Fishing Industry Using SeSAFE Modules to Improve Safety Performance

The SeSAFE project is already providing valuable training in safety awareness and performance in the fishing and aquaculture industries, despite only commencing in March this year.

Crew completing questions for a module.

Steve Eayrs, Project Principal Investigator, said that it is pleasing to have such wide-spread interest and enthusiasm in this project so early in the piece.

“It is clear that this project is filling an important need for the seafood industry.”

The core goal of the SeSAFE project is to develop multiple, short training modules that fishers and aquaculture workers complete prior to going to sea.

Over 20 modules have now been completed, each taking around 4 minutes to view. These modules introduce emergency procedures such as man overboard, fire at sea, and abandon ship, and personal safety such as manual handling, hand safety, sun protection, and fatigue management. Additional modules introduce Workplace Health and Safety Law and risk assessment.

At the end of each module users complete three or four simple questions to demonstrate their comprehension of training material.

In recent weeks Australia Bay Seafoods in Darwin has commenced using the modules to train new and experienced crew one boat at a time, including crew from Indonesia.

In between fishing trips, the boat crew meet in a classroom to view all modules with Operations Manager Mike O’Brien.

Mike O’Brien presenting a module to the entire crew.

At the end of each module individual crew members record their answers to the questions in a personal log book, before discussing their answers as a group.

This approach ensures all crew members have the same basic training and it encourages them to discuss where they might need to develop or change onboard safety practices.

“This is an ideal way to bring the guys together and provide important safety training,” said Mike.

The log book for each crew member also serves as a record of training comprehension and completion, and it helps Australia Bay Seafoods satisfy a duty of care requirement toward their crew.

Steve said that it was pleasing to see that Australia Bay Seafoods were the first to use the SeSAFE modules – and so enthusiastic.

“Providing safety training in a classroom setting was not something we originally thought of, but it works fine.”

“It acts as a sort of bonding exercise, and it provides an opportunity for company safety policies to be presented or reinforced,” he said.

The Western Rock Lobster Council has recently agreed to use the SeSAFE modules to provide safety training to lobster fishers, commencing later this year.

According to Council CEO, Matt Taylor, “The western rock lobster industry has a reputation for world class leadership which is now being applied through a new online learning management system that will make our industry even safer.”

Steve said their approach to using the modules will be different.

“The Council will email fishers an invitation to access the modules online, then monitor their progress, retain a record of their results, and develop a data base of who has completed training or needs refresher training.”

“This will be a massive effort, and we are very excited to be working with such a large and innovative fishery. We are also developing a number of fishery-specific modules, such as safe handling of lobster pots and dinghy safety.”

Training the Council in module administration will be provided by 365 Solutions Consulting, a Perth-based company with a long history in business and project management across a variety of industries.

Steve said that it is important to realise the SeSAFE modules are designed to complement at-sea or shore-side safety training.

“For example, the modules complement Elements of Shipboard Safety training, which tends to focus mainly on emergency procedures at sea, and they additionally provide training in personal safety, operational safety, and risk assessment.”

“Since the project started we have been busy spreading the word and demonstrating modules around the country, and are now in discussion with individuals and industry groups representing other fisheries, including prawn, abalone, and pearl. In this way we hope to contribute meaningfully to improved safety practice in the Australian fishing and aquaculture industry, and ensure that everyone comes home safe and sound,” he said.

This project is funded by the FRDC, fishing industry, and AMSA (FRDC Project Number 2017-194), with administration services provided by WAFIC. Further project information and contact details are available at