The National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) has released for public comment a draft standard on the arrangement, accommodation and personal safety requirements on board commercial vessels.
The new National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part C, Section 1 – Arrangement, Accommodation and Personal Safety to replace and update relevant provisions in Subsections 5E and 5F and Sections 6, 7 and 18 of the USL Code.
NMSC Standards Team Leader, John Henry, said the draft standard deals with safety issues that all stakeholders can relate to, whether they are commercial vessel designers, builders, owners and operators – and the greater public.
'Issues such as the requirements for passenger seating, sanitary arrangements, escape and evacuation routes and consideration of access for the disabled affect ferry users on a daily basis,' John Henry said, 'likewise, measures that help avoid accidents such as requiring adequate field of vision from the helm and providing accommodation that will also help avoid crew fatigue will have a direct impact on public and worker safety'.
NMSC’s Principal Technical Adviser Mori Flapan coordinated the Reference Group composed of government and industry stakeholders that drafted the standard.
'The new draft standard replaces a number of the older 1970s standards with modern practices, both within Australia and internationally,' Mr Flapan said. 'The document also proposes the extent to which the new accommodation standards contained in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 are to be incorporated into the requirements of the NSCV'.
Safety issues addressed by the standard include minimum clear deck heights; heights for guard rails and bulwarks; the provision of gangways for safe movement on and off the vessel; personal protection; dangerous machinery; and the arrangement of navigation lights and signals.
The release of the draft standard and Regulatory Impact Statement for public comment provides each stakeholder with the opportunity to review the proposals to check that they are relevant and practical.
Mr Flapan stressed that the comments received are taken seriously. 'Each comment is considered by a reference group comprising both industry and government representatives,' he said.
'This is your chance to influence the standards making process that will shape important aspects of the safety of domestic commercial vessels in Australia for decades to come'.
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