By editors Kate Cook, Elaine Wambeck and Sam Witton
Welcome to the second edition of Workplace Safety News for 2011, our occupational health, safety and security team's newsletter designed to keep you informed on key events in the industry. This edition focuses on lessons learnt from disasters, a topic at the forefront of the media and all our minds given recent devastating disasters such as the Queensland floods in Australia, the earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. For more information on this topic and how we can assist with business continuity planning, please contact a member of our safety team.
The Safety of Nuclear Power
By Caroline May, Fiona Reilly, David Beckenham
Is Nuclear still safe
As at the date of writing this article, workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan are working to contain the nuclear contamination risks from the incident in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. This has put the safety of nuclear power in the spotlight once again. Governments around the world are reviewing their health and safety programmes and in Europe a safety assessment of Europe's 143 nuclear power reactors is being undertaken with the Member States adopting a precautionary principle.
In recent years, nuclear has been seen as a key contributor to Europe's climate change commitments. The events at Fukushima have given cause for reflection and review. The implications for the nuclear sector are unclear but it is possible that higher design and risk assessment standards may be imposed on an industry that already identifies safety as its highest priority.
Events in Japan
Nuclear incidents are measured against the International Atomic Energy Authority's (IAEA's) International Nuclear Events Scale (INES) and are classified on a scale of one to seven. Levels 1–3 are called "incidents" and Levels 4–7 are "accidents". In rating an incident or an accident three areas of impact are considered: (i) people and the environment; (ii) radiological barriers and control; and (iii) defence in depth. The incident at Chernobyl is the only event to ever be classified as a 7.
The initial event at Fukushima was originally classified at 4 but this was subject to review. As at 18 March each of units 1 to 4 at Fukushima has been given their own INES rating ranging from 3 to 5. Units 5 and 6 are undamaged and remain in cold shutdown.
International Nuclear Safety
The IAEA, and, in Europe, Euratom keep a watchful eye on the safety of all nuclear plant. Countries who are party to the Euratom Treaty and/or are members of the IAEA agree to disclose/submit information on the use of nuclear materials. This is one of the ways in which the organisations help to make sure the international market can be scrutinised to ensure it is meeting its safety requirements.
The IAEA has published 10 fundamental safety principles which bring together an international consensus on the high level of safety required for the sustainable use of nuclear power. These principles are:
- the prime responsibility for safety must rest with the person or organization responsible for facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks;
- an effective legal and governmental framework for safety, including an independent regulatory body, must be established and sustained;
- effective leadership and management for safety must be established and sustained in organizations concerned with, and facilities and activities that give rise to, radiation risks;
- facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks must yield an overall benefit;
- protection must be optimised to provide the highest level of safety that can reasonably be achieved;
- measures for controlling radiation risks must ensure that no individual bears an unacceptable risk of harm
- people and the environment, present and future, must be protected against radiation risks;
- all practical efforts must be made to prevent and mitigate nuclear or radiation accidents;
- arrangements must be made for emergency preparedness and response for nuclear or radiation incidents; and
- protective actions to reduce existing or unregulated radiation risks must be justified and optimized.
It is incumbent on the leadership and management of each Member State and the operator to develop an awareness of safety and the encouragement and enforcement of a safety culture throughout an entire nuclear programme. However it cannot be overemphasised that everyone involved in a nuclear project carries some degree of responsibility for safety.
The IAEA's safety principles also reflect the provisions established in a number of the International Conventions1.
In addition to the international organisations, each country has regulatory authorities whose job it is to audit all nuclear installations and to ensure compliance with the highest safety standards.
These regulators assess the competence of potential operators of nuclear sites; issue licenses to carry out nuclear activities; audit the operators of sites; and have powers to impose sanctions on operators.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the primary regulator in the USA. The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation is the primary nuclear regulator in the UAE and Rosatom and Rosenergoatom are the primary nuclear regulators in Russia.
