Here at Shorlink, we have reopened after our Christmas Break and rearing to face 2022 with a renewed vigour for our industry, especially in safety and training.

Hopefully, your business’ have flourished over a season that was much needed given the past 2 years and what we have all faced. Now is not the time to reflect, it’s time to move forward and to do that, we want to make sure that both yourself, your crew and your business have everything in place to be successful and safe.

This is a long newsletter, however, we feel it is important!

 

Here is a checklist that you should complete to start the year!

 

  1. Risk Assessment!
    Is your Risk Assessment updated, or have you ever done one?

AMSA advises that your operations and just as important, your SMS should be based on a risk assessment of your operations. If you have not completed one or left it a while – Call Shorlink!

  1. Safety Management System (SMS)
    Is your SMS up to date AND provides the legal protection that you need?

We hear so often…. I have a SMS, I’ve done mine online, I’ll just update the dates on my existing one, or worse, I’ll let you know if I need one.

This is AMSA’s directive: All domestic commercial vessels must have a safety management system (SMS). This system will demonstrate and document how your vessel meets the mandatory general safety duties.

An SMS is an important aspect of your vessel as it details all the important policies, practices, and procedures that are to be followed in order to ensure the safe functioning at sea. The SMS needs to be reviewed annually and recorded appropriately of Section 12 of your SMS.

We do a hand over of our SMS’s, we don’t just deliver and leave. We do this with the owners and/or crew to ensure that every person handling the SMS knows it, understands it, and follows it. A great question to ask your crew….. what happens if the Skipper has a heart attack, what do you do? If the question is answered different ways or worse still, they are unsure, please contact us to do a handover with them.

You need one!
It’s needs to be updated, especially if you have made any changes to your vessel!
Please ensure your SMS covers you legally if the worse was to happen.

If you’re reading this, questioning whether your SMS is OK, it’s not. You should have 100% confidence in it, as much as your vessel being safe, so give us a call to discuss for peace of mind.

  1. Training!
    Do I/We really need it? Yes!

We believe that AMSA will be ramping up their inspections in the near future to ensure every vessel and person at sea is following the SMS and handling their vessel safely.

Here at Shorlink, we’ve seen an increase in demand for our training services. Last year, we added to our staff, with Lindsay Hutton. Lindsay has over 20 years hands on experience in the marine industry and his knowledge and training style is incredible and invaluable to his participants. Having both Wayne and Lindsay at the helm of our training division, we believe we offer the very best of the best training to our clients.

Training gives peace of mind to the owners and/or skippers that they have provided the necessary training to ensure their vessel and in turn their business is operating as it should in every facet.

Our training services include:

 Onboard Safety Training – onboard your vessel

 Practical Vessel Handling – onboard your vessel

 Practical Flares & Fire Extinguisher Training – our participants let off actual flares

We also offer individual training courses according to our client’s needs.

Training makes the difference between a successful outcome and a disaster!

Our aim and focus are to not only to ensure your crew are able to handle emergencies but handle them efficiently and effectively. Click Here for more information on our training services.

  1. Log Books!
    Are they completed correctly? Do you have one for all your needs?

If you’ve spoken to Wayne, our Principal Consultant at any length, then you understand the importance of Log Books.

On an AMSA Inspection Report, they have a very large section with covers ‘Documentation.’  AMSA take this extremely seriously and if you don’t have a log book when it is required OR IT IS COMPLETED INCORRECTLY OR NOT AT ALL, then AMSA can and will cease your operations immediately.

All log books should be treated with as much importance as fuel. These books are an integral part of the vessel and its operations.

After seeing log books that were not designed correctly, over complicated, hard to follow/use or a combination of all, Shorlink have designed and released Log Books both our company and clients are successfully using for years! In fact, we’ve been told they are the best in the industry, and we agree!

These log books have been developed for easy, simply use that meets the requirements for your vessel.

In Australia, both owners and AMSA require specific information to be recorded in your vessels log book plus there are other vital details, especially if your involved in a marine incident.

Our log books provide ALL the details that MUST be recorded and other information to ensure you are covered! We even include a sample page so as you have a full understanding of how to fill out your log books correctly!

