If you’re navigating in the same waters regularly it’s easy to become complacent! Too many Master’s simply don’t take it seriously enough which results in incidents resulting in damage to or loss of the vessel and/or minor to critical injuries to loss of life or damage to infrastructure.

Navigating safely is something we all should do every time we or our crew operate our vessels!

Unfortunately, it’s not always the case and that can be for a number of reasons, one of which there is no set procedure for safe operation.

While on commercial vessels, Masters have been trained in the COLREGS.  There are a few that seem to disregard their responsibility in navigating safely.

On recreational vessels, owners or Masters do not go through the same level of training as commercial Masters which has been a common cause of marine incidents over the years.

Fatigue is also a major contributor to marine incidents around navigation. Long working hours, a lack of water intake and limited sleep are contributors to incidents when navigating your vessel.

Here’s an example a crew member was on watch whilst steaming home from around 180NM off the coast. The First Mate came up from his cabin to use the head at around 0230 hours and as he walked through the wheelhouse he looked out the front window.

What he saw scared the hell out of him, there was a large trawler less than 200 metres directly ahead and if he had not came up they would have had a major collision. The crew member on watch was “zoned out” and just staring ahead and failed to register anything.

There’s two issues here, firstly the First Mates boat was steaming at around 8 knots with nobody alert to recognise the danger.

Secondly, what were the crew of the trawler doing? Most likely all asleep and failing to maintain a proper lookout.

This entire situation is a result of not navigating safely and poor watchkeeping all of which can and has led to serious incidents, loss of vessels and critical injuries through to loss of lives!

With the technology available today, navigation is so much easier than it was years ago but… what happens if there’s an electrical failure onboard and you loose all navigational equipment other than your magnetic compass?

It’s a simple task when steaming to note your position at set times, say every two hours in your log book or on a paper so as they can be referenced if you lose your electronic navigational equipment.

During training exercises we found that shutting down the electronic equipment on a vessel then asking the Masters’ in training where we are and how do we get back to shore some were totally dismayed.

Here’s a silly hint: If you’re on the East coast by steaming West you’re going to discover Australia eventually! Remember though that you need to take into account all potential hazards such as islands, reefs, shoals, etc. but you can find these on your paper chart if needed.

Navigation is all about going from one location to another safely. Your SMS should have a Navigating Safely procedure which details what’s required to ensure your voyage is completed safely.

In order to protect you as a vessel owner and/or operator developing a procedure for navigating your vessel safely provides you with a level of protection should your Master decide not to follow the procedure. This applies to both commercial and recreational vessels!

So…let’s look at what’s required in your procedure to provide that level of protection:

  • Ensure all relevant crew are trained and are competent in the use of the vessel’s navigation equipment such as radar, compass, GPS, other devices and all alarms;
  • Inspect, maintain or have serviced all of the vessel’s navigational aids;
  • Update charts, information, etc… relevant to your operations;
  • Plan voyages;
  • Sounding appropriate signals such as going astern;
  • Monitoring of the vessels position by all available means;
  • Following procedures for operating in restricted visibility (you do have one don’t you?);
  • Communicating with other vessels when required;
  • Monitoring the auto pilot for correct course.

These are the basic steps required to ensure your procedure for navigating safely covers the requirements.

You need to include any specific steps that may be relevant to your vessel and its operations to ensure you meet those requirements.

Also, there is a significant difference in navigating safely on a clear sunny day to navigating at night or in restricted visibility. Much greater care needs to be taken when navigating at night or in restricted visibility due to the increased dangers involved.

All too often we see vessels, both commercial and recreational being operated at night or in periods of restricted visibility as though it was a clear sunny day!

If navigating in restricted visibility, at night or in at times when vision is obscured in areas by the sun in areas where potential hazards exist place a lookout on the bow and proceed at reduced speed.

Vessel speed, lack of attention or being distracted are the cause of accidents which have resulted in injuries through to loss of life and/or damage to infrastructure or the environment.

Many if not all of the incidents could have been avoided by practicing safe navigation and remember navigating safely also has a direct linkage to watchkeeping.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our recommendation is to either review your Navigating Safely procedure or if you don’t have one..  get it in place today!

While we all like to think your crew will navigate your vessel safely, unfortunately it’s not always the case.  That’s why having a Navigating Safely procedure in place is critical.


