regulations. I remember how, when I was in my teens during the early 1960s, nobody batted an eyelid at the local public swimming pool when I put on my fins, mask and snorkel. Nowadays the same pools in England not only ban diving masks but snorkels and fins as well. Health and safety legislation is invoked by the pool attendants or they justify their ban with a reference to other swimmers' welfare. The upshot is that I swim in the sea instead and the city pool where I used to go on Saturday mornings in my youth is threatened with closure.

Some health and safety regulations here in England have become something of a laughing stock. A notable example is the traditional game of "conkers", which schoolchildren here play in the autumn months. Conkers are the product of the horse-chestnut tree. A hole is bored through the hard, inedible horse chestnut then a piece of string is threaded through the hole and knotted. The object of the game is to break the other person's horse chestnut with yours:
Image
Well, one public official was said to have decreed that children must put on goggles when they play conkers because their eyes would otherwise be at risk.
Image
The story may be an urban legend, but the damage was done, even when the health and safety authorities insisted it was all a hoax.

So one set of regulations stops people from using eyewear, while another appears to require its use. This is what can happen when national bodies insist on "prescribing" and "proscribing" things instead of simply "describing" them in enough detail to give the general public the wherewithal to make up their own minds. The simple objective of German Standard DIN 7876 on swimming fins, which I summarised in aother thread, was to encourage manufacturers to emboss on the sole of their fins the maximum length and width of the foot pockets in millimetres, a much more accurate guide to foot fitting than the rather unhelpful and vague "XL" or "EU 44-46" or "US 10-12" labels that actually grace fin soles. On SCUBA forums, there are too many messages asking "which size should I buy online?", all because manufacturers won't provide the necessary information themselves.

Having argued that the provision of the internal dimensions of fins would assist purchasers, I'm now going to contradict myself by querying why BS 4532 on snorkels and face masks and snorkels insists that the sides of diving masks, marked length "A" in the drawing
Image
"shall not exceed 80 mm." Note the use of "shall", rather than just encouraging the manufacturer to provide the mask dimensions for purchasers seeking to find a mask that will match their facial dimensions!

Here's an example of a vintage mask that I very much doubt would pass the "80 mm" rule, and none the worse for that:
Image
It's one of the earliest examples of a single-lens mask, a hand-glued model made from tyre inner-tube rubber. It probably looks odd to modern eyes with its long wide flanges on both sides of the head ending in straps with a buckle positioned at the back of the head. This would have been the home-made prototype of Cressi's commercial "Sirena" mask, sold for over thirty years:
Image
It came in three sizes, "piccola" (small), "media o normale" (medium or normal) and "grande" (large), priced respectively at 600, 700 and 800 Lire. I found a picture of a young snorkeller (the one on the left!) in 1959 wearing what looks like a "Sirena" in the French edition of the Wikipedia article about dive masks.
Image
Note those enormous side flanges that must exceed 80 mm. All of which made me wonder whether this curious mask design had some mileage nowadays when there are still people complaining that they can't find a mask that fits their face properly and won't leak. Today's low-volume masks look as though they come with hardly any skirt at all to seal against the face. They're not labelled with identifiable sizes either.

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:38 am

Right, onwards to the Russian Standard for dive masks, which dates from the Soviet era like its swim fin counterpart:
Image
3. Standards Publishing House (1977) Межгосударственный Стандарт ГОСТ 20568—75. Маски резиновые для плавания под водой. Moscow: ИПК Издательство стандартов. The full text of the Standard can be found without cost as GIF images at https://standartgost.ru/b/%D0%93%D0%9E%D0%A1%D0%A2_20568-75

This 1975 Soviet, and now Russian, International Standard, subtitled with the official English translation "Rubber masks for submarine swimming. General specifications", remains in force to this day. It is 8 pages in length. Its specifications continue to be applied to rubber diving masks made in Russia and Ukraine.

Specifications: Masks must be manufactured in accordance with their accompanying technical specifications, drawings and images. The shape, weight, size and colour must comply with each product's technical description. The Standard relates to the body and the strap of the mask made in any colour of rubber. The physical and mechanical properties of the rubber used in making the masks must must meet certain requirements for tensile strength, elasticity and hardness. The glass used in manufacture must meet certain quality control requirements as well as having smooth edges with no chips or cracks. The mask must be resistant to sea water and any component parts exposed to sodium chloride solution must be free of corrosion. A maximum figure is set for defect tolerance in the body of the mask and in the strap, namely surface bubbles, cavities, ridges, sharp edges and burrs after trimming.