We also develop Log Books to suit owner’s specific requirements.

Check out our full range of Log Books, by Clicking Here with free postage!

  1. Maintenance!
    Is your vessel/s to code and have you noted the changes in your SMS.

We’ve seen many owners and/or business’ using the down time over the last two years to upgrade and update their vessels. This is great use of time. It’s never too late.

Maintenance is key to ensuring there are no ongoing issues in the future, especially during a busy season when no-one wants to be on the slip, instead of on the water, making money.

Now, if you have completed any maintenance, ensure to update your Log Books accordingly.

If you have made any changes to your vessel, including but not limited to new engine, gearbox etc, please contact Shorlink as your SMS will need updating immediately.

  1. Medical Stores!
    Check and stock!

We recommend that Medical Stores should be checked before any vessel departs. However, here is a reminder to check to ensure your medical supplies are all fully stocked and overstocked in some cases for products that are used often, especially if you will be out to sea for a period of time.

Also, check expiry dates of all products and replace where necessary.

Making sure your Medical Stores Log Book is designed to record the dispensing of ALL medical supplies to enable a verifiable means of tracking. Having this log book allows the Master and/or Owner to monitor usage of items and who they were dispensed to and how often.

Shorlink offers a Medical Log Book. Click Here to see!

  1. Emergency and Safety Equipment!
    Check and Replace!

Where do we start!! This is the most common equipment which is overlooked and assumed all is fine and usable – believe me, they can easily deteriorate or become out of date without realising.

Fire Extinguishers – making sure you have the right extinguisher for any emergency is key to ensuring the safety. We have actually seen where a vessel has been saved and lost on the back of the correct or incorrect extinguisher being used. Obviously, also ensuring they are within date of use, and there is no corrosion on any part of the equipment. If in doubt, replace.

Fire Blankets – when was the last time you checked? These easily become something thrown at the back of a cupboard, normally in the galley. Or if it is hung up, it never gets opened or used. How do you know it is still intact? Check all fire blankets and ensure they are accessible, and crew know how to use these efficiently.

Flares – check all flares are within usable date, especially for future and that all crew know how to correctly locate and use these in an emergency.

Lifejackets– Tracey, our Administrator has been shocked at the images that have passed our business of the condition of lifejackets on some vessels. We all understand the importance of lifejackets in an emergency, but when you are out on the water often, many crew become complacent with them.

All lifejackets should not be water logged while stored, this can cause corrosion which means they made fall apart in an emergency.

Lifejackets should be stowed in a dry location and be easily accessible in an emergency. Especially if you have large crew/passengers – you should have an accessible point that provides easy distribution. Also, all crew and passengers should know how to don them if necessary. Also, bringing attention using the lifejacket if required in an emergency.

We understand that this list is long and comprehensive. However, taking 10 minutes now to complete can assist with ensuring the safety of your crew, business and vessel.

Now, let’s focus on a great 2022 and also feel free to contact Shorlink should you need!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you have questioned any part of the checklist, please contact us immediately.

It is imperative, that your business, vessel and crew are conducting themselves safely and within guidelines at all times and we want to assist to ensure that happens.

Here at Shorlink, our priority has been and will always be Safety.

That is why we offer free assessments of your SMS, and we are happy to chat on the phone any time, obligation free to ensure our industry stays and remains buoyant, safe and flourishes!


Tip

Complete our checklist, please!

If you would like us to email you a simplified copy of the checklist for ease of completing, please send an email to admin@shorlink.com

What most operators don’t realise is that there is a requirement to have a Medical Log Book onboard your vessel to record medical information including the dispensing of drugs.

The NSCV Part C7A H8 specifies that all vessels shall carry and record the use of all medicines, first aid and medical incidents in a Medical Log Book and record the stock movements for Controlled Drugs in a Controlled Drug Register.

To date AMSA have not been pushing Medical Log Books other than on larger vessels but I’m guessing that this is another area that is going to surface in the near future, especially on passenger and charter vessels!

If you operate passenger or charter vessels you should consider getting a Medical Log Book in place sooner rather than later.

