Having the right medical stores onboard can and has saved lives. This is why AMSA have documented lists based on your vessels area of operations.

NSCV Section C7A states that sufficient and appropriate medical supplies must be maintained to treat likely individual injuries until professional medical treatment becomes available.

In the NSCV Annex H Requirements for medical supplies Table H1 Medical assistance times specifies the time period in which medical assistance can be obtained and which Scale applies.

Location: First Aid kits

The first aid kit shall be located adjacent to the Masters accommodation or in the wheelhouse. In small partly open vessel, the first aid kit shall be stowed so as to protect it from incoming salt and spray.

Location: Medical Cabinets

All vessels covered by Scale D and E shall be provided with a medical cabinet of suitable size, design and construction for storing medical supplies

In DCV’s they shall be located either:

  • The Masters accommodation; or
  • In a dry and cool space accessible to the Master and a nominated crew member.

Maintenance of first aid kits and medical cabinets

First Aid kits and medical cabinets shall be cleaned and checked every three (3) months. It’s vital to ensure medical supplies with expiry dates are monitored and replaced when passed their expiry date.

We often come across owners, Master and crew members who believe that the expiry dates are not important, and the medicines continue to work when expired. The simple fact is they have expiry dates as the medicine’s components start to break down and fail making them less effective every day following their expiry date!

Flexibility to determine the type and quantity of first aid supplies

If you are operating in Class C, C Restricted, D or E waters, and are required to meet the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part C7A (Safety Equipment), you now have flexibility to determine the type and quantity of first aid supplies that are appropriate for your operation.

To do this you need to apply for an equivalent solution.

Equivalent Solution

The owner/Master of a vessel operating in operational area C, C Restricted, D or E may undertake a risk assessment of their vessel and operation and determine the appropriate type and quantity of first aid supplies that are to be carried onboard the vessel for that operation.

The risk assessment and subsequent determination of the type and quantity of first aid supplies carried onboard must:

  • Consider the required outcomes of the NSCV Part C7A; and
  • As a minimum comply with the WHS Code of Practice; and
  • Where necessary include additional items needed to address identified risks including the following:
  • Distance/access to medical aid;
  • Communication capability to access medical assistance and advice;
  • Type of operation and activities being undertaken (e.g., types and level of hazards likely to be encountered);
  • Length of voyage;
  • Number of persons onboard (e.g., children, elderly, level of experience, gender, etc.);
  • The level of first aid training of the crew, personnel and persons onboard including the first aid procedures and drills carried out onboard the vessel;
  • Prevailing or expected environmental conditions likely to be encountered on the voyage;
  • Incidents and accidents that have occurred in the operation and in the wider industry sector.

To enable regular review and ease of resupply, it is recommended that the risk assessment and resulting list of first aid items that will be carried onboard the vessel are kept with the records or as part of the vessels SMS.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend that you check your medical supplies against the Scale relevant to your operations and that all items with expiry dates are replaced where the expiry date has passed.

Secondly we recommend you keep a copy of the scale relevant to your operations with your medical supplies for easy reference.

For recording medical incidents and supplies, we recommend the use of a Log Book.  Shorlink has produced and updated a Medical Log Book which can be ordered from us with free postage.  Please contact us HERE and we will be in touch. (Website updated shortly)


Tip

If you carry extra medical supplies our best tip is to ensure you have a list of those with your required scale list.

If you need a list of what’s required either go to the AMSA website or email us providing the following information and we’ll send you a printable list along with an additional medicines form.

 

Fatigue is one of those sneaky things that will creep up on you and often without you realising it until something happens. It’s been a major problem over the years in maritime industries but especially in the commercial fishing sector.

Crew members on charter vessels, ferries, water taxis and other passenger/vehicle transport vessels that operate in Australia are usually short voyage operations.

 

In addition, they usually operate between fixed times and often with crew changes scheduled in during their operating timetables. Crews on construction vessels are usually controlled by legislation in relation to their operating times.

 

This makes fatigue relatively easy to manage compared to some other sectors, but it can still be a major issue. Crew members and shore-based workers who fail to get adequate rest between working hours are in risk of suffering from fatigue.

 

Fishing operations such as net fishing or prawn trawling in bay and/or estuary waters are often either day or night operations allowing sufficient rest periods between voyages.