In the UK the situation is slightly difference in that a wider number of different organisations are responsible for ensuring the nuclear operators comply with the highest standards. These include:
- The Nuclear Directorate (ND) (part of the Health and Safety Executive) seeks to maintain and improve safety standards for work with ionising radiations at licensed nuclear installations. It does so through its licensing powers by assessing safety cases and inspecting sites for licence compliance. It sets national regulatory standards and helps to develop international nuclear safety standards.
- The Department for Transport (DfT)'s Radioactive Materials Transport Team and Transport Security and Contingencies Directorate in conjunction with the ND ensure the safe and secure transport of radioactive materials by road and rail and civil nuclear security.
- The Nuclear Directorate's Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) is the security regulator for the UK's civil nuclear industry. It is responsible for approving security arrangements within the industry and enforcing compliance. OCNS conducts its regulatory activities under the authority of the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR 03).
- The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for assessing radiation doses to the public from nuclear sites and to ensure it conforms to legal limits. The EA regulates the use, storage and disposal of radioactive materials to protect the public and the environment. The EA also gathers long term information on radioactive concentrations and trends so that any changes (e.g. in radiation levels in sea waters or the ground) can be identified.
Generic Design Assessment
One of the key issues for Japan's regulators is to assess whether the Fukushima plant was designed to the correct standards. It should be remembered that the plant was designed in the 1950s and entered operation in the early 1970s. The plant was designed to the safety standards of its era and to be capable of withstanding seismic events (as all nuclear plant are).
Design safety has evolved since the 1970s and the controls on new nuclear designs are much higher. Modern nuclear technologies have multi-layered safety systems which offer huge improvements over older designs.
The assessment of any new build nuclear power stations will include issues surrounding natural disasters. Regulators will not licence the building of any new stations unless they are satisfied that safety is assured.
In the UK a generic design assessment process (GDA) has been introduced which is applied to all designs which may be built in the UK before a potential operator can apply for the design to be reviewed again as part of a nuclear licensing application. The GDA is carried out by the ND and the EA.
Similar processes are used around the world to assess new reactor designs. Regulators share the results of those assessments to ensure compliance with the highest safety standards through committees and organisations such as the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA).
Japan's experience in Fukushima will need to be taken into consideration in any design assessments in the future.
The need for nuclear in the Energy Mix
Recent events in Japan have raised public concerns about the possibility of similar events taking place in Europe and have forced a reassessment of nuclear safety in the EU. Regulators across Europe are to conduct "stress tests" on nuclear risks including the assessment of possible damage by earthquakes and flooding. The European Commission is in the process of preparing EU wide assessment criteria which are expected to be ready by June 2011. The tests themselves are expected to be concluded by the end of the year. These tests will take account of the age and location of each nuclear power station and would assess the integrity of the safety systems and structures around which the stations have been constructed.
The results of the stress tests and lessons learned from Fukushima will clearly need to be taken into consideration in designs and risk assessments in the nuclear industry moving forwards. This may increase the costs for the industry in the short term, but to give the general public the confidence in a much needed resource, it is a cost the industry will need to bear.
1. The Convention on Nuclear Safety; the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; the Convention of the Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident; the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency; the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management; and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
Japanese food exports in the wake of the nuclear crisis2
Just over a month ago, the largest quake in Japanese history struck the north-east coast of Japan and triggered a tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Tohoku and southern Hokkaido3. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima Plant) was subsequently damaged and high levels of radiation have been reported in surrounding regions. This much has been widely reported; however, one thing that is not so apparent, is the effect that the nuclear crisis has been having (and will continue to have) on Japanese food exports, particularly fresh produce. This article considers the international guidelines on radionuclide levels in food and some recent regulatory responses to the nuclear crisis.
Following the explosions at the Fukushima Plant, the local Japanese food safety inspection authorities were directed to investigate and monitor radionuclide levels to identify potential food safety risks in the affected areas. Significantly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported the presence of radioactivity in some vegetables and milk above Japanese regulatory limits4.