Acceptance rules: Covers quality assurance procedures, including frequency and randomness of product sampling, for evaluating hardness, elasticity and tensile strength. Batches of masks are accompanied by a certificate of quality indicating the manufacturer's name or trade mark, the product's name, the batch number, the number of items in the batch, the date of manufacture and the results of tests confirming compliance with the standard.

Test methods: Visual checks of masks for defects, which are examined with a magnifying glass and measuring instruments. Rubber samples are taken to determine their physical and mechanical properties. Watertightness is tested by pouring water into the mask and placing it on a sheet of paper for 30 minutes to determine whether the paper has any wet spots after this time has elapsed. Weight changes in rubber samples after exposure to sea water are measured.

Marking, packaging. transportation and storage: Masks are to be embossed or labelled with the manufacturer's trademark, the product name, the date of manufacture (quarter, year) and the name of this Standard, while a technical control stamp is to be applied to the rubber fins with indelible ink to mark the date of manufacture. Each mask is to be wrapped in paper or placed in a cellophane or plastic bag and then placed in plywood or wooden boxes which are then tied together with cord or polypropylene strip. A "Warning: fragile!" notice is to affixed. The masks may be carried in any kind of covered vehicle. There are particular rules (specified in other standards) for the transportation of masks to the Far North and other remote areas. Masks should be kept packed in a closed warehouse where the temperature is between 0 and 25ºC at a minimum distance of 1 m from any heat-emitting devices and should not be exposed to sunlight, oil, gasoline, and other substances that deplete rubber and cause corrosion to the metal parts of masks.

Warranty: The manufacturer shall ensure that fins comply with this standard, including the conditions of transportation and storage. The warranty period for rubber masks shall be one year from the date of sale to the retail network, and in the case of non-market consumption, from the customer taking delivery of the product.

The Standard contains an Appendix:
PACKAGING SCHEMES
Wooden or plywood box packaging
Image
1—case; 2—band; 3—marking label; 4—pallet
Diagram 1

Cardboard box packaging
Image
1—carton; 2—polymer film; 3—marking label; 4—pallet
Diagram 2

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:58 am

Just as I did when discussing the Russian standard for fins, I thought I'd add my comments and some explanatory illustrations in a new message. As for the content, you can see that the specifications are much broader than those found in the German Standard DIN 7877 of November 1980, including as they do criteria for testing the chemical and mechanical properties of the mask materials. I am again particularly amazed, however, at the detail given for the transportation of the masks, not just the packaging of each of them in a cellophane bag but the prescribed methods for boxing, crating and paletting of batches of masks and the special arrangements for transporting them when they are delivered to the Russian Arctic. :)

Here are a few modern classic dive masks of Russian manufacture which are supposed to conform to GOST 20568-75:
Лагуна [Lagoon]
image2404.gif

Нептун [Neptune]
neptun-mask.jpg

Нимфа [Nymph]
06059_Nympha.jpg

Пионер [Pioneer]
0_1bc80_dd5d0bd6_L.jpg


and here's a mask of Ukrainian manufacture compliant with GOST 20568-75:
Акванавт [Aquanaut]
69415803_4_644x461_maska-akvanavt-dlya-podvodnogo-plavanya-hobbi-otdyh-i-sport_rev002.jpg
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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Time to compare the three national Standards for masks. This time there is considerable overlap in the ground they all cover, particularly and understandably with respect to shatterproofing the mask's glass lens. The Standards also concur when it comes to mask watertightness and the quality of the mask materials. There are many differences too, however. The British Standard BS 4532 sets a limit to the weight and the internal dimensions of the mask. It also prioritises consumer education, providing advice for purchasers on the fit, use and maintenance of masks, going so far as to recommend that instructions should be enclosed with the product for "safety and greater enjoyment." The German Standard helpfully defines two mask types according to lens number, namely "Form A" for one-lens masks and "Form B" for two-lens ones. DIN 7877 also recommends enclosure of instructions, providing a list of headings rather than the full text furnished by the British Standard. The possibility of corrective lenses is also broached. The Russian Standard GOST 20568 is again the most attentive to detail of the three, providing copious information about packaging and transportation, including what should be done when delivering to the Russian Arctic. I guess once again the differences between the three Standards go to show that such "normative documents" don't just embody the current state of science and technology but also incorporate aspects of life and culture in the country where they were written. By the way, a new European Standard for masks is in preparation with the English title EN 16805: Diving equipment. Diving mask. Requirements and test methods. It is flagged as "Public comment", meaning that it has reached a stage when it is appropriate to "obtain informed views from a wider audience." See: http://standardsdevelopment.bsigroup.com/Home/Project/201402227