Use the dot point items in this newsletter to get you underway with updating your procedure or developing one if you don’t already have it in place.

If you have any problems developing your Navigating Safely procedure or feel you have special circumstances – don’t hesitate to contact our office for assistance as we’re here to help you!

Stay safe by navigating safely at all times!

Compliance is a topic that most operators and Master’s don’t want to deal with in many cases but…

…it can be a major issue in the event of an incident or even an inspection by AMSA!

Remaining compliant is vital to your operations and more so for your business! All too often when undertaking safety reviews or onboard training we identify non-compliance in most cases.

The non-compliance issues we uncover vary from minor (but still a potential problem) to serious which can cause serious issues in many ways.

Here’s 10 of the more common non-compliance items:

  1. Failure to complete your vessels Log Book on a daily basis;
  2. Lack of required details in your vessels Log Book;
  3. Failure to record new crew inductions;
  4. Failure to update crew details;
  5. Failure to record crew training (drills); or
  6. A failure to undertake regular drills;
  7. Failure to update procedures where changes have been made;
  8. Failure to update your Risk Register when changes in risk levels have been identified;
  9. Failure to complete the Follow-up document after an incident;
  10. Failure to record Revisions and/or Annual Reviews; or
  11. Failure to undertake Annual Reviews.

Log Book: Section 11 Documentation in MO 504 specifies what details are required in your log book. There is also a requirement for the Master to sign off each day.

Crew Inductions: Section 6 in MO 504 states that all new crew members must be inducted prior to going to work. Inductions must be recorded either in your log book or preferably in a specific form that identifies what areas new crew have been inducted in. This should be signed by the new crew member and counter signed by the person providing the induction.

Crew Details: Section 11 Documentation in MO 504 specifies that all crew members details must be documented and kept up to date.

Crew Training (Drills): Section 6 Resources and Personnel in MO 504 specifies the requirements for training which must be followed. Note that apart from “initial” training there is now no specified period for drills to be undertaken. Previously it was monthly but it’s now up to the owner or Master to ensure regular drills are undertaken. Be careful not to let your period between drills draw out otherwise you may end up with a problem in the event of an incident.

Recording Crew Training (Drills): whilst undertaking regular drills recording them is equally important because if you fail to record them legally they didn’t happen! Take note that each person taking part in the drills must sign the form and the Master must counter sign as well.

Procedures: Section 7 Procedures for onboard operations and Section 8 Emergency Preparedness in MO 504 require procedures to be developed and documented. If any changes are made to existing procedures they must be updated accordingly.

Risk Registers: Section 2 Risk Assessment in MO 504 allows you to have a Risk Register rather than completing individual Risk Assessments. No matter if you use a Risk Register or Risk Assessments they must be updated if there is a change in the level of risk involved with a particular task. Where a new task has been added this must also be assessed and recorded appropriately.

Follow-up forms: Section 9 Follow-up on hazardous occurrences and non-conformities in MO 504 states that you are required to document all incidents including each hazardous occurrence and non-conformance. You also need to record each investigation into all incidents and any corrective action taken to prevent it happening again.

Revisions and Annual Reviews: Section 12 Verification, review and evaluation in Section 12 in MO 504 specifies that both revisions and reviews be recorded in an appropriate form. A review of the SMS is required to be undertaken annually. Revisions and reviews to be recorded and include:

  • A reference number;
  • A reference to the part of the document or record changed;
  • The date of the change;
  • The signature or initials of the person making the record of the change.


Our most important recommendation is to ensure all your documentation is completed and up to date at all times. A failure to keep it up to date can cause serious issues and potential financial losses if involved in an incident.


The best tip for you if you’re an owner is to check all documentation has been completed correctly and is up to date. If you’re a Master ensure you keep all relevant documentation up to date at all times.

To ensure your log book is up to date fill it out as things happen or as soon as possible thereafter, not the next day, week or month.

The same goes for incident reports, do then as soon as is reasonably practicable after the event.

We will keep this short….. YES   YES   YES!


This year, 2023, has seen many changes in our industry already, and we are only in February!

With the recent changes to Marine Order 504 and the release of Marine Order 505 last month, an Annual Review of your SMS is not only necessary but 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 to ensure compliance.

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.

