Tag Archive for: Work

Remember that hazards are NOT risks!

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

Systematic approach to the management of hazards and associated risks.

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

The risk management process includes:

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

Assessment of the risk

  • the likelihood
  • the consequence

Control of the risk

Using the hierarchy of control measures in order of preference

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

Risk Identification

A couple of common risks:

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

Risk assessment

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

The second step is to the probable consequences.

The two key factors for risk assessment are:

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

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

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

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

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

Risk control

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

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

Risk Control Hierarchy

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

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

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

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

Administrative controls: includes training and education

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

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


Shorlink’s Recommendation

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

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


Tip

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

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

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

Commercial fishing vessels and some other vessels have refrigerated holds which may be set to anywhere from 0°C to 3°C on average. Freezer holds can go from -2°C to -60°C or even lower in some cases.

So how safe is it to work in these holds?

 

If you follow a series of proven steps it’s very safe and crew have been doing it for years but…there are a few hazards that need to be monitored.

If you’re working in a refrigerated hold where the temperature is 0°C to 3°C on average there is no real need for all the PPE unless you’re going to be there for an extended period.

Working in a freezer hold is a whole different world where temperatures from -2°C to -60°C or even lower are maintained PPE is essential.

How does your body respond to the cold?

While this newsletter is about refrigerated holds this part is also relevant to being in the water!

When the body is exposed to the cold, it responds in two way to reduce heat loss:

  1. By constricting the blood vessels in the skin and extremities (fingers and toes) to keep your core as warm as possible: and
  2. By increasing the metabolic heat product rate, either by physical work you are doing, or by shivering. Shivering is an independent way of increasing your heat production through as it increases oxygen consumption and reduces your effectiveness.

As your body responds in these ways, it is using more energy than it would in ambient temperatures. Hence, it is burning food and drink faster and will tire faster.

The serious risks of working in cold environments

If you stay in cold environments for extended periods of time and/or are not wearing suitable protective clothing, your body may be at risk of more serious implications. These can include:

  • Frostbite. This is where the fluids in the body tissues actually freeze, causing permanent damage to the skin. Body parts at the most risk to this are the extremities; fingers, toes, the nose and the ear lobes.

  • Hypothermia. This is where your body temperature decreases significantly (below 35°C) and can ultimately (and quickly) lead to death. Early symptoms include confused though processes, loss of general motor control, slurred speech, aggressive shivering and a perception the victim feels hot. Hypothermia is rare in cold storage however and can be avoided through protective clothing that is adequate, and importantly, not damp or wet.
  • Long term conditions. Conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and bronchitis are commonly associated with the cold, and may only come out years after working in the cold. Muscle and tissue damage can also occur.

Other factors for cold storage facilities

Cold Stores and Warehouses often have poor ventilation, which presents a hazard. Any gases or contaminants, such as LPG or fumes from forklifts, will not easily escape and could be dangerous for those working in the room.

Another thing to consider is ammonia is often used for refrigeration which can be deadly, should there be a leak on site. If you are worried about any irritating smells inside the cold store you should report them quickly to your supervisor.

Another area to focus on is door openings between different areas. Because of the changes in temperatures or conditions, ice/water/condensation can build up in these areas, making them extremely slippery and dangerous.

Back to the boats!

It’s critical that if you have cold storage on your vessel that you have a procedure to ensure the safety of your crew when entering and working in the refrigerated hold.

Here’s a few key point to observe:

  • Always notify someone that you are about to enter the refrigerated hold
  • Ensure you have another crew member in attendance while you are in the hold
  • Prior to entry ensure you have the appropriate PPE
  • Test the space prior to entering if you have the appropriate gas meter
  • Be aware of refrigeration gas, remember it colourless, odourless and can kill you. While some newer gases are less potent than the older ones still remain alert at all times
  • While working in the refrigerated hold the hatch must be left open
  • Do not enter a refrigerated hold if you see a crew member fall down due to refrigeration gas poisoning

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendation is if you have refrigeration onboard it’s wise to carry an Emergency Life Support Apparatus (ELSA). By donning the ELSA, you have 15 minutes (or other time based on the brand) which allows you to enter the hold to rescue a crew member safely.


Tip

If you have refrigeration onboard remember it’s not just the refrigerated compartment that presents a potential problem. It may be the engine room or other area where the refrigeration equipment is located. So, at all times remain aware of potential refrigeration gas leaks.

Whether a commercial or domestic vessel, when you are the Skipper/Master, you are responsible.

