Award recognises safety and innovation

Petty Officer Nathan Austin, left, and Lieutenant Ryan Webb inspect one of the ventilation fans on board HMAS Adelaide at Garden Island, Sydney. Photo: Able Seaman Sittichai Sakonpoonpol

Award recognises safety and innovation

HMAS Adelaide has been recognised with a 2020 Work Health and Safety Award for improving safety for personnel and extending the service life of some of the ship’s key components. 

The engineering team for the landing helicopter dock (LHD) designed and implemented new fan shrouds after a critical failure of the ship’s fan blade in 2017.

The innovative new design ensures debris is contained in the event of catastrophic fan failure.

Commanding Officer Adelaide Captain Jonathan Ley said the award, in the “early intervention” category, was proof that the wider LHD enterprise was seeking innovative solutions to meet seaworthiness outcomes. 

“I am proud of the strong Adelaide reputation and legacy, particularly towards our approach to innovation that affords our people the confidence to put forward ideas knowing that the LHD leadership will support them and follow through,” Captain Ley said.

“This culture improves our availability and in this case significantly improved our safety and gives confidence to the crew to operate these fans to achieve amphibious operations.” 

Since the incident and remediation work, Adelaide has recorded a 50 per cent reduction in fan-related defects, while the risk to personnel conducting work near the fans has been eliminated.

Commander Engineer Adelaide Commander Thomas Doherty praised the efforts of the engineering team and the wider LHD Enterprise Group, including industry partners. 

“The success of this innovative work conducted by the LHD Enterprise sets an excellent example of fixing problems to achieve the mission, while keeping the safety of our people at the forefront,” Commander Doherty said. 

“It has reduced the amount of defects being experienced on these large and critical fans, saving Defence money and providing better availability.” 

Navy’s amphibious combat and sealift systems program office also won a 2020 WHS Award in the “prevention” category. 

Its award acknowledged the fitting of engine pre-heaters to LHD landing craft in order to prevent exposure of personnel to excessive diesel exhaust.

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