Your vessel’s SMS should be based on a risk assessment of your operations. It should describe how safety, maintenance and operation is managed on your vessel.  This should also be reviewed Annually to ensure the risk assessment remains accurate to your vessel and/or operations.

AMSA can and will conduct periodic reviews of your Safety Management System and Operations.  With the changes that we have seen already this year, we certainly envisage this will be on the increase for 2023!

It has never been more important to ensure your SMS meets NSCV and Marine Order 504 and 505.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendation is to get out your SMS today, take a look at it thoroughly!

Also, take a close look at your vessel, business and operations to see where and how you can better adapt to the ongoing business climate and the changes to our industry.

Don’t wait!


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 this year.

Not sure? We are always here to help.  Drop us a line or call to discuss your concerns.

Also, help a mate in the industry! If you know of a fellow mariner and/or business owner, let them also know of the critical nature of Annual Reviews and we are also happy to discuss with them and offer free assessments of their current SMS.

At least 32 species of sea snake have been recorded in Australian water and can be found in northern waters as well as in southern waters of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

ALL sea snakes are venomous, and rhabdomyolysis is a major feature of sea snake envenomation, resulting in muscle pain, tenderness and sometimes spasm.  Myoglobinuria develops after 3-6 hours. The bite itself is not particularly painful, and may go unnoticed, distinguishing it from envenomation by stinging fishes or jellyfish, both of which usually cause immediate and often excruciating pain.

Envenomation may be treated with sea snake antivenom (based on the venom of the  beaked sea snake, Enhydrina schistosa) or tiger snake antivenom. In the case of the latter, 2 ampoules should be given initially.

While using antivenom is the treatment getting the victim to a hospital that has it is the big problem and can be made worse by distance offshore or from appropriate facilities. This often involves a medivac situation either by helicopter or fast vessel.

Dealing with a sea snake bite

All sea snake bites should be treated as a medical emergency!

First the DO NOT’s

  • Do not wash the bite area
  • Do not apply a tourniquet
  • Do not cut the wound
  • Do not try to suck the venom (poison) out

If bitten by a sea snake sit down immediately, restrict all movement and notify another crew member who will then follow the guide below.

Snake bite treatment

  • Immobilise the victim immediately;
  • Have the Master or other crew member call 000 or 112 in remote areas and ask for ambulance;
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage over the bite site itself. It should be tight and you should not be able to easily slide a finger between the bandage and the skin;
  • Use a elasticised roller or compression indicator bandage to immobilise the whole limb. Start just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb and move upwards on the limb as far as the body;
  • Write the time on the bandage over the bite site if possible;
  • Splint the limb including joints on either side of the bite;
  • Keep the person and the limb completely at rest.

Severe allergic reaction

Rarely, some people have a severe allergic reaction to being bitten by a snake. The reaction can happen within minutes and lead to anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis). Anaphylactic shock is very serious and can be fatal.

Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include:

  • difficult or noisy breathing
  • difficulty talking and/or a hoarse voice
  • a swollen tongue
  • persistent dizziness or collapse
  • swelling or tightness in the throat
  • being pale and floppy (young children)
  • wheeze or persistent cough

If you or someone near you has symptoms of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. If you have access to an adrenaline autoinjector (EpiPen™ or Anapen™), use it, continue to follow the steps of an ASCIA allergy action plan, if one is available.

For more information on anaphylaxis and an ASCIA allergy action plans, visit the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) website.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

In some cases, the person bitten by the snake may need cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Venomous bites

Venomous bites are when a snake bites your body and releases venom into the wound. Snake venom contains poisons that are designed to stun, numb or kill other animals.

Symptoms of a venomous bite include:

  • severe pain around the bite — this might take time to develop
  • swelling, bruising or bleeding from the bite
  • bite marks on the skin — these might be obvious puncture wounds or almost invisible small scratches

Once venom starts to spread within the body, you may develop symptoms including:


Our number on recommendation is to have a recognised snake bit kit onboard. These contain Compression Indicator Bandages which ensure you get the right pressure on the limb. Too much pressure and you stop or reduce the blood flow, too little compression allows the venom to move and increases the risk level for the victim. A good snake bite kit will contain cotton gauze swabs, an emergency blanket, gloves, a permanent marker and 2 or 3 compression bandages. If you work in areas where sea snakes inhabit don’t leave port without a good quality snake bit kit!


