Tag Archive for: Work Systems

I’m regularly asked, “what’s the difference between an enclosed space and a confined space?”

SO…here’s my response…

What is Enclosed Space?

An enclosed space is defined as any enclosed space that has limited openings for entry or exit, inadequate ventilation and is not designed for regular occupancy.

Because of the lack of ventilation within enclosed spaces, these areas generate and store toxic gases that are either produced from chemicals within the place or from leakage out of surrounding pipelines.

Air movement is almost entirely limited, meaning any flammable atmosphere is unable to be dispersed.

What is Confined Space?

A confined space is any enclosed or partially enclosed space with normal atmospheric pressure not designed or intended to be occupied by a person.

Confined spaces are likely to contain an atmosphere with unsafe oxygen levels and can often contain contaminants such as airborne gases, which can cause injury or death.

Similar to that of enclosed spaces, the possibility of engulfment within confined spaces is very real. Thus, it is crucial that occupants of confined spaces have a strong understanding of precaution, working safety equipment and solid communication processes with colleagues in place.

Examples of confined spaces include pits, underground sewers, tunnels, wells, tanks, etc.

On your vessel

As you can see from the above both have a lot of similar properties therefore require a number of the same safety precautions. Below are the four most prevalent hazards when entering enclosed or confined spaces.

  1. Fuel fumes: Fumes from fuel, in particular gasoline are a major hazard. Highly volatile and a leading cause of marine related explosions and fires, gasoline fumes, which are heavier than air, can easily accumulate in a vessel’s bilge due to improper refuelling or fuel system leaks. There, it’s only a spark away from causing a fire or explosion.
  2. Liquid Propane Gas (LPG): LPG vapor is heavier than air and tends to “flow” like water, seeking the lowest possible point. As a boat’s hull is essentially a watertight envelope, escaping LPG can be trapped in bilges or other low areas, where they can rapidly accumulate to explosive concentrations.
  3. Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially lethal gas produced when burning any carbon-based fuel (e.g., gasoline, wood, propane). CO is colourless, odorless, and tasteless, and mixes evenly with air, meaning it readily travels throughout a boat’s interior spaces. CO enters the body through the lungs and is readily absorbed into the bloodstream, where it displaces oxygen levels in the body and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  4. Hydrogen Sulfide: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colourless, toxic gas that is also flammable and highly corrosive. Symptoms of H2S exposure include skin and eye irritation, headaches, loss of balance, nausea, delirium, tremors, and convulsions. Inhalation of high concentrations of H2S can lead to rapid unconsciousness and death. H2S gas occurs naturally during the breakdown of organic matter.

How do I stay safe?

The first question is to ask, “is it an enclosed or confined space?”

Question number two is “what hazards are there when I enter the space?”

Let’s look at a couple of different scenarios for enclosed spaces…

  1. The bilge space of a vessel under 35mtr. My quick check list
  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • ventilate the space
  • check if there are any noticeable fumes
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch
  1. The engine room on a vessel under 35mtr. This depends on if the engine room has ventilation/ extraction fans. My quick check lists follow…

With fans:

  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch

Without fans:

  • open the relevant hatch, ensure the hatch is fully open and secured in place
  • ventilate the space
  • check if there are any noticeable fumes
  • advise another person that I’m entering the space
  • have a person stand watch(if necessary)

Confined Spaces

NO person should enter a confined space without the appropriate training. It’s critical that if you have confined spaces on your vessel you have a dedicated procedure for entering them. The key steps for entering any confined space are:

  • Ensure any person entering the confined space has the appropriate training
  • Complete a “Confined Space Entry Permit”
  • Undertake a Risk Assessment (this is part of the Entry Permit)
  • Ventilate the space
  • Test the air quality using certified testing equipment
  • Having lighting equipment available if required
  • Use breathing apparatus if required
  • Ensure clear communications
  • Ensure there are rescue procedures in place

This list is not comprehensive but only a guideline for entering confined spaces


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is if you have confined spaces on your vessel or in the workplace ensure you have a procedure for entry and the required equipment and documentation available.

Failure to complete a Confined Space Entry Permit, including a Risk Assessment leaves you in a dangerous position in the event of an incident.


Tip

If you have confined spaces our tip is to have at least one person trained in confined space entry available. In the event entry is required you have a qualified person available to deal with potential hazardous issues.

The alternative is to have a person or company readily available if the need arises!

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

This is a safety reminder to business operators to review their contingency plans for the 2021-22 cyclone season.

Employers in control of workplaces in cyclone sensitive regions must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook (link is external), the cyclone season runs from November to April.

Each year an average of three tropical cyclones occur in the Northern region and an average of four cyclones occur in the Eastern region.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology the Norther region has a 57% chance of more tropical cyclones this season while the Eastern region has a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones.

Cyclones can isolate workers by cutting off access to emergency services, roads, transport, power, infrastructure and communications.

Cyclonic weather conditions increase hazards to crew members and workers and may devastate commercial vessel operations and shore-based businesses!,

Commercial vessel and business operators must prepare response plans for the likely risks of cyclones.

Operators must also coordinate the plans for sites with multiple employers by appropriately training all workers.

“All crew members and employees must know exactly what actions to take in the event of a cyclone.”

Employers in control of workplaces should consider the following:

  • Develop emergency procedures and plans
  • Regularly review training and include the plan when providing on-site inductions.
  • Detail site-safe actions to be undertaken at all levels of cyclone warning phases. For example: remove or restrain loose objects or structures; have step-by-step plans for the safe evacuation of workers; and have clear communication protocols established for reaching all personnel on-site during all cyclone alert warning phases.
  • All transportable buildings on worksites in cyclone sensitive regions are to be adequately secured including accommodation units, dongas and offices.
  • Plan for a safe and orderly evacuation of non-essential personnel prior to worsening conditions e.g., during the blue and yellow cyclone warning phases.
  • All personnel remaining on-site during the cyclone should move to an appropriate designated shelter well in advance of the arrival of the cyclone.
  • Adequate food, drinking water, medical supplies and other essential items are to be available for all isolated workers.
  • During the red alert cyclone warning phase, a reliable emergency backup communication is to be available for contact with external emergency services.
  • Cyclone warnings are monitored via radio, television or the Bureau of Meteorology websites. Battery-powered radios are to be available in the event of power interruptions on site.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you operate a vessel or a business in cyclone regions you should have a procedure in place which covers all warning phases including:

  • Pre-cyclone
  • Cyclone watch
  • Cyclone alert

If in doubt or unable to complete, please contact our office for assistance.


Tip

Our best tip is if you don’t have a cyclone procedure in place – contact our office for assistance.

In addition to a cyclone procedures, it’s wise to have a Continuity Plan in place in the event your vessel or business suffers damage or loss not only due to a cyclone but any other major event.