Tag Archive for: Health

Since March 2020, the marine industry has had many highs and lows. From little or no business, to high levels and too often without enough staff. Staffing in Australia and indeed the world over in most industries is an ongoing major issue.

Whilst the supply of goods by sea and some services has continued throughout the pandemic, we now face staff shortages both on sea and land which makes the working conditions continue to be challenging.

Maritime safety data and research highlight a critical need for the marine industry mental health and wellbeing to be managed more effectively, to achieve better outcomes. Here at Shorlink, we take mental health as serious as safety.

Stress can lead to mental health issues. This newsletter provides information and guidance to provide business owners’ and Masters with strategies to help alleviate the effects of stress.

It also talks about the importance of educating crew about mental health, in order to create a culture on board in which crew are able to identify when their fellow crew members are experiencing poor mental health and support one another.

Educating Crew!

It is important that masters receive adequate education on the psychological impact of stress and mental health issues. Masters need to:

  • have a good knowledge of both the short and long-term consequences of stress
  • ensure crew in their charge have appropriate information and awareness
  • establish prevention and minimisation programs
  • be able to identify crew members having problems
  • initiate the necessary assistance if required—this may include masters and senior crew being instructed in mental health first aid.

Recognise the signs of possible mental health problems!

If a crew member displays any of the following behaviours, they may be experiencing mental health problems:

  • appears to withdraw, isolates themselves, or seems quieter than usual
  • appears distressed
  • agitated or irritable
  • difficulty managing work or workload
  • more argumentative, aggressive or gets into conflicts
  • confused, unusually forgetful or has
  • trouble concentrating
  • behaving in a way that is out of character.

The following are some suggestions which can be used to assist crew members suffering from mental health difficulties:

  • spend time with the person
  • offer your assistance and a listening ear, but do not intrude on that person’s privacy. Be mindful that there may sometimes be deeper problems that underlie the initial problem they mention
  • help them with any practical arrangements they require
  • do not take their emotions personally, as this is probably a part of their reaction
  • do not downplay or dismiss their problems. Do not tell them they are ‘lucky the situation isn’t worse’—they probably don’t feel lucky
  • help them to re-establish a normal schedule as quickly as possible. If possible, include them in the activities of others
  • encourage them to be active and involved
  • encourage them to look at what they can manage, rather than just thinking about what they want to avoid.

Managing crew reactions!

After a mental health-related or other stressful event, crew members are often very sensitive to:

  • how others react to them
  • how others may describe the event and the role of the crew member involved,
  • particularly in terms of their reactions to their colleagues.

The extent to which the work/social network validates or invalidates the experience has a very important effect upon the crew members psychological adaptation or recovery.

If all crew are aware of the stressors and their potential impact, the experience of crew members having a mental health issue is more likely to be recognised and validated. If masters are aware of the principles of mental health first aid, crew are more likely to receive appropriate support following mental health issues.

Crews with low morale typically exhibit the highest risk for psychological injuries. This is because strong morale acts as a buffer or protective layer against the effects of mental health issues and other stressors.

This should be factored into decisions that may affect the management of mental health risk.

At regular intervals, the master should schedule the following:

  • An informal debrief—this provides crew with the ability to say how they are going and allows for the reiteration of mental health information and awareness
  • recognition by a valued authority— have someone, like the master, acknowledge the crew and the efforts they have made
  • follow up contact with crew members who may have been identified as likely to suffer mental health issues to see how they are travelling.

Owners and operators need to ensure that the conditions in which their crew work and live do not exacerbate mental health problems.

A crew members ability to access mental health services at sea is limited, hence the incorporation of strategies for mental health interventions is an essential service.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Training staff, from Master to deckhands on mental health first aid is imperative to ensure the business is providing a healthy working environment.

Breaking down the stigma, both on board and ashore, regarding mental health issues. It should be no different than any other injury or illness.

Be alert for potential signs of mental health issues among crew members.