Radionuclide levels in internationally traded food following a nuclear emergency are governed by internationally agreed guidelines, specifically, the Codex General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (Codex Guidelines5. These guidelines are published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Commission), which was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. According to the Commission, the Codex standards have become an integral part of the legal framework within which international trade is being facilitated through harmonisation.6
The Codex Guidelines stipulate that when radionuclide levels in food do not exceed the corresponding guideline level, the food should be considered as safe for human consumption.7 However, the Codex Guidelines go on to state that when guideline levels are exceeded, national governments shall decide whether and under what circumstances the food should be distributed within their territory or jurisdiction.8
One such national response has been Australia's Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ)9; recent request to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to institute testing of some foods originating from the following Japanese prefectures: Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi. Significantly, these foods include fresh or frozen seafood, seaweed, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables. 10
Importantly, the Australian regulatory approach appears broadly consistent with the international approach to Japanese food imports following the nuclear crisis. However, the approach in the European Union (EU) appears somewhat broader, with feed and food originating in or consigned from 12 Japanese prefectures (including, amongst others, the 5 prefectures the subject of the Notice) required to be tested before leaving Japan and subject to random testing in the EU.11In addition, the EU requires all feed and food products from the remaining 35 prefectures to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin and also requires random testing on arrival in the EU. 12 Like Australia, the EU has indicated that these are only precautionary measures and that they consider the food safety risks for EU citizens due to the Japan nuclear crisis to be low.13
This broader approach by the EU might in some ways reflect the closer proximity to, and greater awareness of, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident of 1986. In the instance of Chernobyl, various regulatory measures were introduced (some immediately following and some in the 20 years since) to protect consumers from contaminated foodstuffs. Despite these measures, a report released by the Chernobyl Forum in 2005 (Report) found that radioactive iodine fallout was one of the main health impacts of the accident.14The Report found that drinking milk from cows eating contaminated grass immediately after the accident lead to high doses to the thyroid of children, and to many children subsequently developing thyroid cancer.15
Notably, despite finding an increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer in children, the Report found that, by and large, there had not been a profound negative health impact on the rest of the population in surrounding areas, nor was there widespread contamination that would continue to pose a substantial threat to human health.16Perhaps this is a testament to the regulatory measures that were put in place at the time by the affected areas and by the wider international community.
2. The authors would like to thank Nathan McKinnon, paralegal, for his assistance with this article.
3. World Health Organisation, "Media Centre: Japan Earthquake", http://www.wpro.who.int/media_centre/jpn_earthquake/main.htm, at 7 April 2011.
4. World Health Organisation,, FAQ: Japan nuclear concerns (5 April 2011), http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index.html, at 7 April 2011.
5. Codex General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CODEX STAN 193-1995).
6. Codex Alimentarius Commission, Understanding the Codex Alimentarius 3rd ed (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2006), p 38. Accessible: ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/Publications/understanding/Understanding_EN.pdf
7. Codex, above n 4.
8. Codex, above n 4.
9. FSANZ is a joint independent statutory agency established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (Cth). It is charged with developing food safety standards and provides a surveillance function monitoring global risks. The AQIS is responsible for preventing the entrance of foods not meeting the standards set by FSANZ.
10. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, "Safety of food from Japan", http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/scienceandeducation/factsheets/factsheets2011/safetyoffoodfromjapa5110.cfm, at 5 April 2011.
11. Council Regulation (Euratom) No. 3954/87 (OJ L 371, 30, 12, 1997, p. 11).
12. Council Regulation (Euratom), above n 10.
13. Council Regulation (Euratom), above n 10.
14. World Health Organisation, The Chernobyl Forum 2003-2005: Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendation to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine,(second revised version, 2006), p 13. Accessible: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf.
15. World Health Organisation, above n 13.
16. World Health Organisation, 'Chernobyl: the true scale of the accident', http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/index.html, at 6 April 2011.
Insuring disasters. Ensuring safety.
By Michael Tooma and Sam Witton
Recent natural disasters highlight the need for an integrated approach to be taken to the way in which we think about planning for, and responding to, natural disasters. In particular, light has been thrown on insurance requirements in the wake of natural disasters.
