Annual Reviews. How important are they?

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We often get asked “how important are Annual Reviews?”

The simple answer is they are not only important, they are critical!

ALL Safety Management Systems including those developed for Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) under Marine Order 504 and the ones developed for workplaces under Work Health and Safety are required to undergo an Annual Review or Audit.

Failure to complete your Annual Review or Audit leaves you non-compliant and exposed to legal action in the event of an incident or accident.

With AMSA having made changes to MO504 during the last 12 months it’s critical that your manuals are updated to incorporate the changes to ensure you are compliant and protected.

The Annual Review is also more important than ever due to:

  • Increased monitoring activity by AMSA, Fisheries and Water Police;
  • Poor recording of follow-up’s to incidents. Refer to Section 9 in your SMS; and
  • AMSA bringing in Work Health and Safety in the event of a marine incident.

When reviewing your SMS, here at Shorlink we incorporate the following…

  1. Any Legislative changes or updates;
  2. Any improvements that we may have developed since delivering your SMS;
  3. Modifications to any existing procedures where changes may have been made;
  4. Inclusion of any new procedures that may be required;
  5. Incorporating any incidents into Section 9 (if required)
  6. Updating the Annual Review form.

While having a compliant Safety Management System in place is great, ‘keeping it compliant’ is something else!

If you would like us to undertake the review as a matter of priority, would you please contact our office immediately.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendation is to put the past 2 years behind you, look forward to 2022 and get going! While things are getting back to the new normal I further recommend taking a close look at your business or operations to see where and how you can better adapt to the ongoing business climate.

While there’s been a lot of heartache for many there is a lot of opportunities for those who are prepared to adapt so…go forward and prosper!


My top tip is to ensure your safety management systems comply with the relevant standards and are up to date to ensure you’re protected as both AMSA and WorkSafe are going to be very active, especially this year.  If you are unsure, send us an email today with your current SMS, and we can assess for free and advise of any changes required.