 

Others such as long liners, line fishing vessels and offshore trawlers operate offshore and may undertake round the clock operations. This is where fatigue management is critical to ensure the safety of all persons onboard.

 

In shore-based workplaces workers are subject to fatigue as well based on the hours they work, number of shifts and many other factors that often don’t get taken into account.

Things to consider

Your operations will determine how you manage fatigue. Here are a few pointers on what to consider…

  • Do you operate on scheduled times, around the clock or somewhere in-between
  • Crew/worker rosters (where applicable)
  • When developing rosters time taken for each crew member or worker to travel to and from work
  • Time in-between shifts (hours for rest)
  • How many days in a row (e.g., 3 days on 2 days off)
  • What berthing/bedding facilities are onboard (for extended voyages) or in the workplace (for on-site workers; e.g., FIFO)
  • For vessels operating extended hours how rest periods are managed
  • Who manages fatigue levels onboard or in the workplace

This is a starting point of things to consider before jumping into developing your fatigue management programme!

What to identify when assessing fatigue

To properly assess fatigue, you need to take into account two key elements which are:

  1. Standard working hours which includes
  • Total hours worked per day
  • Days worked per week
  • Total hours worked per week
  • Hours between shifts
  • Night shifts
  • Breaks per shift
  1. Additional hours which takes into account:
  • Overtime
  • Extended hours
  • Times you get called back to work
  • Secondary employment

The combination of the above will identify a crew member or workers risk of fatigue and then allow a process to be put in place, where required to minimise the risk.

Calculating fatigue exposure

The risk of fatigue is calculated by undertaking a risk assessment that is designed to identify all the areas that contribute to fatigue.

In general terms risk of fatigue is broken down as follows:

Low Risk is deemed that a person works less than 50 hours per week

Medium Risk is where a person works between 50 – 70 hours per week

High Risk is where a person works more than 70 hours per week

Developing a fatigue management procedure

This procedure can be quite tricky to ensure it’s on target and I always recommend doing a risk assessment on fatigue for your operations before you start.

When developing a fatigue management procedure here’s the key points to take into account…

  • Identify who monitors fatigue onboard or in the workplace
  • Identify who manages breaks onboard or in the workplace
  • For vessels that have crew changes during operations specify start and finish times; or
  • Workplaces that have worker rotation specify start and finish times
  • For vessels or workers operating extended hours when rest periods are to be taken; and
  • a roster for breaks (times when individual crew members are off duty)

The above points provide the basis for developing your fatigue management procedure but remember it is a tricky one to get right.

Remember that fatigue often goes unnoticed until something happens and that could be anything from a minor injury to loss of life or damage to or loss of a vessel or workplace.

So…please take fatigue seriously because it can be and is a killer!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend that you take fatigue seriously and undertake a detailed risk assessment in relation to fatigue.

You can do a group risk assessment where you take into account all crew members or workers who are operating on the same work hours.

Where there are differences in specific crew members or workers hours you need to do a risk assessment on that person or persons.


Tip

When undertaking risk assessments for fatigue our tip is to ensure you cover all aspects of the group or individual crew member or workers hours including total hours worked per week, breaks and the one that most people don’t take into account travel time to and from work.

To get an honest appraisal of a person’s fatigue potential you need to be honest about all their hours both work and rest periods.

If in doubt or you need assistance with fatigue risk assessments don’t hesitate to contact our office because we’re here to help!

A common mistake we often see when reviewing or auditing SMS manual is the grouping of procedures, in particular emergency procedures.

The most common one we see is the grouping together of collision and grounding which sometimes often includes flooding! Let’s look at them individually.

Collisions

Collisions are when a vessel comes into contact with:

  • Another vessel
  • Navigational aids including beacons, poles and markers
  • A wharf, pontoon or other structure
  • An oyster lease or other aquaculture facility
  • A marine creature such a whale, etc.

A collision can best be described as hitting or colliding with a solid object such as another vessel, navigational aid, infrastructure or a marine creature!

Collisions, in the most part are avoidable by ensuring a proper lookout is maintained at all times when underway and at anchor!