Planning for disaster
In the earthquake which hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch in February 2011, the level of destruction was directly linked to the design and construction of the buildings. Similarly, the impact of the flooding in the Queensland capital, Brisbane, was increased by the planning and construction of homes in low-lying, flood prone areas. Further, the location of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan has demonstrated that the risk of seismic activity needs to be a key element in the planning of future nuclear reactors.
The approval process for infrastructure must therefore consider the vulnerability and exposure of the asset to natural risks.
The dilemma of insurance
The response to floods across the Eastern states of Australia in the summer of 2010 has been similar to other large floods such as the flooding of the German city of Dresden in 2002 and the flooding of Carlisle in the UK in 2005. In each case, governments have stepped in where individuals have either not been privately insured or where private insurance coverage has been inadequate. Such steps create a dilemma. Government intervention means that the incentive for an individual to be adequately insured is weakened; so too is the incentive to implement measures to reduce the risk of damage.
If local authorities believe that that the State or Federal Government will provide coverage where they have failed to, a local authority's efforts towards risk prevention may be weakened. Local planning laws, controlled by local authorities, are a prime example. The approval of development on flood plains may be granted in circumstances in which an insurer deems the property uninsurable and a property owner will be encouraged to develop the property if the property owner knows that the Government will step into the place of their absent insurance. In addition, building designs may change if all risks are to be covered. Where once the raised pole house was a typical design in Queensland, the brick and tile single story dwelling had, at the time of the floods, become the norm in Brisbane's surrounding suburbs.
One of the primary roles of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry is to inquire into "all aspects of land use planning through local and regional planning systems to minimise infrastructure and property impacts from floods".
Changes have been proposed to residential building standards with an Interim Residential Flood Level now being set. In addition, changes are proposed to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements which make Commonwealth funding dependent on the State having in place self-help strategies including appropriate insurance and disaster mitigation.
On 4 March 2011, The Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, announced a wide ranging review into disaster insurance in Australia. The National Disasters Insurance Review will include a review of the extent of, and reasons for, non-insurance and underinsurance for flood and other natural disasters in Australia.
Appropriate planning and insurance strategies are required to ensure that people are not unnecessarily exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Even though a local authority may have the legal authority to authorise building in flood plains and even though insurance exists to compensate victims, it is important to continue to question whether our actions place us at risks to our health and safety because of the imbalance created between the natural and human environments.
Flight Risk – Industrial manslaughter
By Maria Saraceni, Elaine Wambeck and Cara Leavesley
On 1 June 2009, Air France's flight AF447, from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 passengers and crew on board.
Nearly two years after the aviation tragedy referred to as "Air France's deadliest" and the "worst accident in French aviation history". Air France has struck turbulent times again having preliminary charges of manslaughter filed against it. AirBus (the plane's manufacturer) has been similarly charged.
The definitive cause of the crash remains unknown. However, investigators are closer to ascertaining the cause of the accident having recently recovered the black boxes nearly two years after the accident. The filing of the preliminary charges (pre-dating the recovery of the black boxes) permits the French judiciary to conduct further investigations into the incident, on the basis that there is sufficient reason to suspect wrongdoing. This is before deciding whether or not to send the case to trial.
A likely cause of the crash is said to be the icing over of the 'pitot tubes' (a pressure measurement instrument used on aircrafts to measure the airspeed of the aircraft), when they iced over, gave inaccurate speed data and caused the plane to fly into a deadly thunderstorm.
Allegedly, Air France knew that the tubes were predisposed to icing over, before the crash, and failed to take any action in response to the serious safety concerns between 2008 and 2009. Reportedly Air France had experienced 15 similar incidents with the pitot tubes.
Charges at light speed?
The charges against Air France and AirBus came shortly after Continental's conviction for the 2000 Concorde disaster.
In December 2010, Continental Airlines was convicted of "manslaughter by a legal entity and unintentional injuries", after its flight from Paris to New York in 2000 crashed and killed 109 passengers. The conviction came some 10 years after the crash.