Proactively manage cases of mental health issues, including repatriation if appropriate.

Maintain a fair, just and supportive crew environment, as part of a positive safety culture. Resource poor environment is even more important.

Specific attention is needed in higher risk periods of the work-life cycle, such as during periods of contract extension, operating season and inability to take shore leave.


Tip

It all starts from the top down – both with attitude and education!

Emphasis should be given to training for mental health awareness and resilience. Owners and Masters should be trained in mental health first aid.

If you have any questions, or require assistance with training, please contact our office.

This is important! Please do not hesitate to share this with colleagues, bosses, friends and family.

While it’s sad but true, all of us are getting older and with age comes health problems for many but the big one, the silent killer is heart attack.

Over the last few years there has been a number of Masters suffering heart attacks while at sea and that can cause a serious problem for the vessel and all persons onboard.

It’s not just Masters, we’ve had mates, engineers, deckhands and even cooks and special staff go down with heart attacks.

Fortunately, most of those have recovered and many are still in the industry providing their valuable knowledge and experience to up and coming crew members.

It’s not the best topic but its one that needs to be addressed as it’s not just older people suffering heart attacks.

With today’s changing lifestyle many younger people are falling victim to heart attacks so it’s important that you not only know the signs but also how to deal with a person suffering from a heart attack.

You need to be able to answer these 2 key questions …

  1. Do you know the signs of a heart attack? and
  2. Do you know how to deal with a person suffering from a heart attack?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions you best find out now because not knowing can put lives at risk…one of which may be yours!

Knowing the signs

 

How can a silent heart attack be silent?

A silent heart attack is just like any other, and just as damaging. Your heart needs oxygen-rich blood to function.

If plaque (which consists of fat, cholesterol, and other substances) builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the heart, this blood flow can be significantly or completely cut off.

The longer your heart doesn’t have blood flow, the more damage that occurs. Because silent heart attacks may go unnoticed, they can cause a significant amount of damage and, without treatment, they can be deadly.

The good news is that you can prepare by knowing these 4 silent signs of a heart attack.

The 4 key signs of a silent heart attack

 

  1. Chest Pain, Pressure, Fullness, or Discomfort

Sometimes the pain from a heart attack is sudden and intense, which makes them easy to recognize and get help. But, what about when it’s not?

Most heart attacks actually involve only mild pain or discomfort in the centre of your chest. You may also feel pressure, squeezing, or fullness. These symptoms usually start slowly, and they may go away and come back.

This can be complicated because these symptoms may be related to something less serious, such as heartburn. You know your body best, though. If you feel like something is not right, you need to be evaluated by a doctor or even head to the emergency room.

 

  1. Discomfort in other areas of your body 

A heart attack doesn’t just affect your heart, you can actually feel the effects throughout your whole body. But this can make identifying a heart attack confusing.

You may experience pain or discomfort in your:

  • Arms (one or both of them)
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Stomach

These symptoms can vary from person to person. For example, some people describe their back pain from a heart attack as feeling like a rope being tied around them.

You may also feel a heavy pressure on your back. Either way, if you think you’re experiencing any of these less obvious signs of a heart attack, don’t ignore them.

 

  1. Difficulty breathing and dizziness 

If you feel like you’ve just run a marathon, but you only walked up the stairs, that might be a sign your heart isn’t able to pump blood to the rest of your body. Shortness of breath can occur with or without chest pain, and it’s a common sign of a silent heart attack.

You may also feel dizzy or lightheaded — and it’s possible you could faint. Though this can happen to both men and women, it’s more common for women to experience shortness of breath.

If you’re having trouble with tasks that weren’t previously difficult make sure you get it checked out in case it’s a subtle sign of a heart attack.

 

  1. Nausea and cold sweats 

Waking up in a cold sweat, feeling nauseated, and vomiting may be symptoms of the flu, but they can also be signs of a silent heart attack.