Underway means when not secured to a marina or pole berth, mooring or at anchor. You are underway even if you not secured to any of the items above and do not have your motor running!

Grounding

A grounding can be described as a vessel coming into contact with:

  • the mainland
  • an island
  • coral reef
  • sand or mud bank.

A grounding can be described as running into a land mass, reef or sand or mud bank!

Groundings as with collisions are avoidable when a proper lookout is maintained in conjunction with good navigational practice.

Good navigational practice means either local knowledge or consulting the chart for the area where you are operating.

By consulting the chart, you will be able to identify all areas where potential grounding may occur and avoid the embarrassment of being left high and dry.

So now I hope you can differentiate between a collision and a grounding and realise that there a two separate procedures required.

The other interesting thing is we often see flooding grouped with collision and grounding. While flooding can occur in either of these  incidents it is again a separate procedure and should not be grouped together with other procedures.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We recommend you check your SMS to ensure that collision and grounding (and flooding) are not grouped together in one procedure. If they are you need to separate them and develop individual collision and grounding procedures.


Tip

When developing a grounding procedure, we recommend you take into account the seabed structures in your areas of operations and reference how you re-float your vessel.

Ensure you are familiar with the areas you operate in including local sea life, navigational aids, infrastructure, land masses, reefs and shallow water areas.

Forklifts are powerful vehicles that are ideal for lifting and carrying heavy loads, but they have their own set of hazards to look out for in the workplace.

Some of the most common forklift accidents include

  • overturns
  • falls from a forklift
  • person being struck with a forklift

Below are a few hazards when operating forklifts which includes but are not limited to:

  1. Attachments

Attachments are a source of several forklift hazards since different attachments affect both the lift’s operating clearances and overall capacity. Attachments also add weight to a lift and reduce the capacity of the load. A forklift operator should acquaint themselves with each attachment used including the safety protocols and capacity limits to account for any potential operational changes.

Poor maintenance of the attachments and forklift itself can pose safety risks as well. Worn forks, stretched chains, and other run-down parts can put you at risk of an accident. Do a thorough check of the entire lift prior to starting the job. This ensures that everything is functioning and safe to use.

You should also make sure you’re choosing the right forklift and attachments for your specific job.

  1. Fuelling

Refuelling and recharging poses potential safety hazards due to the fuel’s flammability risk. Diesel and propane are both flammable while battery recharging generates flammable gas. Due to this, you should never smoke near a refuelling or recharging area. Poor ventilation heightens the potential risk of fires and also encourages the build-up of toxic fumes like carbon monoxide.

  1. Maneuvering

Improperly driving a forklift presents its own set of dangers. Drivers can potentially collide with things like pedestrians and other tools if they’re not paying close attention to their surroundings.

Maneuvering a forklift is difficult since you’ll mostly drive in reverse for most jobs due to an obstructed frontal view from the load. Rear-end steering makes the forklift take tight turns in the front but swings wide in the back. Drivers should take this into account when navigating a bustling work zone in a forklift. Narrow or cluttered aisles, high pedestrian traffic, and other outdoor and warehouse safety concerns also make maneuvering tough.

  1. Speed

Another forklift hazard to look out for is the lift’s speed. The weight combined with speed creates momentum that is hard to stop at high speeds. To avoid this, forklift operators should follow all posted speed limits and drive at a cautious speed.

  1. Blind spots

Blind spots are especially dangerous when operating a forklift since unexpected impact causes serious injuries. Full loads obstruct the operator’s view and force them to drive backward at times as mentioned above. Drivers should be comfortable driving a forklift and should also have a spotter when manoeuvring around blind spots.

Poor lighting and weather conditions can also decrease visibility and make it more difficult to navigate blind spots. It’s also essential to learn their route for the project to prepare for potential blind spots, obstacles and other forklift hazards. Employees should direct pedestrians away from any blind spots and block off the entire work area if possible.

  1. Floor conditions

The surrounding work area presents several potential forklift dangers. Debris, puddles, unstable ground and other floor obstructions can cause falls or overturns if not immediately taken into account. You should clear the ground of obstructions and hazards and plan to avoid any unfixable floor hurdles before beginning the job. 

  1. Inclines and ramps

Operating on inclines and ramps pose a risk due to the forklift’s heavy weight. You should drive forward with the load in front when driving up an incline or ramp.