Skippers are responsible for:

  1. The Safety of their Vessel
  2. All those on board
  3. Other water users operating nearby

Skippers have direct control over the major factors which contribute to incidents on the water, and must do their part to reduce incidents and deaths by:

  • Taking control.
  • Always observing the regulations.
  • Meeting the safety requirements for their vessel.

SKIPPER RESPONSIBILITIES CHECKLIST

      • Check the weather and tides. If in doubt about any of the conditions, don’t go.
      • Tell someone where you plan to go and when you intend to return. If your plans change, let them know.
      • Make sure your boat is suitable and capable of making the trip.
      • Carry all necessary supplies such as fuel, food and water in case of an emergency.
      • Study a chart or local boating guide of the waters you intend cruising.
      • Are you familiar with the many dangers on the water?
      • Check for rocks or submerged obstructions and various speed limits and local laws.
      • Ensure that all safety equipment is operational and in easy reach.
      • Let everyone know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works.
      • Check, and double check, that your craft is not overloaded.
      • Check that your marine radio works.
      • Maintain boat stability by centrally loading your boat.
      • Make sure you and your crew can handle the boat properly.
      • Be sure lifejackets fit all passengers properly and are in easy reach, in bad weather, when boating alone, if you are a weak swimmer or when you are not comfortable they should be worn at all times.
      • Consider the needs of all of your passengers. Do they have any special medical problems? Are they prone to sea sickness?
      • You can delegate various jobs to people on board, this adds to the fun of a voyage as well as giving every person a sense of responsibility.
      • A final check of basic mechanics. Has there been regular maintenance, particularly on the steering gear?

Shorlink’s Recommendation

It’s very simply recommendation this week.

Know your responsibilities, respect them.

Every Skipper in the marine industry should adhere to not only the AMSA and Department of Transport regulations, but your own/companies as well.  Please ensure all staff are aware of these.

Make sure yourself and your crew understand your responsibility as the Skipper and always adhere to your commands.  These commands are to protect and ensure your responsibility is met at all times.

 


Tip

Either download, print, laminate and display the Skipper Responsibility Checklist on your vessel.

Or email us today for a copy.

Well, here we are again at the end of another year and what a year it’s been! Not only for the maritime industry but all industries worldwide.

Tourism has suffered incredibly due to border restrictions which has flowed through to so many service providers. Although there has been a huge downside to the pandemic there has also been many upsides as well.

Vessel owners have been able to complete outstanding maintenance and a number have undertaken refits and improvements to their vessels and operations. We’ve also seen a lot of operators bringing their SMS manuals into line with MO504 and the NSCV which is a good thing for safety.

Here at Shorlink we’ve been focused on expanding our onboard training services which is an initiative we started years ago.

Owners and operators are starting to realise the benefits of having an external provider undertake “vessel specific” crew inductions and emergency response training.

We have been receiving great feedback on our training services including many participants saying they get more from our onboard training then they get from other sources!

To ensure we continue to meet the demand and deliver the best possible training services we’ve taken on a new trainer, Lindsay Hutton.  Lindsay has a wealth of maritime experience and is fully trained in our systems and delivery methods and is now a valuable asset to the company.

As the Managing Director, I have been focused on expanding the company to cover not only commercial operators but also the recreational sector.

Although its been my focus I have to give full credit to our wonderful administration officer, Tracey McManus who has not only taken a huge load of my shoulders but been instrumental in developing the marketing which has helped Shorlink grow in all facets.

I can openly say that Tracey is an administration wonder and marketing guru! Since she joined us just over a year ago she had to learn a new industry and all of the systems Shorlink has in place and Tracey has adapted so well and is an integral part of the Shorlink team.

Our overall business focus has been on our service offering including our managed services which have received a great industry response.

We can email out a pack which includes all of the services we provide. Contact our office today to get yours!

With the boarders opening I’ve travelled near and far to complete SMS handovers, action our management requirements and along with Lindsay deliver onboard training. It’s been exciting to get back into it after all the lockdowns and boarder closures.

What does 2022 look like for Shorlink and the maritime industry in general?

For Shorlink we’re moving into an exciting time of business growth by expanding not only our management and training services but also our Occupational Health and Safety systems for maritime based businesses.

I believe it’s also going to be a good year for the maritime industry with borders reopening and tourism starting to get moving again. In talking with a number of our clients they are excited with the growing numbers of bookings and the potential of getting back to full-on business.