You may know what the flu feels like because you’ve had it before, but when your gut is telling you that these flu-like symptoms are something more serious, LISTEN! Don’t chalk these symptoms up to the flu, stress, or simply feeling under the weather – they may be much more serious than that.

 


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend that you ensure not only the Master has current First Aid, including CPR but also at least one other person onboard has it as well.

It’s no good if only the Master has First Aid, and they are the one to suffer a heart attack!


Tip

Our number one tip is to have an Automated External defibrillator (AED) onboard for use in the event someone onboard suffers a heart attack.

Working over the side of a vessel involves many risks and can be and has been the cause of serious injuries and loss of life.

When we say working over the side most people think of leaning over the side of the vessel being secured by a safety harness over the side for maintenance, repairs or even cleaning.

Unfortunately, many crew members don’t think of going out on the trawl booms as working over the side, but the fact is you are over the side of the vessel and often in an even more dangerous situation.

Over the years very little attention has been paid to this task but on many commercial vessels it’s a task that occurs regularly and often without safety precautions.

While working over the side while secured by a safety harness, has dangers you are relatively safe in comparison to being out at the end of a trawl boom!

It’s not just trawl booms, other vessels have booms for stabilisers and you can find yourself out on those at times as well due to a number of reasons.

The fact is that all booms represent a hazardous work area no matter what safety features are incorporated. Booms are designed to do a specific job often with little or no consideration of safety.

Booms are usually constructed out of metal tube or pipe which means they are round which presents a problem for walking on, especially in wet and/or rough conditions.

When out on the end of a trawler boom you have a number of hazardous items to contend with while undertaking any task.

Things like stay wires, trawl cables, boards and sleds and nets all present serious risks especially when trying to hang on and walking on a circular platform that is wet and often dipping into the water.

Some trawl booms have grab rails as a safety measure but while helpful you are still at risk when out on the boom so…what safety measures can you incorporate?

In all the Safety Management System manuals we develop for trawlers and other vessels with booms or arms we always include a procedure for working over the side and on trawl booms or arms.

In this procedure we specify the wearing of a Level 150 PFD for persons working over the side and on booms or arms.

Some operators include the wearing of a safety harness when working on booms which is attached to the vessel and while it may seem like a good idea it has inherent dangers.

These include the fact that if you fall off the boom you can end up being caught up in cables or stay wires, being dragged under or even crashed against the side of the vessel in rough weather.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our primary recommendation is to include a procedure for working over the side and on trawl booms which includes the mandatory wearing of a Level 150 PFD for all persons working over the side and especially when going out on trawl booms or arms.


Tip

While having Level 150 PFD’s available it’s critical that they are in good condition and in service. Most PFD’s need to be serviced annually so make sure yours are serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

As lifejackets are subject to harsh conditions including but not limited to exposure to the sun, salt water, weather conditions, etc. regularly check them for damage and either service them or replace them if necessary.

Remember, lifejackets only work if you are wearing them!

While storing chemicals (either onboard or in a workplace) may seem like a minor issue, the reality is it can lead to catastrophic outcomes!

There are specific requirements in relation to handling and storing chemicals. Many chemicals are fine to be stored next to each other, but some are not.

Some chemicals when stored together have the potential to present major hazards including explosion, fire, corrosive actions, etc.

Handling some chemicals can present potential health hazards ranging from minor skin irritations to sever buns, respiratory problems and many other health hazards.

In the workplace it’s easy to have a n approved flammable liquid storage cabinet but onboard vessels (depending on the vessels size) can be difficult. No matter whether onshore or onboard it’s important to identify flammable liquids correctly using a sign like below.

Other chemicals have labels specific to the potential hazard they present, e.g., Corrosive, Oxidizing, etc.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) (previously called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

All chemicals used in the workplace (ashore or onboard) must have a SDS available for all crew and/or workers. The only exception is for domestic products bought of the shelf which are usually in small containers only, not 5 – 25 litres.