If you’re going down an incline or ramp with a load, you should drive in reverse. Parking brakes and chocks are a must if you need to park on an incline but should be avoided if at all possible. You should never turn on inclines or ramps. 

  1. Loads

Loads are another source of possible forklift hazards depending on what and how much you’re carrying. You should always secure your loads before moving the forklift and double-check that the load is both stable and not exceeding capacity.

Any of these things can result in overturns and other accidents. It’s also important to operate with extra caution when carrying hazardous materials since any spills or drops can endanger the entire work place.

  1. Travelling with elevated load

This happens much too frequently. This is a common mistake we often see committed by the operator. The forklift should not be driven or repositioned when its load is elevated.

When traveling, the forks should be just below the front axle height or at a minimum distance from the floor surface, the height of the forks should clear the ramp and bump of the operating surface even because even with a small bump on the floor can cause the load to fall off.

If the load is too bulky and is blocking the forward view, travel in reverse instead and make sure that the mast is tilted back against the backrest to make the load more stabilized to transport. 

  1. Improperly balanced or unsecured load

This is another cause of forklift tip over. The heavy load being carried can make the forklift go sideways when the load is not properly balanced or unsecured.

Always make sure the load is properly placed on the pallet and that they’re evenly distributed, cross tied if possible, before transport so that it won’t rock or tilt.

If the load is heavy, see first the destination of travel it if is flat or rough so that you can know how the truck be driven on the surface. 

  1. Leaving the forklift with engine running or forks raised!

Leaving a forklift while it is still running and/or with its forks raised should never be done.

A forklift is considered unattended when the operator leaves it, and it is not in his view. Even the operator is just a few meters away from the vehicle but when its view is obstructed, it is still considered unattended.

A forklift should be left or parked in the proper parking area. When parking, the forks should be lowered, the controls should be neutralized, its engine should be shut off and the brakes should be set. Never park the forklift and leave it with the keys still in the ignition.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend that ALL persons operating a forklift hold a current Forklift License. We also recommend that as an employer you ensure all forklift operators are trained in your workplace operations and evaluate their performance at least once every three (3) years.

Unlicensed operators put you and your organisation at risk in the event of an incident or upon a visit from WorkSafe.


Tip

A good tip is to ensure forklift operators are dressed in the appropriate safety equipment, including safety shoes, hard-hats, and a high-visibility jacket. Make sure to tuck away loose clothing to prevent it from getting caught on the forklift.

 

 

Remember that hazards are NOT risks!

They are different things which many people confuse as the same.

Systematic approach to the management of hazards and associated risks.

The aim of the process is to minimise the likelihood of a risk to an acceptable level.

The risk management process includes:

  • Identification of the hazard (see last week’s newsletter)
  • Identification of the associated risk or risks

Assessment of the risk

  • the likelihood
  • the consequence

Control of the risk

Using the hierarchy of control measures in order of preference

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Isolation
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative control (such as SOP’s or training)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Risk Identification

A couple of common risks:

  1. Hazard: Frayed wires on electrical items
    Risk: Operator may receive electrical shocks or be electrocuted
  2. Hazard: Unguarded drums on a winch
    Risk: A persons may have a body part drawn in and crushed

Risk assessment

First step is to evaluate the likelihood of an injury occurring.

The second step is to the probable consequences.

The two key factors for risk assessment are:

  1. The likely severity or impact of any injury/illness resulting from the hazard; and
  2. The probability or likelihood that the injury/illness will actually occur

A simple risk matrix that is commonly used which cross references likelihood and impact, enables risks to be assessed against these two factors and identified as one of the following:

  • a critical risk
  • a high risk
  • a moderate risk
  • a low risk
  • a very low risk

Please note that the risk assessments undertaken by Shorlink are more complex than the matrix above.

We incorporate an “exposure” level as well. This adds another layer in the risk assessment process and makes it more real.

Risk control

Risk that are assessed and identified as Critical or High risks, require urgent action which may include:

  • an instruction to cease work immediately
  • isolation of the hazard until permanent measures can be put in place

Risk Control Hierarchy

Elimination of the hazard is 100% effective but not always achievable

Substitution of the hazard: e.g., replacing solvent based printing inks with water based ones.

