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ATSB – more than just plane safety

 I recently welcomed the re-appointment of Noel Hart as a Commissioner with the ATSB. Noel brings to the ATSB a lifetime of maritime-industry expertise as a qualified and experienced Master Mariner.

Noel’s re-appointment is a strong reminder that the ATSB is more than an aviation investigator. While aviation is a big part of our business, our focus also remains steadfastly on maritime and rail safety.

Over the last year we completed seven complex investigations into safety-related maritime incidents. Some of these involved death and serious injury. Most could have been avoided. 

Mariners don’t always get second chances. They work at heights and with potentially dangerous machinery that, with just a little inattention or complacency, can injure or even kill.

Just recently, we released an investigation report into an accident where two crew members were seriously injured by a falling load spreader on board Happy Buccaneer in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

One of the crew was pinned under the load spreader and he fractured both legs. The other crew member suffered fractures to his lower left leg. Both men required extensive surgery. Tragically, one also had his right leg amputated below the knee.

What we found in this accident, like so many before it, is that that the people involved in the task did not properly identify and take steps to manage the risks involved before the work started.

Mariners don’t always get second chances. They work at heights and with potentially dangerous machinery that, with just a little inattention or complacency, can injure or even kill.

And we’re finding that incidents like this happen all too frequently. Marine work practices is an ongoing concern that we address through our SafetyWatch initiative.

I look forward to continuing my work with Noel and the other commissioners, Caroline Walsh and Chris Manning, to improve safety across the transport industry.

Watch a video on Marine work practices.

Written by Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner at 1:00 PM

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