The SDS provides all the handling, storage, medical advice, PPE and potential hazards about the product in detail.

Handling chemicals

No matter what the chemical is, whether its and cleaning liquid, de greaser, fuel, etc. always check the SDS for any specific handling information. Identify what, if any PPE is required and do not at any time just go ahead and use chemicals that you are not familiar with or been instructed in their use.

Storing chemicals

Back too the SDS to check the storage requirements of each chemical and to identify if there are any specific requirements relative to that product.

Note that some chemicals can not be stored in close proximity to other specific chemical. Always check that you are not storing any “non-compatible” chemicals together.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

The key recommendation for any hazardous chemicals and/or materials is to read the SDS and at a minimum check:

  • Hazardous identification
  • Potential health effects
  • First Aid Measures
  • Fire Fighting Measures
  • Handling and Storage
  • Toxicological information

By at least checking and following the above information you’ll eliminate potential hazards to yourself, others and the environment.


Tip

The best tip today is to identify what PPE is required and follow those recommendations to eliminate or at least minimise the risk of health hazards to yourself and others.

Don’t just think I’m only using this chemical for a couple of minutes, what’s the harm? The harm is that with some chemicals the potential for health related issues is immediate or close to it!

Are Boils Contagious?

On their own, boils are not contagious. However, the infection inside a boil can be contagious if it is caused by a staph bacteria.

If you or someone close to you has a boil that is actively leaking pus, you should cover it — or encourage them to keep the abscess covered — with a clean bandage.

Can boils spread?

Technically, boils cannot be spread. However, the infection that causes the red bump in your skin is likely caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

This staph bacteria can be spread by contact with other people or with other parts of your body, possibly resulting in boils or another type of infection.

Boils can also be caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This isa type of bacteria that has become immune to some antibiotics, making it harder to treat.

If a boil has been caused by MRSA, you must be very careful to prevent the pus and liquid from the boil from coming into contact with other people.

How do I prevent boils from spreading?

To prevent the infection inside of boils from causing other infection, you must practice good hygiene and care for the infected area.

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Do not touch the infected area more than necessary.
  • Do not share towels, razors, or washcloths.
  • Cover the wound with clean bandages.
  • Do not attempt to pop or lance (cut open with a sharp instrument) the boil at home.
  • Wash the area gently and often with a washcloth, but do not reuse washcloth.

What is a boil exactly?

A boil is an infection that develops inside the hair follicle. Therefore, boils can occur anywhere that you have hair, but are commonly found on the

  • face
  • armpit
  • thighs
  • buttocks
  • pubic area

A boil occurs in the hair follicle and pushes itself up towards the surface of the skin. The bump that results from the boil is filled with pus. If the infection spreads to hair follicles in the immediate area, the boil is classified as a carbuncle which is a cluster of boils.

How do you get boils?

Boils are caused by an infection that develops in the hair follicle. You have a higher risk if you have:

  • come in contact with staph bacteria
  • a weakened immune system
  • diabetes
  • eczema
  • shared personal items with someone who has boils
  • come in contact with surfaces that may carry bacteria such as wrestling mats, public showers or gym equipment.

Boils are not typically sexually transmitted. However, if you come in close contact with someone who has a boil that is leaking, you should wash with antibacterial soap as soon as possible.

You should encourage that person to keep the boil covered. The pus inside of a boil commonly carries contagious bacteria.

How do I treat a boil?

Boils can heal on their own with time, but usually need to drain in order to heal completely.

To help the boil heal quickly, apply warm compresses to the boil to help it open naturally and drain.

Do not pick or attempt to pop your boil as this will allow the pus to come in contact with other surfaces and spread infection. Be sure to keep the area clean and covered with sterile bandages.

If your boil does not heal on its own in two weeks, you may need to have the boil surgically lanced and drained. A doctor will make an incision in your boil to allow the pus to drain. The doctor may pack the wound with gauze to help soak up any excess pus.

