Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Occupational health and safety inspectorate

Health and safety in the maritime workplace

AMSA is responsible for health and safety issues for personnel on prescribed ships that are engaged in trade or commerce on either international or interstate voyages.

Prescribed ships

A prescribed ship is:

  • a ship registered in Australia
  • a ship engaged in coastal trading under a general licence within the meaning of the Coastal Trading (Revitalised Australian Shipping) Act 2012 (Cth)
  • a ship (other than the above) on which the majority of crew are residents of Australia and which are operated by persons or firms which have their principal place of business in Australia or are incorporated in Australia; or
  • a ship declared by the Minister to be a prescribed ship.

OHS inspectorate

AMSA has trained OHS inspectors who perform a range of functions, including audits, investigations of accidents and dangerous occurrences, issue of improvement and prohibition notices, advising employers on their duty of care as well as provide advice on health and safety matters. AMSA has the authority to initiate prosecutions for serious breaches which can result in heavy penalties.

Improvement notices

AMSA can issue the person in command of the ship with an Improvement Notice if an inspector finds there is a breach of the OH&S(MI) Act or its regulations.

Prohibition notices

AMS can issue the person in command of the ship with a Prohibition Notice if an inspector finds there is a threat to health or safety.

Reporting requirements

Operators are required to report accidents as described in section 107(1)(a) and (b) and dangerous occurrences as defined under regulation 4 of the OHS(MI) Regulations to the Inspectorate. You can find more information about submitting accident and dangerous occurrences reports on our website.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between AMSA and State Occupational Health and Safety Regulators

AMSA has Memorandums of Understanding with state OHS/WHS regulators to provide a safe working environment on all Australian waterfronts.

These MOUs set out the guidelines for how AMSA and OHS and WHS regulators for each state and territory will respond to health and safety issues on vessels and wharves. The MOU separates work applications of the parties, where this is possible. The MOU also seeks to clarify who has jurisdiction in different circumstances, and provides a mechanism for determining responsibility where responsibility may be unclear.

AMSA has MOUs with the following states:


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