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May 4, 2012
CPL Max Bree
A JUNIOR sailor has received a
national safety award after finding
several contradictions in two publica-
tions designed to keep flight crews
LS Natalie Irvine won the Best
Individual Contribution to Workplace
Health and Safety by an Employee
category of the Safe Work Australia
Awards held at Parliament House in
Canberra on April 26.
Each time a Seahawk helicopter
takes off from an Anzac frigate, it can
be exposed to dangerous radiation
from the ship's antennas.
However, during her time on
HMAS Parramatta, LS Irvine found
stark differences between two publica-
tions that dictated how an Anzac frig-
ate's antennas should be configured
to avoid radiation hazards during helo
"Every emitter had something dif-
ferent specified in each publication,"
"One emitter was 180 degrees
completely the other way round.
"Every emitter (position) on the
Anzac class had to be changed."
LS Irvine thought the problem
would be passed up the chain of com-
mand; instead she was put in charge of
getting it right.
With radar experts writing one
book and aviation specialists respon-
sible for the other, LS Irvine got eve-
ryone involved working on the same
"We had to send it back three or
four times for changes before they got
it right," she said.
"I wanted to see it through to the
end, so I'd know what I was trying to
say actually got through."
Her CO was also on hand to make
sure there would be no issues with
rank while then-AB Irvine got the
problem under control.
"I had a fantastic CO at the time,"
"As an AB no one wanted to listen
to me so it was good having a com-
mander back you up."
DEFENCE and the Department of
Veterans' Affairs (DVA) are on the
way to improving the support system
for wounded, injured or ill members in
That was a key message from a
report released on April 23 on the
review of current practices for the
Support for Injured or Ill Project
Head People Capability MAJGEN
Gerard Fogarty said the report con-
cluded that the current system is
generally good, and results indicated
a high return to work rate for rehabili-
tated ADF members.
"It also recommends that outcomes
would be improved through a more
coordinated and integrated approach to
health care and support," he said.
Defence and DVA have started
a second phase of work to continue
improving the system.
Renamed the Support for Wounded,
Injured or Ill Program (SWIIP) to rec-
ognise those wounded during combat
operations, it aims to deliver consist-
ent support to wounded, injured or ill
personnel during their service and after
transition from the ADF.
A key SWIIP initiative is the
On-Base Advisory Service, placing
specially trained DVA staff at more
than 35 bases. SWIIP will ensure ADF
personnel are provided with electronic
health records to simplify their transi-
tion to civilian life and help streamline
interaction with DVA.
The SIIP report can be found at:
Chair of Safe Work Australia and
the judging panel chair, Tom Phillips,
applauded LS Irvine's perseverance to
improve health and safety practices.
"LS Irvine's personal commitment
to improve health and safety on board
HMAS Parramatta is nothing short of
outstanding," Mr Phillips said.
"Her tenacity and determina-
tion to overcome barriers of rank to
improve safety of aircraft aboard not
only assigned to HMAS Parramatta
but the wider fleet, is an example to
all employees of how through per-
sistence, meaningful results can be
Before receiving the national
award in Canberra, LS Irvine was also
honoured with a Commander's Award,
Navy Safe Award and a Defence
PROUD ACHIEVEMENT: LS Natalie Irvine, of HMAS Albatross,
receives her award for Best Individual Contribution to Workplace Health
and Safety from Safe Work Australia chair Tom Phillips.
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