Continental was fined over €200,000, ordered to pay Air France €1,000,000 for damage to reputation and 70% of any damages awarded to the families of the victims and the plane's manufacturer, EADS (who is AirBus' parent company) was ordered to pay the remaining 30%.
- Industrial manslaughter is fast becoming a global hot topic, with local and national governments without legislative provisions (including Western Australia) debating whether or not to expand existing criminal and safety legislation to include industrial manslaughter provisions.
- The increase in manslaughter charges has far reaching implications for aviation industry officers and directors and more broadly the transport industry's risk management and safety regimes.
- It is a timely reminder that now more than ever it is essential
- respond immediately and appropriately to any safety or health concerns and non-compliance with regulatory regimes;
- actively pursue and follow up on incident reports and safety information; and
– treat safety as a normal part of a business' corporate governance regime.
Employee safety and business continuity
By Kristopher Cook
Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many businesses operating in the region have concerns over the stability of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the availability of fuel and basic supplies, power failures and damage to public infrastructure and communications systems. Organisations continue to face difficult decisions about whether or not to evacuate their employees and operations to other locations.
Japan plays a central role in the global technology, banking and finance industries and many foreign companies have significant operations in the country. Some organisations have already activated their emergency response plan (ERP) and business continuity plan (BCP) and relocated expatriate employees and their families from directly affected areas and the greater Tokyo region, to Osaka in southern Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. With the recent floods in Australia and civil unrest across the Middle East, organisations should now take the opportunity to look at their own practices, understand their risk exposure and review their plans to protect people and critical processes.
An ERP is essential to minimise employees' exposure to harm and disruption to business operations. The safety of employees must be paramount in the development and implementation of an ERP. Organisations should document a comprehensive plan that provides for a timely and flexible response to crisis events. An effective ERP should identify how to get employees to and from safe locations or evacuation points. Strategies to communicate with employees are essential and should include both paper and online access to the ERP. Central reporting and management of events and alternative methods of communication such as satellite technology or public announcements should also be provided for in the ERP.
Continued operations will be impossible without a strong BCP and a solid technology platform to communicate with employees and support remote operations. The situation in Japan has caused major damage to communications systems— highlighting the importance of having a BCP that includes a contingency for remote IT access. Once employees have been relocated, access to IT resources will allow business operations to continue.
Japan lives under the constant threat of earthquakes. Businesses operating in the region should have considered the possibility of a seismic event in their ERP/BCP and employee safety training. However, some might not have considered the possibility that employees could be exposed to airborne radiation from damaged nuclear reactors following an earthquake.
The recent events in Japan highlight the need for organisations to conduct a comprehensive risk and vulnerability analysis in the development of their ERP and BCP. Employees working in areas prone to serious events must receive adequate safety training and clearly understand, and have confidence in, the organisation's response strategy. Response plans should be regularly reviewed, monitored and tested to ensure they are current.
An ineffective response to a crisis event can lead to employee health issues, health and safety liabilities, increased insurance premiums, loss of reputation, disruption to business, and the closure of operations. Careful planning and communication, and a flexible response can minimise risks to employee safety and interruption to business operations.
For more information please visit the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency's website at http://www.arpansa.gov.au/News/MediaReleases/JapanAdvisory.cfm
Run into the ground; dog tired and dangerous: An update on the Final Report of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau into the Shen Neng 1 incident
By Michael Tooma and Sophia Christou
The report of the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 provides an important reminder of the need to manage fatigue in the workplace.
On 24 March 2010, the Chinese registered bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoal. The shoal is part of the Great Barrier Reef, a declared world heritage marine park (and the largest World Heritage area in the world) off the coast of northern Queensland.
At the time of the grounding, the carrier was transporting 68,000 tonnes of coal from Australia to China. During the incident, the ship's hull was damaged, resulting in the loss of approximately 2 1/2 tonnes of fuel into the sea. The salvage operation following the incident lasted 2 months, after which the ship was towed back to China.