Isolation of hazard: e.g., isolating a piece of machinery where only trained workers have access.

Engineering controls: e.g., installation of guards on machinery.

Administrative controls: includes training and education

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): includes safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, etc.

Once you have your risk assessments in place remember to review them every three years or if new risks are identified, changes are made to procedures or new operations are started.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendation is that if you, like many businesses, find there are a lot of improvements that you could make – both big and small, don’t try to do everything at once. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first.

Secondly, be sure to document your plan of action and set realistic dates based on the level of severity.


Tip

A good tip for a plan of action includes a mixture of different things including but not limited to:

  • priority and quick action to hazards identified as high or critical risks
  • a few easy improvements that can be undertaken quickly as a temporary solution until more reliable controls are in place
  • long term solutions to those risk with the worst potential consequences or cause accidents or illness.

Always remember, if you need help with hazard identification or undertaking risk assessment simply contact or office as we are here to help YOU stay safe!

While identifying hazards sounds easy it’s a bit more complicated than that!

Many people consider hazards and risks as the same thing but in fact they are two very different items.

A hazard is a source or a situation with the potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property or the environment or a combination of these.

A risk is the chance something happening that will have a negative effect. The level of risk reflects the likelihood of the unwanted event and the potential consequences of the unwanted event.

A good example is when we were called in to go over a list of hazards on a 30 meter hi-speed cat developed by a crew member. We identified over 20 hazards that were not identified by the crew member who had been working onboard for a number of years.

Three of the hazards identified had the potential to be critical, resulting in serious injury! Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation. Often people don’t see a particular hazard or fail to identify the risks associated with it.

The other factor that too many people miss is that a hazard may have multiple risks associated with it. For example, take a low railing on a vessel which would be identified as a hazard with the potential risk of a person falling overboard.

Falling overboard is a high level risk which has a number of other risks associated with it including but not limited to:

  • Injury due to contact with the vessel or other items
  • Bites or stings from marine creatures
  • Drowning
  • And many other risks

So, as you can see a single hazard can have multiple risks associated with it.

Another example is operating a forklift which is another hi-risk hazard with multiple risks attached to it. Risks include but are not limited to:

  • Improper operation and use
  • Overloading
  • Pedestrians
  • Floor conditions
  • Overhead obstructions
  • Attachments
  • And many other risks

To identify hazards, you need to take a long slow walk around your vessel or facility and identify areas and/or items that potentially present hazards.

You need to take into account items that include but are not limited to:

  • Entry/access points
  • Steps
  • Ladders
  • Machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Fuelling points
  • Shelving
  • Railing heights
  • Head heights
  • Confined spaces
  • Working heights
  • And so many other potential hazards specific to your vessel and/or workplace

The above is a very short list of hazards just to give you an idea of what to look for. Many hazards can have multiple hazards attached and here is an example.

On the vessel we mentioned earlier one hazard identified (which was not identified by the crew member) was a mounting for a navigation light. The mounting was located around 1.75 meters above the deck which is around or below head height for many people.

While that’s bad enough there was a bolt attaching the light protruding through the base by around 10cm. As this was located in a passenger area it presented a high level hazard which could result in a serious head injury!

While the crew member missed the low mounting bracket they also missed the very real potential for serious head injuries due to the protruding bolt!

When you’ve identified those items where a hazard exists you then need to look at each one to identify the risks associated with that hazard.

This article was written to give you a broad outline of identifying hazards and what to look for to make the process of hazard identification clearer.

So, while identifying the hazard is the first step breaking down the associated risks is a major component in risk assessment, and we’ll address that next week.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you haven’t gone through the process of undertaking a hazard identification of your vessel or worksite then we strongly recommend you do so now.

Hazard identification and risk assessments are a major part in identifying potential dangers on your vessel or in your workplace AND are a legal requirements under AMSA and WorkSafe.

As stated our number one recommendation is to undertake a hazard identification now if you haven’t done one as yet.


Tip

If you’ve undertaken a hazard identification more than 12 months ago or tip is to revise it annually. For commercial vessels, the SMS is required to undergo an Annual Review every year.

For businesses with an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) in place (which all businesses are required to have) they are required to be audited annually.

