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1. Purpose

This document articulates the Marine National Facility (MNF) Policy relating to Health and Safety.

MNF Granted Voyages (GV) must comply in full with the requirements of this policy. User Funded Voyage (UFV) applicants should note that any proposed deviations will be considered in accordance with the Principles of Access to RV Investigator policy, and may impact on the risk rating and subsequent costing of any sea time offered.

2. Background

With two thirds of Australia underwater, at nearly 14 million km2, we have the third largest marine jurisdiction globally and Australia has sovereign rights over much of this vast estate and associated fishing, mineral and petroleum resources.

These resources and their associated industries underpin the vitality and sustained success of the Australian economy. For example, in 2009 the national value of production across all marine-based industries was valued at AU$42.3 billion, contributing to more than 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

This contribution is expected to increase significantly over the coming years to approximately AU$100 billion by 2025 through the expansion of existing and new industries associated with renewable energy (e.g. waves, wind and tide) and food (e.g. aquaculture and fisheries). Underpinning the growth and sustainability of ocean-based industries for future generations, marine research supports and informs evidence-based decisions by all stakeholders.

3. Marine National Facility (MNF)

Funded by the Australian Government since 1984 and overseen by an independent Steering Committee, the MNF provides a keystone element of the nation’s research infrastructure by providing a blue-water research capability to Australian marine researchers and their international collaborators for work in Australia’s vast marine estate.

Through merit based grants of sea time, research undertaken through the MNF contributes to Australia’s national benefit and, through the research users of the MNF, provides key information to government, industry and other stakeholders to support evidence-based decision-making. Research use is focused on challenges in fisheries and environmental management, geological resources, regional and global climate, coastal and offshore developments and marine operations.

4. RV Investigator

In 2014 the MNF commissioned a new purpose-built 94 m multi-purpose research vessel (RV) Investigator, providing a step change in Australian marine and atmospheric research capability. RV Investigator has greatly increased capacity over the previous MNF vessel Southern Surveyor and can carry out voyages from the tropics to the Antarctic ice edge with up to 40 scientists on-board and spending up to 300 days per year at sea on voyages up to 60 days in duration.

RV Investigator also hosts an extensive suite of state of the art scientific research equipment and is one of a handful of research vessels globally designed for very quiet operation with the ability to undertake acoustic mapping and sampling to the deepest parts of our oceans. Accordingly, the commissioning of RV Investigator has significantly increased the ability of the MNF to address rapidly increasing demand in the national interest.

5. Commitment to Health and Safety

The MNF has a strong commitment to health and safety.

Our goal is to create working and living conditions that safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, our partners and the communities in which we operate. There are many risks involved in working on a research vessel at sea and in port and it is therefore important that everyone works towards minimising those risks.

The following requirements help facilitate this goal:

5.1 Alcohol and drugs

  • The possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the MNF vessel.
  • Voyage participants should not be affected by alcohol when entering ports or boarding the vessel.
  • The possession or consumption of illegal drugs is prohibited.

5.2 Behaviour

  • Voyage participants are associated with the MNF and their behaviour needs to reflect the expectations of their home organisation, CSIRO and the marine research community. Maintaining goodwill and promoting the endeavour of marine science is important to ensuring future support for the MNF and the services it provides.
  • Offensive behaviours such as discrimination, bullying and harassment are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at sea, in port or during any other periods associated with a voyage. Any offensive behaviour should be reported immediately to the Voyage Manager, Chief Scientist or the Master.

5.3 Incidents

  • All incidents and near misses need to be reported immediately to the Chief Scientist, Voyage Manager or Master.

5.4. Inductions, musters, and briefings

  • After joining the MNF vessel, an induction, muster and briefing will be carried out which are compulsory for all voyage participants.
  • Musters may be called at any time and are compulsory to attend.

5.5. Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • There are additional risks to mental health and the wellbeing of voyage participants associated with increased isolation, fatigue, anxiety and work pressures on voyages of varying lengths and operational areas. To address this, the MNF Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy and mandatory on-line training covers the full voyage lifecycle (including pre/post voyage) for scientific voyage participants.
  • For further details on the MNF Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy please visit here.

5.6 Infectious diseases and pests

  • No person should come on board if they have an infectious disease or a pest infestation that during the course of normal voyage activities could put the health of other voyage participants at risk.

5.7 Multi-level medical clearances

  • Except for short trips from port, all participants on MNF voyages will be required to pass a medical examination. The scope of this examination will depend on the availability of emergency medical services in the vessel’s area of operation.

5.8 Toolbox meetings

  • To facilitate a safe and effective operation on the vessel, such as the deployment of equipment items, a toolbox meeting is held beforehand to plan the operation. Toolbox meetings are compulsory for those involved with the operation.
  • Toolbox meetings may also be held at other times.

5.9. Voyage participant’s equipment and supplies

  • There are safety and regulatory requirements for all equipment and consumables brought on board the vessel, and how they are used and stored once on the vessel. Voyage participants are responsible for meeting these safety and regulatory requirements which will be identified during the voyage planning process.

Our goal is for everyone to come home safely after experiencing an exciting and productive voyage.

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