Occupational health and safety inspectorate
We are responsible for handling health and safety issues for personnel on prescribed ships that are engaged in trade or commerce on international and domestic voyages.
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
- 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
- a ship declared by the Minister to be a prescribed ship.
Operational health and safety inspectorate
We have trained operational health and safety (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. We have the authority to initiate prosecutions for serious breaches which can result in heavy penalties.
We can issue the person in command of the ship with an improvement notice if an inspector finds there is a breach of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 or its regulations.
We 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.
Operators are required to report accidents as described in section 107(1)(a) and (b) of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993. You must also report dangerous occurrences as defined under regulation 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Regulations 1995. All reports must be made to the OHS inspectorate.
Our memorandums of understanding with state occupational health and safety regulators
We have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with state regulators to provide a safe working environment on all Australian waterfronts.
These MOUs set out the guidelines for how we work with occupational health and safety and workplace health and safety regulators for each state and territory to 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.
We have MOUs with the following states:
- New South Wales (WorkCover Authority of NSW)
- Northern Territory (NT WorkSafe)
- South Australia (SafeWork SA)
- Victoria (WorkSafe Victoria)
- Tasmania (Workplace Standards Tasmania)
- Western Australia (WorkSafe WA)
- Queensland (Workplace Health and Safety Queensland - WHSQ)
- The Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulations 2003 sets out requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 and includes hazardous substances (including asbestos); manual handling and confined spaces.
- The Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Regulations 1995 sets out requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 and includes elections for health and safety representatives, advice, investigations and inquiries as well as notices and incident report.
- The Seafarers Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare) regulates the occupational health and safety, provided for by the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993. We are the occupational health and safety inspectorate. We perform functions as provided in section 82 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993.
- The Australian Government Seafarer safety, rehabilitation and compensation authority website has information about: