Industry: Fishery | Company size: 11-50 employees
Over the past four decades, Austral Fisheries established itself as one of Australia’s largest integrated commercial fishing companies. Its deep fishing and sea prawning activities are spread across local and international shores, including Australia’s sub-Antarctic territories and Norwegian Seas.
The organization also sources quality sustainable seafood through its Seafood Solutions division. By 2017, Austral was responsible for producing 10% of the prawn sold by Coles and Woolworths, and 10% of Patagonian toothfish sold worldwide. Its Glacier 51 toothfish and Skull Island Tiger Prawns are especially acclaimed, winning awards including the ABC Delicious Produce Award.
However, what makes Austral Fisheries unique is its dedication to sustainable fishing. In addition to having two of the most sustainable fisheries in the world, it is one of the pioneer carbon neutral fishing companies. Certified under the Carbon Neutral Program, it proactively balances the amount of carbon released (mainly from diesel fuel on vessels) with offsetting activities such as revegetation activities.
For Austral Fisheries, the safety and well-being of its workforce is its highest priority. According to its Safety Manager, Oli Krcoski, the enterprise is constantly improving its safety culture and training to meet the Occupational Health and Safety regulations governing its industry. In fact, in 2018 alone, the enterprise was committed to spending around $500,000 on activities which improve health and safety in the workplace.
The biggest challenge, however, was ensuring workers’ safety on fishing vessels at sea. Despite employing the latest safety management systems, monitoring safety behaviors on a regular basis was a challenge.
Monitoring is mandatory as behaviors such as working on deck without protective gear can expose fishermen to risks. Communicating behavioral safety risks in a timely manner is also a priority for Austral. In addition to saving money, lives and reputation, effective risk communication contributed to the development of training materials which further improve the culture of safety awareness.
Austral Fisheries contacted us to create a solution which improves its safety culture. Its main goal was to create a mobile forms app which ensures the transparency of safety, especially on vessels. Miracle Mobile mobilized 14 safety forms used on Austral vessels, including:
- Vessel Safety Induction
- Near Miss Report
- Portable Fire Extinguisher Inspection
- Safety Meetings
- Job Safety Analysis
The forms were made available via the standard Miracle Mobile App. To access these, users have to enter the app code (alpha-numeric combination unique to a group of forms) associated with Austral Fisheries’ app and their login credentials.
The forms were designed to achieve quicker, more accurate data collection through controls such as Image Capture and Pickers. The quicker turnaround of safety reports enabled decision makers back on the shore to help the crew address high-risk behaviors and events. In addition to saving time and contributing to faster decision-making, this capability ensures the safety of inspectors, especially while the vessel is in motion.
Upon submission, a copy of the filled form would be sent to a personnel in charge (e.g. supervisor) in PDF format. Another copy of the data would be submitted to a database hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). These measures ensured the safety of data, and created a digital trail which allowed leads and health and safety officers to prove compliance.
Complementing the capabilities of the mobile forms were Miracle Mobile App’s own features. The offline capabilities of the app allowed safety inspectors to conduct audits even when their devices were not connected to WiFi or LTE. The latest Outbox Status Alerts feature further ensured timely submission by alerting users if their forms remain in the Outbox due to an error or inability to submit to the server within an hour.
The Miracle Mobile app has enabled the capture and submission of safety incidents, hazard and induction data from the vessel directly to head office. The uploading of the critical data means we can manage safety more productively and cost effectively.
Another advantage the sustainable fishery reported was compliance. When surveyed under regulation, Austral’s vessel Eubalaena impressed surveyors as Miracle Mobile App was compliant with the company’s safety management system.
By the first half of 2019, form submissions were over 60 times more than 2018’s. These, in turn, helped Austral Fisheries save around $5,160. With more forms coming our way, we believe they can save even more as they create an easy-to-audit documentation trail sans paper.
Austral Fisheries has been enthusiastically testing its mobile forms app. By 2019, the fishery rolled out the forms to a larger group across multiple vessels. According to its management, skippers were able to complete forms quicker and ensure timely submissions even in remote regions.