The best tip we can give you is to ensure at least two people onboard have a “current” first aid and CPR certificate. This ensures that if a person with current first aid is the victim there is another person to provide first aid.

When undertaking recent audits on vessels it became clear that many Masters’ either forgot or didn’t know the full extent of their responsibilities.

While most, and I say most Master’s know how to operate the vessel many have not kept up to date with current requirements such as keeping log books, running drills, recording inductions and training, etc.

In this day and age is critical to ensure your paperwork is up to date at all times. Should an incident occur and its not recorded in the log book or reported (reportable incidents only) then you could be in big trouble.

Section 5 of Marine Order 504 states that the Master has a responsibility for ensuring that operational requirements are being complied with. Operational requirements is not just driving the vessel it includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Complying with the organisations policies
  2. Implementing the vessels Safety Management System (SMS)
  3. Following all of the operational procedures and emergency procedures
  4. Inducting new crew members onto the vessel and the SMS
  5. Undertaking regular ongoing training (drills) to ensure all crew members are competent in dealing with emergency situations
  6. Recording all drills appropriately
  7. Maintaining the vessels Log Book
  8. Ensuring the vessel, machinery and equipment are operated properly and well maintained
  9. Identifying repairs and/or maintenance that needs to be addressed
  10. Ensuring maintenance records are maintained and up to date at all times
  11. Maintaining passenger records (passenger vessels only)
  12. Documenting and reporting marine incidents to AMSA


Vessels Deck Log Book

This is one of areas most neglected by many Masters and it’s the one area that can cause major issues if not completed properly. Section 11 in MO504 specifies that a log book must include details of the following:

  1. any illness or injury of persons onboard;
  2. any marine incident, other incident or accident involving the vessel or its equipment;
  3. any assistance rendered to another vessel;
  4. any unusual occurrence or incident;
  5. all communications and messages sent or received for an emergency;
  6. all passenger counts conducted for the vessel;
  7. any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes.

So many log books we’ve reviewed fall short on so many points.


Reporting Marine Incidents

This is another area that often gets overlooked which can have serious repercussions to both the Master and vessel owner.

There are two (2) forms that should be completed as soon as is reasonably practicable following the incident and these are:

  1. Incident alert (Form 18)

This form alerts AMSA that there has been a marine incident and can be filled in online but must be completed and submitted to reports@amsa.gov.au by the owner or master as soon as reasonably practicable* after becoming aware of the incident.

Go to Form 18 by clicking on this link: amsa-18-incident-alert-form.pdf

  1. Incident Report (Form 19)

This form provides all the details about the incident, vessels involved and any injuries and must be completed by the owner or Master and submitted to reports@amsa.gov.au within 72 hours of the incident. Go to Form 19 by clicking on this link amsa-19-incident-report-form.pdf

If you would like to find out more about marine incident reporting by clicking on the link below.

Marine incident reporting (amsa.gov.au)

Marine pollution must also be reported. Find out more about pollution reporting by clicking on this link General marine pollution reporting (amsa.gov.au)

If you employ crew, including Masters you should have your own specific requirements for your Master or Masters’ but there are legal responsibilities every Master must comply with.

The Master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention.

Note that means when operational and does not mean that the Master can make changes to policies and/or procedures without the approval of the owner. Also be aware that if changes are made they must be recorded in the appropriate manner.


Top recommendation is ensure you or your Masters’ know exactly what their responsibilities are and what’s expected of them. if you’re the Master it’s up to you to ensure you comply will all the current requirements.

If you’re a vessel owner and engage Masters’ then it is your responsibility to ensure all Masters’ know exactly what is expected of them and their requirements to ensure full compliance.


If you engage Masters’ under an agreement or contract of any kind you must ensure they are fully aware of the responsibilities and conditions in their contract. Too many Masters’ will sign a document without reading it first. Best tip is to help them out and go through it in detail with them. this can save a lot of potential problems down the road.

Need a Log Book? Click Here for our range of Log Books that were ‘designed by a mariner for a mariner’ with Free Postage!

Whether you believe it, or not psychological risks exist in every workplace and the maritime industry is no exception.

Before I get into this topic I have to admit that it is one close to my heart as I’ve lost many friends and a few family members to suicide, most of which were in the maritime industry so…

please take it seriously!