Other vessels that should be getting one together are commercial fishing vessels and vessels engaged in construction or towage and in particular those that undertake long voyages.

Medical Supplies: Things to consider

When considering your requirements for medical supplies you need to take into account the tables specified in C7A. Now there are more flexible rules for first aid supplies on DCV’s.

The owner/master of a domestic commercial vessel (DCV) 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 on board the vessel for that operation.

Please note that the first aid kit must also comply with the Work Health and Safety Code of Practice. If necessary, assistance may be sought from an appropriately experienced pharmaceutical provider or First Aid provider/supplier in order to do so.

Based on your risk assessment you may apply for and Equivalent Solution. A few questions that you need to take into account when conducting your risk assessment…

  • Is your operation considered high risk in the WHS code of practice?
  • Do you have crew with current First Aid qualifications onboard ALL the time?
  • Are you operating more than two hours from medical assistance?
  • Based on your operations are persons on board likely to encounter specific hazards e.g., burns, stings, cuts and abrasions, etc.?

These are just a few of the things you need to take into account when undertaking your risk assessment. If you need help with completing a risk assessment for your First Aid requirements don’t hesitate to contact Shorlink or request First Aid Risk Assessment sheet.

What’s required in a Medical Log Book

There are specific requirements for a Medical Log Book which include:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Patient
  • Condition
  • Treatment

If you carry Controlled Drugs your Controlled Drugs Register should include:

  • Supply
  • Use
  • Disposal
  • Loss
  • Theft

While all of this may seem a bit daunting it’s really not too bad if you have the right layout in your log book and register.

First Aid Kits and Medical Cabinets

There are also a number of other considerations in relation to First Aid Kits and Medical Cabinets which includes…

  • Location
  • Construction and provisions
  • Labelling and identification
  • Construction and illumination for Medical Cabinets
  • Maintenance for Medical Cabinets

Shorlink’s Recommendation

The one thing that we see so often is OUT OF DATE First Aid certificates which means that person may not be up to date with the latest First Aid knowledge and skills. We strongly recommend that you ensure your First Aid is current.

 

 

For vessels with more than two crew we recommend at least one other crew member has current First Aid training. This takes the pressure off the Master in the event of an incident where injuries are sustained.

 


Tip

If you think you can have a case for an Equivalent Solution then do a risk assessment on your operations or if you need assistance in doing one then contact our office. We can assess your situation and develop a risk assessment for you.

Need a Medical Log book then look no further as Shorlink has them available and they meet all the legal requirements.Medical Stores Log Book

 

As a commercial operator we’ve all had to deal with vessel inspections by marine agencies including AMSA, Fisheries and the Water Police.

While on most occasions you get through them without too much hassle there are times when we wonder what the hell some of these officers are talking about.

I think most of us have gotten disturbed at times and even downright angry at some of the things we get thrown at us.

I can say that in most cases the officers are not displaying any form of prejudice against you as a person. Unfortunately, I have to admit to being witness to an officer going out of his way to make life hard for an operator they believed should not be on the water!

Ordinary situations can be hard enough but when you have to deal with that sort of behaviour, its hard to keep your calm.

What’s important to remember is that the person undertaking the inspection is only doing their job and they are only human after all!

One of the biggest issues to deal with is consistency. What we’ve seen happen is an inspection being undertaken in one port and being given the “all good” then going to another port only to be told all these things are wrong.

The worst one is with SMS manuals, where officers out their twist on what they think should be in your SMS.

AMSA have an SMS Assessment check list that lays out what they need to ensure is in your SMS. That’s what they should be sticking too!

So… how do we deal with onboard inspections?   

Dealing with onboard inspections at any time can cause stress, especially when you feel things are not going so well, so below I’ve listed how I recommend ALL Owners, Masters and Crew Members to respond.

During an onboard inspection I always recommend all persons involved to remain calm and respect the officers conducting the inspection, even if you disagree with their decisions.

