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.

The documents required by AMSA today and, with so many options of hard copies versus electronic it’s difficult to completely understand what is required onboard.

We have listed the primary documents that should be carried onboard  Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) at all times:

  1. Vessel Certificate 

    You must always carry your vessel’s Certificate of Operation (CoO) and/or Certificate of Survey (CoS) on board. This can be in hard copy or an electronic version, such as a copy on your smart phone.
    Your vessel’s certificates and surveys must be available upon request by an AMSA inspector or their compliance partners.

  1. Permissions 

    Any permissions relevant to your vessel’s operations; e.g., landing permits for specific locations, etc., must always be carried onboard. As with Certificates these may be in hard copy or an electronic version, such as a copy on your smart phone.

  1. Safety Management System 

    All DCV are required to have a Safety Management System (SMS) that complies with Marine Order 504 (MO504) Again this may be in hard copy or an electronic version.

  1. Vessel/Deck Log Book 

    All commercial vessels are required to have a vessel or deck log book in which they are required to record specific information (see our newsletter dated 15/03/2022 for details).

  1. Maintenance Log 

    All maintenance must be recorded either in a dedicated form in your SMS, a Maintenance Log Book or in an electronic maintenance program.

  1. Sewage Management Plan 

    All declared Ships must ensure they have a Sewage Management Plan onboard and available for inspection.All vessels, including recreational and commercial vessels that are fitted with sewage treatment system must ensure they have the appropriate documentation and follow specific guidelines.

    What is a Declared Ship?

    A declared ship has a fixed toilet and is:

  • a domestic commercial vessel with a certificate of operation issued, or taken to be issued, under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 stating it is a class 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 4C, 4D or 4E ship, or
  • any other Queensland regulated ship regulated under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 and Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2016 designed to carry more than 12 passengers.
  1. Copies and/or receipts for serviceable items service for inflatable life rafts, electrical installations, fire extinguishers, EPIRB,

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is to ensure you have ALL the required documents onboard at all times. You must be able to present the relevant documents to AMSA or their delegates when asked.

Secondly it’s not good enough to just have them onboard, they must be up to date which means you need to ensure your SMS is reviewed annually and your log books are filled in daily when operational.


Tip

If for any reason you are unsure about exactly what you require on your vessel, what format is best for you (hard copy or electronic) or anything in relation to documents required don’t hesitate to contact our office!

When we’re doing either onboard training or vessel safety audits and look at the vessels deck log the information recorded….

often it does not meet the requirements of Marine Order 504 (MO504).

 

There are specific requirements relating to the information that must be recorded in your log book. In the event of an incident, failure to fill in your log book has the potential to cause serious issues for you or your crew!

In addition to the requirements of MO 504 there’s other information that we highly recommend you record.

Looking at deck or vessel log books for commercial fishing vessels, it’s common to see the start/finish times or position of shots and little more.

In charter vessels we regularly see start and finish times and in some cases refuelling again with little more.

It’s critical for your protection to ensure you or your Master keeps the log up to date at all times. A failure to do so leaves you exposed in the event of an incident or legal claim by a crew member or passenger!

MO504 specifies that the following details MUST be recorded in your log book:

  1. Any illness or injury of persons onboard. This means crew members, passengers or any other person onboard. Injury means injuries that are serious enough to need more than just a band aid. Any injury that requires first aid or has the potential to cause infection or may need further medical attention in the future must be recorded.
  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. This means anything that has the potential to impact on the safety of a person or persons onboard or the safe operation of the vessel.
  5. All communications and/or messages sent or received for an emergency. This is critical in the event of an investigation.
  6. All passenger counts conducted for the vessel. This only applies to vessels carrying passengers
  7. Any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes

Quite often Masters tell me that ”I’m busy running the vessel and don’t have time to record all of this.”

My answer is always “do you have weeks or months available to defend yourself in court if the vessel, crew member or a passenger is involved in an incident?”

When an incident or accident occurs AMSA will undertake an investigation and apart from the incident report they will look at your SMS and log book.

So, the two questions asked are:

  1. Does your SMS comply with MO504 and is the relevant procedure or procedures appropriate?; and
  2. Is the incident detailed in the vessels log book?

If your SMS does not meet the requirements then you may have a serious problem and a failure to record the incident or accident exposes you even further.

No matter what type of vessel you operate, I hope you can now see the value in keeping your vessels log book up to date with all the relevant information.

As a commercial mariner, I know it can sometimes be difficult to keep your log book up to date, but you should always ensure you enter the relevant details as soon as reasonably practicable after the event. This way the event is clear in your mind, and you don’t have to think back to what actually happened.

A key point many Masters forget and I’ve been guilty of it myself, is to ensure you sign the log book page at the end of every day. Doesn’t sound like much but it can potentially leave you exposed yet again so make sure you sign every day’s log page.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend recording the following information:

  • Date and time of departure and arrival
  • Navigational track and/or position at relevant times
  • Summary of weather conditions, especially any sudden changes in weather
  • All inductions and training.

By including this information, you are so much better protected in the event of an incident or accident.


Tip

Our best tip to ensure you meet AMSA’s requirements and give yourself the best protection possible is to check the previous days log book entries to ensure all requirements are recorded appropriately and that you have signed the page.

Ensure to check out the Deck Log Book that we here, at Shorlink, produce to ensure you are meeting your requirements.  Our Log Books are available online with free postage. Click Here!

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!