In commercial vessel operations there are a number of contributing factors based on what sector you operate in, a few of these you may recognise…

  • extended time away from home
  • adverse (bad) weather
  • poor catch rates for fishing operators
  • increasing closures for commercial operators
  • low prices for fishing operators
  • unhappy and/or complaining passengers
  • increasing restricted zones for charter operators
  • ever increasing governmental requirements
  • marine incidents
  • alcohol/drug abuse
  • issues with working between various states

If you think that these issues only affect owner’s you need to think again! Crew members can suffer from these issues which then has the potential to led to psychological distress.

Here’s a few stats from a National Health Survey conducted for the year 2017 to 2018.

  • Around one in eight (13% or 2.4 million) adults experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • One in five (20.1%) or 4.8 million Australians had a mental and behavioural condition
  • 2 million Australians (13.1%) had an anxiety-related condition
  • One in ten people (10.4%) had depression or feelings of depression

Now if you take into account COVID-19 these numbers increase significantly.

Work is a big part of our lives and continually changes. It is in everyone’s interest to understand, to be proactive and to actively support people (this includes crew members) whatever the original cause or trigger.

While most people can recognise they have a problem, be it anxiety, depression or at worst suicidal tendencies they usually fail to seek help.

It’s up to everyone and in particular owners, managers and Masters to be actively involved in addressing mental health issues in the workplace.

The problem is generally due to a lack of understanding, lack of training and lack of support for workers (including crew members) experiencing mental health issues.

The good news is that it doesn’t need to be hard and doesn’t always require qualifications or massive programs.

By simply having a work environment where people feel safe to talk about psychological health, to raise things and to have conversations is the key.

Talking about these things helps everyone understand they are not alone, and it can reveal solutions.

Leaders in the field report that a psychologically healthy workplace is where an organisation:

  • Establishes trust and respect amongst its members;
  • Values employee and crew members contributions;
  • Communicates regularly with its employees including crew members; and
  • Takes employee and crew member needs into account when creating new initiatives.

We should also add to this list “good work design” as the way our work is designed affects how we feel about our job and can influence whether we feel motivated, engaged, bored or stressed at work.

When we all share the knowledge, have some skills and abilities to detect signs and symptoms around psychological health and offer the appropriate support everyone benefits including the organisation!

Also note that under Work Health and Safety a business owner/operator has the primary duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, workers including crew members and other people are not exposed to psychological health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.


Our primary recommendation is to take the time to understand psychological health, especially if you’re a non-believer as it may save not only someone’s life but also your business. Psychological distress can cause serious workplace accidents which have the potential to cause serious financial and emotional issues for all parties and… they may have been avoided

Take the time to be able to identify the signs of psychological distress and how to initiate a conversation with that person not only for that person but yourself as well!


If you or someone you know is or you think they may be suffering from psychological distress including anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts urge them to contact a health professional.

Beyond Blue call 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline: 13 11 14

If you’re unsure about what to do or just need to talk about your situation don’t hesitate to contact me directly on 0423 313 790 as I have considerable experience in this area and I’m here to help!


What you need to know in relation to Marine Orders 504 and 505 which were released this January 2023 and how they may impact your operations.

We’ve had detailed discussions with AMSA and the bottom line is if you operate a DCV where you have a crew member stand watch, referred to as a deck or navigation watch you will be required to have a second Mater onboard.

That’s right, if you normally appoint a watchkeeper so as you can rest, sleep or do other work you’ll need to have another Master with the appropriate ticket onboard.

For example if you have a 23mtr vessel you’ll need two (2) Masters onboard who hold a current Master <24 m NC ticket.

Here is what’s required

Marine Order 504 Schedule 1 Clause (17) specifies that a deck/navigation watchkeeper must be qualified in accordance with Clause 7.3 of Subsection 7B of the NSCV Part C. The requirement is for the watchkeeper to hold a Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (or higher).

To download Marine Order 504 click on this link : Marine order 504—Certificates of operation and operation requirements—national law (amsa.gov.au)

Download a copy of NSCV C7B by clicking on this link : NSCV C7B – Communications equipment (amsa.gov.au)

Marine Order 505 Schedule 1 Duties and functions for which a certificate of competency is required is where you’ll find what their duties are limited too.

To download Marine Order 505 click on this link : Marine order 505—Certificates of competency—national law (amsa.gov.au)

In Marine Order 505 Schedule 3 Eligibility and sea service requirements identifies what courses are required to attain specific certificates of competency.

