Mandatory emergency plans must be practiced
It sounds like a no-brainer, but some crews are still reluctant to practice, or review, their emergency plans and procedures.
The main objectives in emergency planning are to ensure that:
- everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency
- preparations for potential and unexpected incidents at the workplace have taken place
- sufficient resources are available to ensure that injured persons are provided with appropriate medical attention
It sounds pretty straight forward, but official data shows many workplaces have no emergency procedures in place, or if they do, do not practice them regularly.
Under the WA work health and safety legislation, and the AMSA marine safety legislation, the owner of a vessel must ensure that there is an emergency plan in place to protect anyone in the event of an emergency. It is encouraged that emergency plans procedures be developed in consultation with the workers to ensure they have input and understand what to do.
The emergency plan must also form part of the training and induction of all crew.
In developing a plan, consideration should be given to the range of potential emergencies that could plausibly affect the workplace.
For a fishing vessel, the obvious emergencies are:
- person overboard,
- falls from heights,
- injury from fishing gear (cuts, crushing, entanglement),
- injury from fish species (sea snakes, Irukandji jellyfish, sharks), and
- sickness (heart attack, stroke).
The law also says you must run practice sessions for all the above emergencies throughout a season or whenever there is a change of crew aboard the vessel.
As one crew member said, “I need to know that my mates on the boat know how to save me! No use me being over the side in the middle of the night, and then find out they did not know how to get back to get me back onboard, or that they simply didn’t know how to use the fire extinguisher, and I am down below in my bunk!”
The owner of a trawl vessel said, “I treat our crew as if it’s my son/daughter out there, and I want to know they are as safe as possible in all situations, especially emergencies!”
You can find more information here.
AMSA emergency procedures training and drills are available here.