Actions and reactions

  • Keep calm at all times
  • Don’t blow your stack no matter what
  • If you disagree with something ask them for an explanation
  • If something is found to be non-compliant or unsafe ask to be shown what it is and have them explain to you if you’re uncertain
  • If you feel the officer has been unjust or wrong in some way don’t argue about it. Let them know your concerns and ask for clarification
  • If you’re issued with a Report of Inspection with defects listed, make sure you have anything you don’t understand explained to you
  • Being issued with an order to return to port or tying up the vessel up for any reason accept it, don’t argue with the officer and follow the direction then deal with whatever was the cause
  • If you feel any decision is wrong, first follow the instructions then you can report it to AMSA but ensure you are clear about the issue have all the facts together to support your case. Be clear and concise!
  • In relation to SMS Manuals be aware that officers are viewing them to ensure they have all the required information relevant to your vessel and its operations. They are not meant to go through procedures and issue instructions about them. They may make suggestions but remember for DCV’s there is no actual approval system in place.

If you follow the above your onboard inspections will go much easier, no matter what the outcome is!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My number one recommendation is to follow the guideline above but if you feel there is a problem with any notices given during an inspection the I strongly recommend you contact our office for advice immediately.

We have the experience and knowledge in dealing with these matters and can make life easier for you. If you have an inspection scheduled and would like assistance in dealing with it then you can arrange for us to be onboard during the inspection (based upon availability).


Tip

Safety Management Systems (SMS) are one of the biggest issues with vessel owners and operators at present due to AMSA’s increase monitoring of them.

For those who aren’t clients, my tip is to have us undertake a FREE assessment of your SMS so we can point you in the right direction. Feel free to send us a copy to sms@shorlink.com and we would be happy to assess and advise!

If you’ve received a MO504 SMS Assessment and there are items listed as “not met” then our tip is to send them to us if you’re unsure about what’s required ASAP.

Work health and safety (WHS) and now internationally referred to as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)  involves the management of risks to the health and safety of everyone in your workplace.

This includes the health and safety of anyone who does work for you as well as your clients, visitors and suppliers.

It may initially cost money and time to implement safe practices and install safety equipment but is critical to the success of your business. Not taking action could also result in prosecution, fines and loss of your skilled staff.

Who is required to have a WHSMS or OHSMS?

Any person conducting a business or undertaking is required to put health and safety practices in place as soon as you start your business.

Under Australian WHS laws your business must ensure the health and safety of your workers and not put the health and safety of others at risk. To do this you must:

  • provide a safe work environment
  • provide and maintain safe machinery and structures
  • provide safe ways of working
  • ensure safe use, handling and storage of machinery, structures and substances
  • provide and maintain adequate facilities
  • provide any information, training, instruction or supervision needed for safety
  • monitor the health of workers and conditions at the workplace.

To achieve the above you are required to have a documented Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) otherwise known as Work Health and Safety Management Systems (WHSMS) in place.

Meaning of a person conducting a business or undertaking

In short according to the Work Health and Safety Act a person conducts a business or undertaking:

  1. Whether a person conducts the business or undertaking alone or with others; and
  2. Whether or not the business or undertaking is for profit or gain

Note that there are other factors relating the meaning which are in Subdivision 2 of the Act.

WHS requirements in your State or Territory

Each state has its own WHS laws and a regulator to enforce them. The WHS framework for each state includes the:

  • Act – outlines your broad responsibilities.
  • Regulations – set out specific requirements for particular hazards and risks, such as noise, machinery, and manual handling.
  • Codes of practice – provide practical information on how you can meet the requirements in the Act and Regulations.
  • Regulating agency (regulator) – administers WHS laws, inspects workplaces, provides advice and enforces the laws.

In simple terms, if you operate a business in Australia you are required to have a documented WHSMS or OHSMS system in place.

The standard that has been in use for WHSMS was AS/NZS 4801 but that may not be recognised in Australia in the future but can still be used unless certification is a requirement. Most small businesses won’t require certification unless it’s a client’s requirement.

AS/NZS 4801 is being replaced globally with ISO 45001 which is a much easier system and the one we’re implementing for our new clients.

Here at Shorlink we’re currently updating our own WHSMS (now OHSMS) from AS/NZS 4801 to the new ISO 45001 system.

The good thing about ISO 45001 is we’ve developed technology to assist in putting a simple system in place much cheaper than previously to meet your business requirements.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you already have a documented WHSMS or OHSMS in place look at it carefully to ensure it meets all of your operational requirements.