Marine Order 505 also specifies that to undertake a Navigational Watch or be a deck watchkeeper the following applies (see below for definitions):

For inshore waters: Coxswain Grade 1 NC.

For offshore operations: Master <24 m NC. This enables the holder to act as a deck watchkeeper on vessels <100 m and <3000 GT <EEZ

Inshore Waters means non-tidal waters

Offshore Operations means vessel operations that are:

  • within 200 nm seaward of the baseline of:
  • the Australian mainland; or
  • the Tasmanian mainland; or
  • a recognised island; and
  • in waters to the outer limits of the EEZ.

Here is the wording direct from AMSA identifying who is not permitted to be in charge of a navigational watch.

A person is not in charge of a navigational watch when working:

  • as a general-purpose hand (this means a deckhand, certified as a GPH or not)
  • as a navigational watch rating
  • under training
  • to assist a master
  • under the direct supervision of the person in charge of the vessel

You can read it yourself by clicking on this link : Qualifying near coastal sea service (amsa.gov.au) and scrolling down to In Charge of  a Navigational Watch.

I’ve had, and still having ongoing discussions with AMSA in relation to this highlighting the:

  1. lack of suitably qualified Masters’ with experience in the required areas of operation;
  2. impracticality of dual Masters’ on DCV’s, especially in vessels up to 40mtrs;
  3. economic/financial impact on operators;
  4. added stress and anxiety this is going to cause owners and operators;
  5. potential for depression and potential suicide; and
  6. applying of “big ship” operational procedures to DCV’s.

Here’s two of the responses I got from AMSA:

  1. “you’ll just have to employee another Master”; and
  2. “in the consultation process many owners agreed to this along with insurance companies”

The bottom line is that for many your SMS may have to be updated along with the Appropriate Crewing Calculator to reflect these changes.

We would be more than happy to hear your response to these changes. Please email your comments to wayne@shorlink.com as he is keen to hear them.


Our primary recommendation is consider your operations and how these impacts on them both operationally and financially. You then have to implement changes in crewing and/or how you operate.



If you need help with any of the new laws, please contact our office as these changes can have a major impact on your business both operationally and financially.

Don’t let this happen to you!

This newsletter is to remind you that just having a safety management system in place may not be the protection you thought it provided.

An incident in 2020 which left an employee with hip and foot fractures resulted in a not-for-profit organisation being fined $30,000.

The organisation was found guilty under sections 19(1) and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing its primary health and safety duty and that failure exposed an individual to a risk of death or serious injury.

At the time, the organisation had a warehouse where paid employees and unpaid volunteers worked.

A paid worker was operating a forklift to move goods between the warehouse building and vehicles in the loading zone. Contrary to the defendant’s work instruction, a volunteer entered the loading zone to take a break.

The worker drove the forklift into the loading zone and didn’t see the other man who was standing near a truck and a stack of pallets. The forklift ran into the volunteer who suffered fractures to his right pelvis and foot that required hospital treatment.

The court heard the organisation failed to adequately ensure workers complied with its policies and procedures for eliminating or minimising the potential for contact between pedestrians and moving plant.

Workers had not been sufficiently trained, and there was no system to enforce, its work instruction prohibiting pedestrians from being in a loading zone at the front of the warehouse.

The organisation’s work instruction prohibited pedestrian workers from entering or remaining in the loading zone.

The organisations failure to ensure compliance with its work instruction was a failure of its health and safety duty. That failure exposed workers to the risk of death or serious injury from contact with moving plant.

In sentencing, the Acting Magistrate noted there was a high onus on duty-holders under the Act for good reason, given the potential for injury and death when duties are not complied with.

Even though the defendant was a non-profit charitable organisation that functions for community benefit, his Honour recognised its non-compliance with work health and safety obligations justified a need to convey a deterrent message.

His Honour noted the organisation had relevant procedures in place, including an induction process, but agreed with the prosecution’s submission that the incident was indicative of erosion in the defendant’s enforcement of those procedures.

His Honour remarked there was an element of complacency that ultimately led to the materialisation of the risk.

The organisation was fined $30,000, plus costs of almost $1600. No conviction was recorded.

