Oberon Class Submarine Occupational Hygiene Project
The final report, Oberon Class Submarine Occupational Hygiene Project, was submitted by the Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health to the Australian Government Department of Defence on 28 February 2006. The study retrospectively developed an exposure profile for the submariners. This was done by triangulating information from many sources, including available scientific and technical literature, assessment of the decommissioned HMAS ONSLOW by two senior occupational hygienists and two focus group sessions with Submariners.
Although documentation of occupational hygiene assessments during operation of the Oberon Class Submarines was very scarce, the report detailed numerous hazards experienced by the submariners. These include air quality, including diesel fumes and exhaust, carbon monoxide and lack of oxygen, psychological, musculoskeletal and noise hazards.
On 10 November 2006 representatives from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA), Department of Defence and Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health met with members of the Submariners Association at the Sydney DVA offices to discuss the reports findings. Representatives of the Submariners Association indicated that they felt the report was an accurate reflection of the nature of workplace conditions faced by submariners.