Don’t have a system in place then consider your risks in the event of a workplace incident. A simple incident can cost you anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a million or more!


Tip

Need help in developing a safety management system for your maritime based business then contact Shorlink to see how we can help by:

Phone: 07 4242 1412    Email: sms@shorlink.com    Website: www.shorlink.com


Log Books

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

 

Dear subscriber and in particular Shorlink clients,

This message has important information to ensure your Safety Management System (SMS) is up to date and remains compliant!

If you have changed any contact details that are listed in your SMS including:

  • Owner or owners
  • Emergency Contact
  • Designated Person (DP) or persons

You must update your SMS accordingly if not already done so.

We recently had a situation where we received a call from a vessel where they were in trouble and unable to contact any of the numbers listed in the SMS manual.

On top of that there had been a change of staff within the company and the details in the SMS were not updated as required to ensure the SMS remained compliant.

Contact details includes:

  • Name or names
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Mobile number
  • Email

Specific Requirements

Emergency Contact

The Emergency Contact is the person who is listed in the SMS as the Emergency Contact and is primarily responsible for the operation of the business.

A person who is listed as the emergency contact in the SMS must be available at a minimum during the company’s normal business hours.

Designated Person

A Designated Person is someone listed in the SMS as the person who has the responsibility of monitoring the safety and pollution prevention of the vessel.

It is a legal requirement that if you are listed as a Designated Person in the vessels SMS you MUST be contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at all times to respond to emergency situations should they arise.

If your SMS does not have the current contact details, especially of the DP then it is not compliant and in the event of an incident you leave yourself exposed to legal action.

For all Shorlink clients, if there has been any changes please notify us immediately so as we can update your SMS accordingly to ensure you remain compliant.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Review the contact details of all persons listed in your SMS to ensure they are up to date and correct.

This not only includes emergency and designated person details but also owner’s details.

If you need assistance with the Designated Person section in your SMS (Section 4 of Marine Order 504) then feel free to contact us here at Shorlink for assistance.

Don’t simply put it on your to do list as a failure to update this critical information in your SMS leaves you exposed in the event of a marine incident!

A fire in the engine room can very quickly become can be a catastrophic one! If not contained quickly the fire can go from ignition to a major fire in a matter of seconds.

Types and causes of engine room fires

One of the common causes is bags of rags, especially used ones left in the engine room. They will often ignite for no apparent reason and if not dealt with quickly can lead to a major fire quickly.

Think about what’s in your engine room, there’s engine and gearbox oil, often hydraulic oil, fuel, rags, grease, a combination of gases and many other things that are fuel for fires!

The common types of fires normally encountered in engine room fires are:

  1. Oil based
  2. Electrical

Oil based fires are often caused by a build-up of oil &/or grease on items in your engine room or in the bilge and ignited by a simple spark!

  • Too high a temperature in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Highly flammable vegetable oils
  • Old, more flammable oil in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Fat deposits in and around the flue and ventilation ducts
  • Fat deposits in and around the cooking area
  • Leaving the galley unattended

The most common causes of electrical fires in your engine room are:

  1. Faulty or damaged wiring
  2. Faulty electrical fittings or fixtures
  3. Faults in power distribution boards
  4. Fuel leaks
  5. Oil leaks
  6. Exhaust leaks
  7. Turbo charger leaks
  8. Misaligned bearings that overheat
  9. Rags
  10. And many other items!

Chaffed, exposed or even old or outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If the wiring does not have the capacity to handle electrical appliances being used you’re heading for a fire situation.

Simple steps in dealing with engine room fires

Dealing with an engine room fire on your boat will depend on whether you have a fire suppression system fitted or not. below I’ll outline the basic steps for dealing with an engine room fire.