An investigation into the incident by the ATSB culminated in its Final Report, released in April 2011. The Report made a number of recommendations in line with its findings; these were directed to the ship's management company, Tosco Keymax International (TKI), and to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Recommendations to TKI focused upon:
- the lack of an effective fatigue management system on the vessel; and
- the lack of guidance for the crew in proper use of the ship's passage plans, including GPS and other electronic guides.
Lack of fatigue management plans
The absence of fatigue management guidelines in the ship's Safety Management System (SMS) was found by the ATSB to be a significant contributing factor to the incident.
The ship's chief mate was engaged in a navigational watch at the time of the grounding. In the 38 1/2 hours preceding the incident, he had had only 2 1/2 hours' sleep. A succession of errors in procedure leading to the grounding was traced to the chief mate's fatigue by the ATSB. Errors included his failure to check times for altering the ship's course, relying on an inappropriate course chart, forgetting that the course alteration point had been changed on the paper chart but not entered into the GPS route plan, and relying on the warning systems of the GPS, which were rendered ineffective due to the amended route plan.
The incident provides a stark reminder of the dangers of fatigue.
What pressures led to the chief mate's fatigue?
In comments to the ATSB, Maritime Safety Queensland noted that the loading rates at Australian export terminals have increased dramatically in recent years.17
Coal is a key resource loaded at the Gladstone port where the ship commenced its passage to China. Rates of loading (6000 tonnes per hour at Gladstone's Clinton terminal) have a direct bearing upon the price of this commodity. Consequently, crews engaged in loading coal are conscious of maintaining high loading rates at terminals and ensuring that this is not slowed by errors on their part.
The chief mate of the Shen Neng 1 had closely supervised the loading process prior to departing from Gladstone. He decided to extend his work hours to do this, and did not adhere to the minimum rest hours for watchkeepers set out by the ship's SMS. He was not forced to rest and it appears that inadequate support was offer by way of a back up mate to take over the chief mate's role.
What requirements should the Shen Neng 1 have adhered to?
The minimum rest requirements set out in the ships SMS were based on international standards set out by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Convention) and the Seafarers' Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Code (STCW Code). The STCW Convention and STCW Code emphasise the importance of managing watchkeepers' fatigue as a vital element in vessel safety.
Despite having a procedure for watchkeepers' rest hours in place, the SMS for the Shen Neng 1 did not provide the crew with any practical guidelines or advice in respect of how the crew were to discharge their obligations under the SMS.
In addition, the ATSB found that the requirement for the crew to record their work and rest hours, for the purposes of monitoring and audits, was ineffective. The chief mate had recorded his hours in a way that seemed to comply with the STCW Code and would not reflect badly on himself or his management of the Shen Neng 1. That is, he was responsible for recording his own time with no oversight of this recording process.
What recommendations did the ATSB make?
The ATSB recommended that TKI address each of these issues by reviewing fatigue management systems, practical guidance and training for crew and record inspection processes.
What are the wider implications?
Elaborating on regulations under the STCW Convention, the STCW Code sets out a combination of mandatory standards for fatigue management on vessels and recommended guidance on implementing these.
However, outside of the shipping industry, the issue of fatigue management is not addressed by proposed OHS legislation in Australia. Neither the Model Work Health and Safety Act, nor the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations, (both of which are due to enacted nationally on 1 January 2012) provide for the management of worker fatigue in situations where alertness, decision making and judgement are vital to safe work practices.
Workers who are unfit for their duties due to fatigue present a substantial danger to themselves and others in the workplace, as well as potentially causing incidents with substantial economic and environmental costs.
The Shen Neng 1 grounding stands as a strong reminder of the importance of comprehensive workplace fatigue management systems, encompassing appropriate worker guidance and training, and effective record keeping and auditing processes.
17. Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Marine Occurence Investigation No. 274 - Final Report Independent Investigation into the grounding of the Chinese registered bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 on Douglas Shoal, Queensland (3 April 2010), p. 18 Acessible: https://www.atsb.gov.au/meida/2478832/mo2010003.pdf
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