Takeaway

Boils themselves are not contagious, but the pus and liquid inside of the boil can cause additional infection to yourself and others. The pus can contain bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus.

If you have a boil, keep the area clean and do not share personal items with other people.

Sharing towels or clothing that touches the area can cause the bacteria to spread to other people or other places on your body, which can result in more boils or other types of infections.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Personal hygiene is our top recommendation to prevent boils from occurring. Commercial vessels all have (or are meant to have) an up to date medical supplies which include the drugs required to treat boils.

If you notice anything that is a potential boil tell the Master immediately so as you can be treated before serious issues develop.


Tip

Personal hygiene is key but so is ensuring you cloths, bedding, towels, etc. are kept clean and free from the bacteria that transmits boils.

Our best tip is to wash your cloths using a medicated anti-bacterial treatment in your washing machine. We strongly recommend using Seabreeze Puro Rinse which has been scientifically proven to kill the bacteria and fungi in your washing machine and your washing including cloths, bedding, etc.  Click Here to purchase for only $23.95 including free shipping!

**Warning: Graphic images are contained in this article!**

There are a range of infections that you can get when working in the tropics but one of the worst is Necrotizing Fasciitis.

So, what the heck is Necrotizing Fasciitis?

Necrotizing fasciitis (NECK-re-tie-zing FASH-e-i-tis) is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.

Necrotizing fasciitis is rarely contagious. It is very rare for someone with necrotizing fasciitis to spread the infection to other people.

There are many types of bacteria that can cause the “flesh eating disease” called necrotizing fasciitis. Public health experts believe group A Streptococcus (group A strep) are the most common cause.

How you become infected!

The bacteria most commonly enter the body through a break in the skin, including:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Burns
  • Insect bites
  • Puncture wounds
  • Surgical wounds

However, people can also get necrotizing fasciitis after an injury that does not break the skin (blunt trauma).

The most common way on commercial vessels is by a puncture wound.

The infection often spreads very quickly. Early symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include but are not limited to:

  • A red, warm, or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly
  • Severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, warm, or swollen
  • fever

Dealing with necrotizing fasciitis!

Common sense and good wound care are the best ways to prevent a bacterial skin infection.

  • Clean all minor cuts and injuries that break the skin (like blisters and scrapes) with soap and water.
  • Clean and cover draining or open wounds with clean, dry bandages until they heal.
  • See a doctor for puncture and other deep or serious wounds.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.
  • Care for fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a very serious illness that requires care in a hospital. Antibiotics and surgery are typically the first lines of defence if a doctor suspects a patient has necrotizing fasciitis.

Since necrotizing fasciitis can spread so rapidly, patients often must get surgery done very quickly. Doctors also give antibiotics through a needle into a vein (IV antibiotics) to try to stop the infection.

Sometimes, however, antibiotics cannot reach all of the infected areas because the bacteria have killed too much tissue and reduced blood flow. When this happens, doctors have to surgically remove the dead tissue. It is not unusual for someone with necrotizing fasciitis to end up needing multiple surgeries. In serious cases, the patient may need a blood transfusion.

Necrotizing fasciitis can lead to sepsis, shock, and organ failure. It can also result in life-long complications from loss of limbs or severe scarring due to surgically removing infected tissue.

Even with treatment, up to 1 in 3 people with necrotizing fasciitis die from the infection. Six out of every 10 people who get both necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome at the same time die from their infections.

Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome is another very serious illness caused by group A strep. It causes the body to go into shock and involves low blood pressure and multiple organ failure.

You may have heard that you can get Vibrio infection from eating raw or undercooked oysters and other seafood. But did you know you can also get a Vibrio infection through an open wound? This can happen when a wound comes into contact with raw or undercooked seafood, its juices, or its drippings or with saltwater or brackish water and can lead to necrotizing fasciitis

One species, Vibrio vulnificus, can cause life-threatening wound infections. Many people with Vibrio vulnificus infection require intensive care or limb amputations, and about 1 in 5 people with this infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Treat all puncture wounds quickly, don’t think they are just a small scratch, and everything will be OK because often it’s too late when it surfaces.