With a Suppression system fitted

  • At the first sign of a fire either by an alarm system or other means raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Assess the situation: Is it safe to enter the engine room. Test the heat by putting the back of your hand on the hatch or door. If it’s very hot do not attempt to open the door or hatch
  • Position the vessel according to prevailing conditions
  • Activate fire pump (if installed)
  • If safe to enter ensure you have a back-up person at the engine room entry then enter to assess the situation
  • Fight the fire using the appropriate fire extinguisher
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water where electricity is on
  • Use the fire or deck hose for boundary cooling
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the engine room and close the door/hatch
  • Conduct a head count to ensure all persons have exited the engine room
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • Shut down all machinery in the engine room
  • Close all fuel and air shut offs and turn of engine rooms fans if applicable
  • Release the fire suppression system
  • Continue to monitor the situation and do not open the engine room door/hatch until you are sure the chance of re-ignition is minimised
  • Prepare to abandon ship
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Abandon ship if necessary

No Fire Suppression system installed

  • At the first sign of a fire either by an alarm system or other means raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Assess the situation: Is it safe to enter the engine room. Test the heat by putting the back of your hand on the hatch or door. If it’s very hot do not attempt to open the door or hatch
  • Position the vessel according to prevailing conditions
  • Activate fire pump (if installed)
  • If safe to enter ensure you have a back-up person at the engine room entry then enter to assess the situation
  • Fight the fire using the appropriate fire extinguisher
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water where electricity is on
  • Use the fire or deck hose for boundary cooling
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the engine room and close the door/hatch
  • Conduct a head count to ensure all persons have exited the engine room
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • Shut down all machinery in the engine room
  • Close all fuel and air shut offs and turn of engine rooms fans if applicable
  • Continue to monitor the situation and do not open the engine room door/hatch until you are sure the chance of re-ignition is minimised
  • Prepare to abandon ship
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Abandon ship if necessary

The above steps for dealing with an engine room fire are the basic general steps to put in place. Your procedure for dealing with engine room fires will depend on a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • Do you have a fire suppression system fitted in the engine room?
  • Do you have a fire pump or deck hose installed?
  • Where you locate your fire extinguishers
  • What type of fire extinguishers you have available in the engine room
  • What you store in the engine room
  • How many crew are onboard
  • And any number of other factors specific to your vessel

You don’t want your engine room to end up like this!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My 3 prevent a fire  in your engine room recommendations are:

  1. Ensure your engine room is kept clean and free (as much as possible) from oil and grease build ups
  2. Undertake regular inspections of the following:
  • fuel systems
  • exhaust systems
  • electrical systems
  • hydraulic systems
  1. Ensure your fire extinguishers and suppression system (where fitted) are well maintained and in service at all times because…you never know when you’ll need them!

Tip

My top tips for preventing engine room fires are:

  • Regularly check the operation of both fuel and air shut offs
  • Don’t leave bags of rags (especially used ones) in the engine room
  • The biggest tip of all is to ensure all your crew have appropriate training in fire response based on your vessel and its operations.

By following these simple tips, the chances of a fire in your engine room are reduced significantly.

Log Books – Fire Safety Manual

Fire safety manuals are required for vessels who carry passengers and some cargo vessels.

Our fire safety manuals are vessel specific and developed based on the vessel and its operations. Manuals may include Fire control plan, fire training manual and fire safety operational booklet as required by the NSCV Part C Section 4.

POA based on vessel and operations!

The simple answer is YES.

We’re lucky that in Australia COVID-19 is not as rampart as it is in most other parts of the world but we all must remain vigilant, especially employers to keep it that way! To do that we all need to follow the legislated guidelines.

Every workplace must have a COVID Safe management plan to help protect its staff, customers and visitors and to prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVIID-19) in your workplace.

This plan is your Work Health and Safety plan that all businesses are required to have and maintain. It does not need to be submitted to the Chief Health Officer for approval and should be made available when requested.

This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all requirements set out by the Chief Health Officer. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional obligations for employers and employees.

WorkSafe have specific requirements for employers in relation to COVID-19. Below is an extract from WorkSafe.

Employers

  • You must take action to protect workers and others at the workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes implementing the public health measures issued by health authorities including Queensland Health and the Australian Government Department of Health.
  • It is vital that you consult with and communicate with workers and their health and safety representatives (HSRs) on workplace measures to address COVID-19.

