New Laws For Working Down The Hatch

Federal Govt regulates work in confined spaces like ship holds

The Government made new safety Regulations this month, titled Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 1)

The purpose of the Regulations is to protect the occupational health and safety of those who are required to enter or work in confined spaces in the maritime industry. They place a variety of duties on operators of prescribed ships and prescribed units and on their employees in order to achieve this aim.

Under the new regulation management is required to 

·        ensure that competent persons prepare detailed, written risk assessments relating to work in a confined space;
·        undertake risk elimination or control measures;
·        ensure that emergency procedures are documented and practised;
·        issue detailed permits to work before anyone enters or works in a confined space and providing appropriate training.
 
Employee duties will include entering and working in a confined space only when identified in a valid permit to work, working in a confined space in accordance with the training they have received and reporting matters that may affect an operator's compliance with the regulations.
 
The Regulations set the penalties for any breaches at 10 penalty units(a penalty unit equals 110, s4AA Crime Act 1914 refers)

The Regulations contain a number of strict liability offences (means they don't require fault element of an offence). These are designed to promote occupational health and safety and serve the public interest. They do not carry penalties of imprisonment.