This incident, subsequent investigations and legal proceedings and outcomes are another harsh reminder all business’s, including charitable organisations have an obligation to always keep their workers and volunteers safe.

Shorlink Recommendation

Our best recommendation is to always ensure your safety management system is in place and up to date with current requirements at all times, including policies and procedures.

A failure to do so may see you in the same position as the organisation noted in this newsletter!


Best tip, BE COMPLIANT and make sure every facet of your SMS is correct and up-to-date.  Not sure? You only need to contact us!

Over the years, most common work-related injuries and fatality rates have decreased thanks to an increase in workplace health and safety measures. But there is still a lot of work to do to get that number down to zero.

The most common work injuries are slips, trips, and falls, overexertion, and contact with equipment. All of these injuries are mostly preventable by taking the proper precautions and adhering to workplace procedures. In this article, we’ll look at the most common work-related injuries and provide some helpful guidelines on how to prevent them.

If you are currently experiencing any type of workplace injury, do not wait to seek medical attention. Even if it seems small, injuries due to falls, overexertion, burns, etc. can progress over time and cause serious complications later on.

The 7 most common workplace injuries

  1. Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common types of workplace injuries and are the top reason for worker’s compensation claims. This includes workers who:

  • Slipped on an icy, oily, or wet floor
  • Tripped due to unprotected sides or holes, poor lighting, or clutter
  • Fell off ladders, roofs, cabin tops, etc.

These types of injuries can be prevented by being aware of your surroundings and by following the operational procedure for Working at Heights

  1. Overexertion and muscle strains

Overexertion injuries like muscle strains and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) can cause long-term debilitating pain and lead to an overall loss in productivity. This type of occupational injury can be caused by:

  • Improper lifting technique
  • Manually lifting heavy objects
  • Repetitive work with no breaks
  • Jumping to another level
  • A collapsing structure
  • Lifting, pushing, carrying, or throwing
  • Microtasks on a factory line
  • Typing or moving a mouse without good ergonomics

To prevent overexertion and muscle strains you should always be following an operational procedure for Manual Handling. Remember, if it’s too heavy ask someone else to help you or use a lifting device or forklift.

To avoid overexertion and reduce your risk for lasting physical harm, ensure you take frequent breaks and that you are using that time to rest and stretch

Untreated injuries can progress over time, causing you more issues down the road.

  1. Struck by workers, equipment, or falling objects

We’ve all walked into the sharp edge of a counter or turned into a wall, but when you’re working in a high-risk industry, these injuries can be far more serious. These types of injuries can include severe hand injuries, severed limbs or fingers, traumatic head injuries, stress fractures or full bone breaks, blindness, and more.

Workplace injuries of this nature are commonly caused by:

  • Poorly guarded machinery
  • Falling tools, debris, or materials
  • A part of the worker’s body being caught in a winch, wire or gears
  • Dropped loads
  • Pressure between the person and the source of the injury
  • The tipping over of heavy equipment
  • Excessive vibration
  • Bumping into an object or equipment
  • Being pushed into a hard surface of any kind
  • Walking into walls or machinery

Thankfully, many of these accidents can be prevented by staying aware of your surroundings, following established policies and procedures, using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), avoiding loose clothing, and putting away unnecessary hazards.

What happened to the Master: Do you know?

  1. Crashes or collisions

Whether you’re driving a motor vehicle, including forklifts or are working around them, you are at risk of getting hurt in a crash or collision. For example, if you’re working on the ground in a warehouse, you could be hit or run over by a forklift.

Other instances resulting in a crash or collision could include:

  • Falling from a vehicle
  • Forklift roll-over
  • Getting stuck under an overturned vehicle
  • Large-truck drivers drinking and driving
  • Being struck by objects falling from a vehicle
  • Semi, tractor-trailer, and tanker truck crashes

When operating any type of motorised vehicle, ensure you are wearing your seat belt and taking the proper safety measures established by your employer.

Collision V Grounding DO you know the difference?

  1. Exposure to harmful substances or environments

Those who work in loud environments or around hazardous chemicals risk severe injuries to their ears, eyes, skin, and respiratory systems if they are exposed without proper protection.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with any chemical safety data sheets and wear proper ear protection, safety goggles, gloves, and any other required PPE when exposed to harmful substances or loud noises.