Put in place a plan to respond to COVID-19

  • Also put in place any directives issued by Health departments – this should include infection prevention and control policies and procedures, safe systems of work, how workers and their HSRs will be consulted, and how you will monitor and update your plan as public health information changes.
  • Consult with workers on the plan and display it clearly in the workplace. Consultation with workers, and, where applicable their representative, is required at each step of the risk management process.

Employers are required to implement measures to keep workers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 which includes but is not limited to:

  • implementing and promoting high order controls to complement hygiene practices (g. social distancing such as work from home where possible, create separate walkways through worksites, limit numbers of people in lunch or crib rooms or install barriers and screens)
  • The use of personal protective equipment PPE

The only way to safely and effectively manage your workplace in relation to COVID-19 is to have a COVIDSafe plan in place!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We all have to learn to live COVID-19 now and to be able to manage not only the spread but also the psycho-social risks for workers.

To do this we recommend you have a COVIDSafe plan in place and train and supervise workers on workplace measure to address COVID-19.  Shorlink can develop COVIDSafe plans to suit your specific operations and all of our COVIDSafe plans are accepted by Health Departments Australia wide.  Contact us today for more details.


Tip

When developing your COVIDSafe plan check to see if you come under a COVID Safe Industry Plan as this may save you a lot of work.

Alternatively contact us if you would like more information on COVIDSafe site-specific plans or COVID Safe Event Plans.

Following on from Bomb Threat is to look at a procedure for when you find a suspicious object, and I don’t mean a drunken passenger slouched in the corner.

What is a suspicious object?

A suspicious object is defined as any item (e.g., package, bag, etc.) identified as potentially containing explosives, an IED or other hazardous material that requires bomb technician diagnostic skills and specialised equipment for further evaluation.

Suspicious object indicators

Suspicious indicators are based upon the prevailing and/or communicated threat, placement and proximity of the item to people and valuable assets. More tangible aspects include but are not limited to:

  • Unexplainable wires or electronics
  • Other visible bomb-like components
  • Unusual sounds
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Odours

What to do if you find a suspicious object!

If you find, or have reported to you that there is a suspicious object onboard or in your office, factory or other area follow the steps outlined below.

  1. DO NOT touch, move, cover or tamper with the object
  2. Report the object to the Master immediately
  3. Report the object to Police by calling 000
  4. Conspicuously mark the location
  5. Ensure there are no other suspicious objects in the vicinity
  6. Evacuate the immediate area
  7. DO NOT use mobile phones or radio communications within 30 metres of the object
  8. Be prepared to abandon ship if instructed to do so by emergency personnel


Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you carry passengers or cargo we recommend developing a procedure for what to do if a suspicious object is located onboard your vessel or in your premises.

This procedure should link in with your bomb threat procedure and be based on whether you carry passengers, cargo or both.


Tip

Consider your exposure level to the public and where you operate. Do you carry large numbers of passengers, cargo or both?

If yes then our tip is to not only have procedures for a Bomb Threat and Suspicious Object Located but also to develop a Counter Terrorism Plan.

 


Log Books   

What to do in an emergency, including finding Suspicious Object should always be recorded and yourselves and your crew should know exactly what to do.

Record all of your Emergency Preparedness Training (drills) in our Crew Training Log Book which also saves having to fill out forms in your SMS!

You can order online today with free postage – Click Here!

Watchkeeping and watchkeeper responsibilities!

This newsletter is about watchkeeping on Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) for vessels less than 35 metres operating within the EEZ.

Watchkeeping, do you need a ticket for being a watchkeeper on a DCV <35mtrs?

Whilst its best if the person on watch has a deck ticket it’s not a requirement. There’s no problem in a crew member who has been trained in watchkeeping procedures and the Master deems competent to stand a watch.

In fact, if a watchkeeper on a DCV had to have a ticket there is likely to be either less vessels operating or more marine incidents.

A watchkeeper may be the Master or another crew member deemed competent to undertake watchkeeping duties.

When a Master hands over watchkeeping duties to a crew member remember that the person on watch has been given control over the safety of the vessel and all persons onboard!

A person on watch is required to maintain a lookout using all available means which includes but is not limited to:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • The use of electronics; e.g. radar, sounders, etc.