It’s interesting to note that some operators either did not know or failed to take the appropriate actions including updating their Safety Management System (SMS) in relation to AMSA changes.

AMSA announced an amendment to Marine Order 504 in relation to vessels carrying passengers that commenced in May 2020.

The changes!

For Class 1 and Class 2 vessels that are permitted to carry passengers you will be required to have an effective and verifiable means of passenger monitoring to ensure the master is able to find out the number of passengers onboard at any time.

You will be required to undertake a passenger count at the time of embarkation and disembarking for vessels that are:

  • a Class 2 vessel permitted to carry passengers or a Class 1 vessel that is permitted to carry no more than 75 passengers; and
  • is on a voyage of at least 30 minutes and no more than 12 hours scheduled duration and the vessel is not scheduled to stop for embarkation or disembarkation in the first 30 minutes; and
  • is operating in B, C or D waters at any time or E waters outside of daylight hours.

For operators who transport passengers to a water-based activity the passenger count:

  • must include an additional count before the vessel departs from the site; and
  • is not required to be conducted when a vessel is stopped for a water-based activity and a passenger enters or leaves:
  1. the water; or
  2. another vessel used in conjunction with the activity

This means if you’re operating a ferry service or water taxi which has voyages of less than 30 minutes this amendment does not apply.

For most operators who carry passengers on voyages of 30 minutes or more and less than 12 hours you will need to update your Safety Management System (SMS) to incorporate the changes.

The flowchart below will assist in determining what vessel is required to do in relation to passenger monitoring and counts:

Remember: Every passenger counts!

Current regulation is in place to improve passenger safety on domestic commercial vessels. These measures were made in response to fatal and serious non-fatal incidents involving passengers falling overboard.

There are severe penalties that align with the irresponsibility to always ensure the safety of your passengers.

It is equally important that the crew are made aware of their responsibilities, actions, procedures, and consequences.  If in doubt, arrange an immediate training session with your crew and make sure these are ‘real’ sessions, out on the water, with every member of the crew.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you operate a passenger carrying vessel as identified above and you haven’t implemented these procedures or updated your SMS to incorporate them we strongly recommend you take action now.

A failure to implement these procedures and/or update your SMS accordingly may attract a severe penalty and in the event of an incident you can end up facing serious legal actions.

Don’t wait! As we have seen with our clients, AMSA have been and will be extremely active this year with vessel and SMS inspections.  Ensure you stay up-to-date of the requirements. This will demonstrate that you are generating a culture of compliance within your business!

As mentioned above, training is key! We have seen so may times crew and other passengers alike, panic, when someone falls overboard. Training with your crew with alleviate the unnecessary panic reaction and replace with a calm and educated response. This will save lives and provide confidence for your crew and passengers.


Tip

If you’re having trouble working out what’s required or how to incorporate the changes into your SMS then give us a call and we’ll help get you compliant with the changes.

Shorlink offer ‘Onboard’ Safety training courses for both commercial and reactional operators that include ‘real’ person overboard demonstrations, as well as learning and understanding of your vessel, its equipment and emergency response scenarios including fire, person overboard, collision and more! Click Here for more details!

 

While most of us have chemicals either onboard or ashore do we handle and store them correctly?

Failure to handle and store chemicals of any sort can lead to injuries, health problems and damage to the vessel, workplace and the environment.

Every year in Australia over 2,000 workers die as a result of occupational exposure to hazardous substances. Only 30 – 40 of these are due to poisoning, many of the other deaths result from long latency, e.g., cancer.

Vessel and workplace damage can be repaired but environmental damage comes with penalties that can cause major financial disruption and even bankruptcy to owners and operators.

To avoid that you need to ensure you comply with two things, those being:

  1. The Code of Practice for Managing the risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Note this means onboard vessels as well.
  2. The handling and storing details in the products Safety Data Sheet (SDS). You do have SDS’s for all your chemicals onboard or onsite, not just the hazardous ones don’t you?

This newsletter provides a brief outline of your requirements for the handling and storing of chemicals. If you need further information please feel free to contact our office.

Firstly, SDS are required for all chemicals stored onboard or onsite and are required to be stored in a location that is accessible to all people onboard or in the workplace. More on SDS next week.