Tip

All commercial vessels have the appropriate drugs onboard to deal with necrotizing fasciitis before it takes hold so tell the Master and have your wounds tended too quickly!

The Shorlink Group has expanded and launched Puro Systems Australia!

Puro Systems Australia was established to undertake research and development in odour control technologies.  Our Directors, Wayne and Charmayne have been instrumental in providing solutions to air quality (odour and bacteria control) within Australia and South East Asia for over 20 years.
  • Developed, manufacture and market odour and bacteria control products to both the domestic and commercial markets.
  • 100% family owned Australian company
  • All products are manufactured in Australia
  • Dedicated to ongoing research into odour and bacteria control
  • All Seabreeze range of products have been tested by a NATA accredited lab
  • Developed a range of products based on essential oils for use in domestic and commercial applications
  • Products have a wide range of applications

We’ve launched our first product today, with the Marine Industry in mind!


Seabreeze 30ml Puro Rinse

Seabreeze Puro Rinse is a highly effective odour and bacteria control product formulated to eliminate odours and bacteria from washing machines.

It provides safe, positive relief from unpleasant odour from washing machines by effectively eliminating the bacteria and fungi in the pump, plumbing, and washing using natural-based products.

It’s been proven highly effective in both the domestic and commercial sectors including hospitality and accommodation industries, health areas, and transport industries.

Puro Rinse based on 3 drops per wash will provide you with up to 400 washes.

This equates to around $0.06 per wash.

Review from a fellow mariner:

Loving the new Seabreeze Puro Rinse product, for years I have been using a fabric softener in my washing but this product not only makes my clothes smell fresh and fragrant but also eliminates odours and removes bacteria from my washing machine to make it hygienically clean. Made from essential oils and being non toxic  means that it’s environmentally friendly, I highly recommend using this great new alternative product.

Visit our website today for more information at

www.purosystems.com.au including Free Shipping!

 

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.

While it’s not a question that most people have considered or even thought about it’s one that vessel owners and operators should. It’s not just vessel Master’s it should be considered for business managers as well.

But staying with the Master scenario what would your crew do if something happened to the Master?

Here’s a couple of examples to get you thinking…

  1. A deckhand on trawler with 2 deckhands onboard walked into the wheelhouse and found the Master lying unconscious on the wheelhouse deck. What should he do?

  1. A charter vessel was on a night time delivery voyage when the mate entered the wheelhouse to relive the Master who was not there. Where is the Master?

 

  1. Onboard a trawler that was working the Mate walked into the wheelhouse to advise it was time to winch up but there was no Master. What happened to the Master?

Do these examples sound strange, well it’s sad to say but all 3 are real life situations that actually occurred!

In scenario 1 the Master had suffered a heart attack (probably due to the crew) and while being attended to by the deckhands the vessel ran aground.

The Master in scenario 2 went into the engine room without letting anyone know (against the SMS procedures) and got his hand caught in machinery causing serious injuries

In the last example the Master simply fell overboard from the wheelhouse deck while checking the wires but fortunately was recovered a short time later.

What do these 3 examples tell you?

Very simply Masters are not bullet proof and therefore every SMS should have a procedure for dealing with an incapacitated Master.

Does your SMS have an Incapacitated Master procedure?

It’s a procedure we put in all SMS manuals we develop and one that’s actually saved lives!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

We strongly recommend ensuring you have a procedure to deal with a Master that’s become incapacitated in any way. You need to take into account potential causes and how to deal with them in the event the Master becomes incapacitated for any reason.


Tip

My tip is to ensure you include the one thing I have NOT seen in every Incapacitated Master procedure I’ve reviewed and that is “what’s the boat doing and where is it”.

Those two things are what can save you from having 1 emergency situation to encountering multiple emergencies.