Does AMSA and the State Workplace Health and Safety regulators work together?  

Yes, AMSA has a memorandum of understanding with most state and territory work health and safety regulators to promote co-operation and collaboration on safety education and compliance. These MOUs assist in determining which agency takes the lead on the investigation of certain incidents.  

As part of this collaborative approach, workplace health and safety regulators have partnered with AMSA on this campaign to present workshops on construction barge safety and conduct joint focused inspections. AMSA will continue to partner with Workplace Health and Safety regulators agencies on safety education campaigns in the future.

Why do AMSA and Workplace Health and Safety regulators use different terminology?  

The terminology used by each regulator relies upon the terms used in their applicable enabling legislation. While the legislative frameworks may have different specific requirements and use differing terminology, both the National Law and workplace health and safety legislation require operators to identify and control their risks and regularly review and update their risk assessment processes to ensure they are appropriate. Both laws require those involved to control risks so far as reasonably practicable which has the same definition.  

What are the crewing requirements for  a construction barge?

High risk work licences are control measures under workplace health and safety legislative requirements and can differ depending on the jurisdiction. The National Law requires operators to complete an appropriate crewing assessment as part their safety management system to determine what type of crew, training and competencies, and/or qualifications are needed to operate a barge and its equipment safely. 

Do barges less than 12m in length need to comply with National Law? 

If they are in commercial use yes. Barges less than 12m in length operating in sheltered waters may be exempt from the requirement to hold a certificate of survey but they still need to meet certain design, construction and equipment requirements including a stability assessment if they have a lifting device or carry a deck load. All domestic commercial vessels need to operate under a safety management system that meets AMSA requirements under Marine Order 504

Do serious incidents have to be reported to AMSA and Workplace Health and Safety regulators?  

Certain incidents need to be reported to both agencies. Whilst AMSA and Workplace Health and Safety regulators agencies do work together to improve safety outcomes, reporting requirements are specified in the relevant legislation.    

Does the responsibility  to report a marine incident sit with the master and/or the owner?  

The responsibility to report marine incidents sits with both the vessel master and the owner under sections 88 and 89 of the National Law. Note that the definition of owner includes the person with ‘overall management and control’ of the vessel. Either the owner or the master of the vessel is required to report the incident to AMSA. 

Can the construction project have the one Safety Management System (SMS) or must be two separate documents to meet both WHS and AMSA requirements? 

AMSA does not prescribe a template for an SMS. The most important factor is that the SMS is relevant to the vessel, reflects the operations being carried out and meets the requirements specified in  Marine Order 504. , The AMSA vessel risk assessment requirements may be covered in a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) if the SWMS covers the operations of the vessel including the key daily tasks performed by the crew.  

Which rules apply to derate a land based mobile crane for use on a barge?  

There is no standard set of rules that are applicable to this activity. A stability assessment needs to be carried out by an appropriately accredited marine surveyor to determine the safe lifting loads and swing radius. This can vary depending on several factors including the particulars of the barge and the mobile crane, the carrying of other deck loads, and environmental conditions.  

Do I need to wear a lifejacket on my barge? 

Vessel owners must consider when a lifejacket needs to be worn by any person on board their barge. For example, if the deck of a barge is not equipped with compliant guardrails, all workers should wear an appropriate lifejacket. This is mandatory for barges with a certificate of survey operating under General Exemption 41 (Marine Safety (Unpowered barges) Exemption 2020), and should be implemented as a control for workers on all barges as part of managing the risk of person overboard so far as reasonably practicable.  

How do I know if my construction barge is a Regulated Australian Vessel (RAV)? 

If your barge: 

  • has any valid certificates (such International Loadline, Safety Construction or Certificate of Survey for a Cargo Ship) issued under the Navigation Act 2012 (other than a tonnage certificate, pollution certificates, an anti-fouling system certificate or a declaration of maritime labour compliance); or  
  • is proceeding on or for use on an overseas voyage; or 
  • has an opt-in declaration (not applicable for 2D, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E and Class 4 vessels) 

it is a RAV and must meet the relevant requirements. These can include specific requirements for cargo handling equipment (Marine Order 32), towing (Marine Order 31) and carriage of dangerous goods (Marine Order 41). A RAV needs to be surveyed by a Recognised Organisation who can also advise of the safety management requirements that apply under the International Safety Management Code. A vessel cannot be a Domestic Commercial Vessel if is a RAV.  

If a RAV wishes to be a DCV it must first relinquish its Navigation Act Certificates to AMSA before National Law certification can be issued. The regulatory requirements for a domestic commercial vessel can be found on the campaign website  here.  

Please note these FAQ’s are general information only, and do not constitute legal advice.