Occupational health and safety inspectorate
Health and safety in the maritime workplace
AMSA is responsible for health and safety issues for personnel on prescribed ships that are engaged in trade or commerce on either international or interstate 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 (Cth)
- 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; or
- a ship declared by the Minister to be a prescribed ship.
AMSA has trained 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. AMSA has the authority to initiate prosecutions for serious breaches which can result in heavy penalties.
AMSA can issue the person in command of the ship with an Improvement Notice if an inspector finds there is a breach of the OH&S(MI) Act or its regulations.
AMS 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) and dangerous occurrences as defined under regulation 4 of the OHS(MI) Regulations to the Inspectorate. You can find more information about submitting accident and dangerous occurrences reports on our website.
Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between AMSA and State Occupational Health and Safety Regulators
AMSA has Memorandums of Understanding with state OHS/WHS regulators to provide a safe working environment on all Australian waterfronts.
These MOUs set out the guidelines for how AMSA and OHS and WHS regulators for each state and territory will 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.
AMSA has 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 OHS(MI) Act 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 OHS(MI) Act 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 [the OHS(MI) Act]. AMSA is the OHS inspectorate and performs functions as provided in Section 82 of the OHS(MI) Act.