Finally, and I mean "finally" as far as this topic is concerned, there are two French-language files providing functional analyses of masks from an educational perspective:
1. Ministère de l’Education Nationale (1994) Matériels pour activités aquatiques. Matériels pour activités aquatiques. Masque de plongée destinée à un usage collectif. Enfants de 4 à 12 ans. Focuses on mask use by 4- to 12-year-old children. See pages 174-177 of the PDF file freely downloadable from http://www.economie.gouv.fr/files/directions_services/daj/marches_publics/oeap/gem/5718/masq.pdf
2. Girault, R. and Adele, F. (2007) Analyse fonctionnelle masques. Focuses on mask use with no particular target population in mind. Free download of Excel file from http://www.byteboss.com/view.aspx?id=3065104&name=Analyse+Fonctionnelle+Masques
For those who read the language, these files are an interesting illustration of the way French schools teach the subject of product design.

For my next project, I am minded to review the literary history of national and international Standards for snorkels. The thread would follow similar lines to the present one. I hope this would be of interest to Bibliophile Forum visitors :D. All the documents are ready!

In the meantime, please feel free to voice your opinion, or even better, to start a thread of your own here with a review of your favourite item of vintage diving literature.

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:29 am

Are the masks in the photos from your personal collection?
Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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Re: National Standards for Basic Gear: Masks

Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:58 am

Bryan wrote:Are the masks in the photos from your personal collection?


No, they're not, but I do have one Ukrainian mask in my collection, similar in form but different in colour (black with green rim) to the one in the photo.

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A postscript

Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:33 am

My original plan for today's posting was to begin a new thread about the national and international standardisation of snorkels. However, I've been busy this week posting contributions to a website featuring European Standards in the making, or more particularly the EN (European Norms) on diving masks and open-heel fins at
http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/Details/53843
http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/Details/53849
respectively.

The draft mask standard is structured thus:
EN 16805 Diving equipment. Diving mask. Requirements and test methods.
Foreword
1 Scope
2 Terms and definitions
3 Safety requirements
4 Test methods
5 Marking
6 Information supplied by the manufacturer
Bibliography
Annexes
Annex ZA (informative) Relationship between this European Standard and the Essential Requirements of EU Directive 89/686/EEC
Figures
Figure 1 — Test configuration for resistance to slipping
Figure 2 — Test configuration for permanent linear deformation
Tables
Table ZA — Correspondence between this European Standard and EU Directive 89/686/EEC, Annex II

If you want to read anything beyond these headings and, more importantly, to comment on the wording of the accompanying text, you will have to create a free account for yourself. The process is pretty painless and I've already posted a few comments of my own. Which brings me to what I find most satisfying and fulfilling when reading a new text, which is to study the writer's words with a pencil in my hand, ready to underline and to make marginal notes. My first degree involved reading whole shelves of literary works, most of them in French and German, and I learned the value of interacting with what I was reading by annotating profusely. Reading should be a dialogue with the author, not a passive exercise. The "public comment" phase of these two European Standards is an even better opportunity for us to "dialogue with the author", with the prospect of what we have written perhaps shaping what will become the final version of these Standards. So I urge you all to do as I did and make your views known, before February 2015 when the public phase of the operation comes to a close.

Right, lecture over. :D When I read the bibliography at the end of the draft EN 16805, I discovered another mask-related Standard:

American National Standards Institute (1985) ANSI Z87.11. Underwater Safety - Recreational Skin and Scuba Diving - Lenses for Masks.

I haven't been able to track down a copy of this ANSI standard, but from a message on SB I gather it focuses on a 1-inch diameter steel ball being dropped by gravity from 50-inches onto the lens of a dive mask, with no breakage of the lens. I wanted to mention this American standard to show that I was now aware of its existence and significance. You can read more at http://2sb.us/177958

I've now turned my mind to snorkel standards and will be posting a new thread on the subject soon, beginning again with BS 4532 of 1969, whose specifications for masks I have already covered in the present thread. Watch this space!

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