6. Fire and explosions

Fires and explosions can burn your body tissue, cause severe damage to your respiratory system, and potentially cause disfigurement. This type of workplace injury is not too common, but it does have the highest casualty rate depending on how close you are to the blast. Injuries for explosions are categorized into four types based on level of impact to your body:

  • Primary blast: injury caused by the blast wave unique to high order explosions
  • Secondary blast: injury due to flying objects or debris displaced by the blast wind
  • Tertiary blast: injury due to displacement through the air or a structure collapse
  • Quaternary blast: all other injuries including crush injuries, burns, radiation, and inhaling toxic substances

To avoid these types of injuries, ensure that you and your co-workers are following Operational procedures, wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and maintaining chemical safety data sheets for all chemicals.

  1. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

As much as we’d like to think that fighting at work doesn’t exist, it does happens! Compounding stress and tension can result in an aggressive confrontation from an employee or customer, leading to harassment, intimidation, and even physical assault. Injury caused by animals can also be a concern for commercial fishers, foresters and individuals working on a farm or in other environments where animals, like dogs, are present.

One of the best ways for a worker to avoid workplace violence is to set a zero-tolerance policy covering all individuals who come in contact with company personnel. When working with animals, you can reduce injury by wearing the proper attire, following guidelines set by your employer, and staying alert at all times.

Common causes of work-related fatalities

The “fatal four” work-related fatalities leading to death include:

  • Being struck by a moving vehicle or object / motor vehicle crashes
  • Slips, trips, and falls from tall heights
  • Electrocutions
  • Getting caught in or between machines, devices, or tools

Although you cannot control when an accident occurs, there are steps you can take to reduce work-related injuries and help keep yourself safe.

If you feel or suspect that the safety of yourself or others are at risk, never hesitate to report it to your company.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend you review your operational procedures in relation to all tasks undertaken on your vessel or in your workplace. Ensure they are clear, conscience and easy to follow.

Secondly it’s vital that you review your emergency procedures relative to your operations to ensure your workers know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Remember, keeping your procedures up to date is a legal requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act and associated Regulations.


While keeping your procedures up to date is great if workers have not been inducted into procedures relevant to their assigned tasks they are all but useless!

Ensure you induct all workers into procedures relevant to their operations and the best tip we can give you is to have a sign off page for all procedures and have each worker sign off them.


Drowning doesn’t mean flailing arms and calling for help.


 Knowing these silent signs of drowning can mean the difference between life and death.


 This newsletter is not only for those at sea but is critical knowledge for anyone around water anywhere!


If two or more people are in the water, which one do you rescue first?

Unfortunately, the fact is that often those watching don’t know what to look for because drowning doesn’t look like drowning.

Do you go first to the person waving their arms and yelling or to the one who is quiet and not waving and yelling?

In most cases you’re going to the person who is NOT waving and yelling!

Read on to discover what you need to look for….


To ward off a tragedy in the making, watch for these 8 signs that someone is in trouble!


  1. They can’t call for help
    They have to be able to breathe before they can speak. When a person is drowning, their mouth sinks below and reappears above the surface of the water. There isn’t time for them to exhale, inhale, and call out.

  1. They can’t wave for help either.
    A drowning person instinctively extends their arms to the sides and presses down to lift their mouth out of the water; a child may extend their arms forward. They can’t use their arms to wave, move toward a rescuer or reach for rescue equipment.
  1. They remain upright in the water with no evidence of kicking. They can struggle for only 20 to 60 seconds before going under.
  1. Their eyes are glassy and unable to focus or closed.
  1. Their face may be hard to see as their hair may be over their forehead or eyes.
  1. Their Head is low in the water with their mouth at water level and their head may be tilted back with mouth open. A child’s head may fall forward.
  1. They are quiet.
    Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you need to get to them and find out why.
  1. They don’t seem in distress.
    Sometimes the most important indicator that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they are drowning. They may just seem to be looking up at the sky, shore or the vessel. Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all, they probably are BUT if they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend you and your crew and/or workers if they work around water, know the 8 quite signs of a person drowning AND have up to date CPR training.

By simply knowing these signs allows you to understand the difference between someone who needs immediate help and another who may be able to survive a little longer when there are 2 or more persons in the water.


When someone is in the water throw anything that floats towards them to help support them until you can rescue them. If there’s a lifebuoy close at hand throw it towards them.

Remember you don’t want this to be the last thing you see of the victim!