It’s also good news for the commercial fishing industry with restaurants reopening and seating getting back to normal the demand for fresh seafood is on the rise which is great news for the industry in general.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendation is to put the past 2 years behind you, look forward to 2022 and get going!

While things are getting back to the new normal, I further recommend taking a close look at your business and/or operations to see where and how you can better adapt to the ongoing business climate.

While there’s been a lot of heartache for many there is a lot of opportunities for those who are prepared to adapt so…go forward and prosper!


Tip

My top tip is to ensure your safety management systems comply with the relevant standards and are up to date to ensure you’re protected as both AMSA and WorkSafe are going to be very active in the new year.

As always, feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email – if you want to check in, making sure you are AMSA compliant and how you can adapt and grow your business/operations too!

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!

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.

Watchkeeping and watchkeeper responsibilities!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every SMS should have a watchkeeping procedure which includes:

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

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


Shorlink’s Recommendation

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

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

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

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


Tip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Shorlink’s Recommendation

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

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


Tip

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

Whether you believe it, or not psychological risks exist in every workplace and the maritime industry is no exception.

Before I get into this topic I have to admit that it is one close to my heart as I’ve lost many friends and a few family members to suicide, most of which were in the maritime industry so…please take it seriously!

In maritime there are a number of contributing factors based on what sector you operate in, a few of these you may recognise…

  • extended time away from home
  • adverse (bad) weather
  • poor catch rates for fishing operators
  • increasing closures for commercial operators
  • low prices for fishing operators
  • unhappy and/or complaining passengers
  • increasing restricted zones for charter operators
  • ever increasing governmental requirements
  • marine incidents
  • alcohol/drug abuse

The above list was prior to COVID-19 which has added extra pressers on operators including…

  • potential business failure due to restrictions
  • limited numbers for charter operators
  • crew movement from interstate
  • issues with working between various states
  • further low prices for fishing operator’s

If you think that these issue only affect owner’s you need to think again! Crew members can suffer from these issues which then has the potential to led to psychological distress.

Here’s a few stats from a National Health Survey conducted for the year 2017 to 2018.

  • Around one in eight (13% or 2.4 million) adults experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • One in five (20.1%) or 4.8 million Australians had a mental and behavioural condition
  • 2 million Australians (13.1%) had an anxiety-related condition
  • One in ten people (10.4%) had depression or feelings of depression

Now if you take into account COVID-19 these numbers increase significantly.

Work is a big part of our lives and continually changes. It is in everyone’s interest to understand, to be proactive and to actively support people (this includes crew members) whatever the original cause or trigger.

While most people can recognise they have a problem, be it anxiety, depression or at worst suicidal tendencies they usually fail to seek help.

It’s up to everyone and in particular owners, managers and Masters to be actively involved in addressing mental health issues in the workplace.

The problem is generally due to a lack of understanding, lack of training and lack of support for workers (including crew members) experiencing mental health issues.

The good news is that it doesn’t need to be hard and doesn’t always require qualifications or massive programs.

By simply having a work environment where people feel safe to talk about psychological health, to raise things and to have conversations is the key.

Talking about these things helps everyone understand they are not alone, and it can reveal solutions.

Leaders in the field report that a psychologically healthy workplace is where an organisation:

  • Establishes trust and respect amongst its members;
  • Values employee contributions;
  • Communicates regularly with its employees; and
  • Takes employee needs into account when creating new initiatives.

We should also add to this list “good work design” as the way our work is designed affects how we feel about our job and can influence whether we feel motivated, engaged, bored or stressed at work.

When we all share the knowledge, have some skills and abilities to detect signs and symptoms around psychological health and offer the appropriate support everyone benefits including the organisation!

Also note that under Work Health and Safety a business owner/operator has the primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and other people are not exposed to psychological health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our primary recommendation is to take the time to understand psychological health, especially if you’re a non-believer as it may save not only someone’s life but also your business. Psychological distress can cause serious workplace accidents which have the potential to cause serious financial and emotional issues for all parties and… they may have been avoided

Take the time to be able to identify the signs of psychological distress and how to initiate a conversation with that person not only for that person but yourself as well!


Tip

If you or someone you know is with or you think they may be suffering from psychological distress including anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts urge them to contact a health professional.

Beyond Blue call 1300 22 46 36
Lifeline: 13 11 14

If you’re unsure about what to do or just need to talk about your situation don’t hesitate to contact Wayne directly on 0423 313 790 as he have considerable experience in this area and is here to help!