Every SMS should have a watchkeeping procedure which includes:

  • Recording the name and time of crew members on and off watch
  • Masters Standing Orders
  • Following the planned course
  • Maintaining safe navigation
  • Maintaining a radio watch
  • Monitoring machinery, plant and all alarms
  • Being aware of situations or conditions that do or have the potential to affect safety
  • Recording events in the vessels Log Book
  • Most importantly calling the Master if in doubt

Being on watch means not only when you’re working or steaming but also at anchor so ensure the above items are followed even when at anchor which is when a lot of incidents occur!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Develop a watchkeeping procedure and ensure it gets followed at all times. We strongly recommend developing a watchkeeping hand-over sheet which includes:

  • Vessels current position, course and speed
  • Position and number of potential hazard (if any)
  • Other vessels in close proximity
  • Special conditions affecting the vessels progress or operations (wind, tide, etc.)
  • Navigational aids
  • Each crew members operational duties if working

With some of our clients we have developed a sign over form which each item is ticked off during the hand-over process then signed by the watchkeeper going off duty and the one taking over.

Our other recommendation is when travelling at periods of restricted visibility (at night, dusk or dawn, fog, etc.) in waters that restrict your manoeuvrability by way of channel width or depth place a lookout on the bow and reduce speed!


Tip

One of the best gadgets to have is a Watch Alarm which you can set different intervals between alarms which are designed to ensure you remain awake.

Take Note: if you are getting tired or falling asleep when on watch WAKE SOMEONE UP do not try to battle through your watch and put the vessel and all persons onboard at risk!

Our other BIG tip is when on watch don’t just sit in the chair, get up, walk around and ensure you look behind you as well. A 360° lookout has saved may a vessel from a collision. Don’t always think that because you’re keeping a lookout the other vessels crew are doing the same!

That’s what one business owner got hit with due to an incident with a forklift truck resulting in the death of a worker.

Failing to have a safety management system in place with procedures, checks for appropriate tickets and licences and the provision of training was a key factor in the death of the worker.

The employer was hit with a $600,000 fine and that was only the beginning. Ongoing related expenses including compensation payments, increased insurance premiums, and other ongoing related costs were in addition to the fine!

On the other side of that one of our clients had a Master involved in a marine incident which involved an injury to a passenger. This resulted in AMSA and Work Health and Safety undertaking a major investigation into the incident.

The company was facing $250,000+ in fines plus potential jail time for the owner and the Master was looking at fines of $18,000 or more.

When the officers reviewed the SMS manual then the induction and training documents that we developed they were satisfied that the employer had taken all reasonable steps to ensure a safe vessel and workplace. No action was taken against the business or its owners.

The outcome of the investigation was that the Master was negligent in his actions in operating the vessel resulting in the injury to the passenger. Based on our expert witness statement the fine was reduced to $5,000.

The bottom line!

Most vessel owners and operators now know they require an SMS which complies with either MO 504 for Domestic Commercial Vessel (DCV) or the ISM Code for Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV).

What many business owners don’t know or choose to ignore is the fact that any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers at the workplace.

This is achieved by implementing a Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS). Today there are 2 recognised systems of WHSMS available:

  1. AS/NZS 4801 which is recognised in Australia and New Zealand; or
  2. ISO45001 which is recognised internationally.

If you only operate in the domestic (Australian) marketplace then AS/NZS4801 is fine but if you operate internationally then you’re better off with ISO45001.

Note that under the Work Health and Safety Act a volunteer association does not conduct a business or undertaking for the purpose of the Act. See Section 6 (7) on Page 22.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

 It’s simple, if you don’t have a safety management system in place for your vessel or workplace if you’re a land-based business then you need to get one NOW, don’t waste time and be exposed, especially in the event of an incident.

Note that the global trend now is moving towards “is there a failure by an organisation or an individual to create a culture of compliance” which is what AMSA and WHS are looking at now and why our managed services are quickly gaining traction!


Tip

Determine what standard is best suited to your business and get started now to ensure not only your safety but that of your crew or worker!  Do you have questions? Contact us today and we would be happy to discuss further!