A Hazardous Chemicals Register which contains a list of all hazardous chemicals onboard or at your workplace. This register is a requirement under WHS Regulations and should be accompanied by the current SDS for each of those chemicals.

The handling of chemicals can cause serious injury and/or illness and death in some cases. Ensuring you comply with the handling instructions and PPE requirements listed in the SDS is critical to your health and safety.

Storage of hazardous chemicals including flammable and combustible liquids must be in an approved storage containers and a space designed and constructed in accordance with AS1940.

Special care must be taken when storing hazardous chemicals due to cross contamination with incompatible materials which can result in explosion, fire, toxic fumes/gases or other potentially harmful situations.

When handling hazardous chemicals or material ensure you follow the handling precautions contained in the products SDS at all times.

The storage of non-hazardous chemicals must be in accordance with the storage instructions contained in the products SDS.

As with all chemicals always refer to and follow the handling instructions contained in the products SDS.

PPE is a major issue as many people either don’t know what PPE to use or simply fail to use it for whatever reason. Business and vessel owners and operators are responsible for ensuring the appropriate PPE is readily available to all workers and crew members.

What are hazardous substances?

Hazardous substances are substances that have the potential to harm people’s health in the medium or long term. They can be solids, liquids or gases, and when used in the workplace, they are often in the form of fumes, dusts, mists and vapours.

Examples of hazardous substances include:

  • acute toxins such as cyanide,
  • substances harmful after repeated or prolonged exposure such as mercury and silica,
  • corrosives such as sulphuric acid and caustic soda,
  • irritants such as ammonia,
  • sensitising agents such as isocyanates and
  • carcinogens (cancer causing substances) such as benzene and vinyl chloride.

 How can exposure affect your health?

Hazardous substances can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin and can cause both immediate and long-term health problems. Health effects depend on the type of hazardous substance and the level of exposure. Some of the potential health effects can include:

  • irritation
  • sensitisation
  • cancer
  • poisoning
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • chest pains
  • skin rashes, such as dermatitis
  • chemical burns
  • birth defects
  • disorders of the lung, kidney or liver
  • nervous system disorders
  • birth defects

Injuries and symptoms are also dependant on a variety of variables including length, quality and frequency of exposure, history and method of exposure, training received, sensitivity to the substance, general health and height and weight.

 


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We recommend that as a vessel or business owner or operator you should assess the health risk associated in working with hazardous substances. To do this we recommend you should know:

  • what the substance is.
  • whether the substance is hazardous or not.
  • how the substance is used (and misused) in the work process.
  • if there is a chance of a person being exposed to the hazardous substances, how much they are exposed to, for how long and how often they are exposed.
  • how to use this knowledge to assess the risk to a person’s health.

Tip

The best tip we can give is to ensure you have SDS for all chemicals stored onboard your vessel or in your workplace and they are current. Having them is one thing but ensure they are easily accessible to all relevant workers, and they know where they are.

There is a twist to this requirement that if you purchase a household use product from a general retailer in domestic use sizes then a SDS is not required. Even though it’s not required it’s still a good idea to have one if you purchase any quantities household use product.

So, what is a Safety Data Sheet. These provide detailed information about chemicals including:

  • the identity of the chemical product and its ingredients;
  • the hazards of the chemical including health, physical and environmental hazards;
  • physical properties of the chemical, like boiling point, flash point and incompatibilities with other products;
  • workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants;
  • safe handling and storage procedures
  • what to do in the event of an emergency or spill;
  • first aid information; and
  • transport information

It’s been amazing that so many people can’t identify the different types of fire extinguishes or the classes of fires they are to be used for.

What’s also been highlighted, and even more frightening is just how many crew members and shore based workers don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher.

It’s no use trying to read the instructions when there’s a fire in front of you as every second you delay allows the fire to increase in intensity and potentially become uncontrollable!

Hopefully from last weeks newsletter you can now identify different fire extinguishers and know what classes of fires they are good for.

So now let’s make sure you know how to use them safely and effectively.

PASS is the simple acronym you need to remember. Let’s break it down.

P means pull the pin

A means aim at the base of the fire

S means squeeze the handle

S means sweep the nozzle side to side

This acronym is the basis of using all types of fire extinguishers but with dry chemical/power extinguishers I include another step in the process.

For dry chemical/powder extinguishers turn them upside down before pulling the pin. Quite often the powder in these extinguishers settles on the bottom and may not work effectively or even at all.

Turning them upside down and even giving them a little shake will ensure they work!

The diagram below demonstrates the PASS method.

Training is the best method for ensuring you, your crew and shore based workers know how to use a portable fire extinguisher properly.

Check out our fire extinguisher training here


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our simple recommendation but one that can save precious time when dealing with a fire is to ensure you test the extinguisher prior to approaching the fire.

You do this by aiming the nozzle to the side and giving the handle a quick squeeze as you approach the fire. Make sure it’s a quick squeeze as you need it to fight the fire.

It’s better to know the extinguisher is going to function when you get to the fire and not let you down!


Tip

The best tip we can give you is to ensure all of your fire extinguishers are in good condition and in service. If they’re out of date get them serviced now! Having a fire extinguisher is great but if it doesn’t work it’s useless and puts you, your crew members and workers in danger

It’s amazing that when we do training onboard vessels that so many of the crew can’t identify the different fire extinguishers. That’s a big problem because not being able to identify different extinguishers and what their purpose can be a major problem.

All fire extinguishers are colour coded with a band that identifies the type and classes of fires they are suitable for. So, in this newsletter we’ll list the most common types of extinguishers used on vessels.

Firstly, let’s look at the different classes of fires.

The Classes of Fire

Class A fires: combustible materials: caused by flammable solids, such as wood, paper, and fabric
Class B fires: flammable liquids: such as petrol, turpentine or paint
Class C fires: flammable gases: like LPG, hydrogen, butane or methane
Class D fires: combustible metals: chemicals such as magnesium, aluminium or potassium
Class E fires: electrical equipment: once the electrical item is removed, the fire changes class
Class F fires: cooking oils: typically, a chip-pan fire

An easy way to determine which fire extinguisher to use is by the different coloured bands on the top of each cylinder. This coloured band tells us what type of fire extinguisher it is therefore allowing us to recognise which fire to use it for.

The 3 most common fire extinguishers used on vessels and our recommendations.

Dry Powder or Dry Chemical

Dry Powder extinguishers are identified by a WHITE band and are good for all classes of fires. These extinguishers are our best recommendation for general use on vessels. We strongly recommend these for use in galleys, accommodation areas, wheelhouses and all other areas. In land based operations they are also the best general use extinguisher. Also ideal for use in offices and factories.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 extinguishers are identified by a BLACK band and have been designed for Class E fires. Designed specifically for electrical equipment such as switchboards, electrical machinery, etc. These extinguishers work by removing the oxygen from the environment therefore there is a risk of asphyxiation especially in confined spaces. We recommend these for wheelhouses and other areas where there are switchboards or other electrical machinery.

Foam

Foam extinguishers are identified by a BLUE band are used for Class A and Class B fires. They are exceptionally good with flammable liquid fires such as gasoline, petroleum greases and oil based paints. It is NOT advised to use a foam extinguisher for Class F fires in other words fires involving fats and oils. We recommend foam extinguishers for engine rooms and other areas where machinery is located.

Wet Chemical

Wet Chemical extinguishers are identified by YELLOW band and are used for Class A and Class F fires. These are not seen so often in vessels, but they are ideal for use in galleys and commercial kitchens where there is a risk of a fire involving cooking oils and fats. Wet Chemical extinguishers must not be used on electrical fires. We recommend these extinguishers in galleys of vessels that carry passengers and have a galley or food preparation areas.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend you ensue all of your crew or relevant workers know how to identify fire extinguishers and the Classes of fires they are designed to deal with.

Secondly we also highly recommend all crew and workers know how to use a fire extinguisher. Sadly, we find that so many people don’t know how to effectively use fire extinguishers and say we’ll read the instruction when needed. By then it’s too late!


Tip

Remember , it’s vital that you can identify different fire extinguisher types and what they are designed to be used for. This applies not only onboard but is critical knowledge for everyday life!

If you would like a chart identifying the different types of fire extinguishers and their applications just email our office and we’ll send you one by email for FREE!