Safety spotlight on Australia’s fishing industry

A new website, funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), is set to be launched today with a goal to improve safety in one of Australia’s most dangerous industries – commercial fishing.

The Fish Safe website will provide a one-stop shop for those in the fishing and aquaculture sectors looking for information about workplace health and safety.

It was developed through the National RD&E Seafood Industry Safety Initiative, which comprises industry leaders, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the FRDC.

The Fish Safe website was developed by Tanya Adams of safety consultancy Taylored Health and Safety, who said research and a gap analysis identified that while some “pockets” and specific sectors were meeting health and safety requirements and supporting their members, this was not consistent across the industry as a whole.

“The analysis also found many industry leaders have few resources on hand to drive safety and training programs. For some, safety only comes into focus when regulators step in and prevent fishing until a specific issue is addressed, or there is an accident.”

From ready-to-use safety management system templates to news about the latest safety gear, the new Fish Safe Australia website brings together industry relevant information with easy to access and use resources.

The website and resources are designed to help make safety compliance easier for those who are time and resource poor, particularly smaller operators.

For instance, safety management system templates being developed will meet the requirements of the regulator, AMSA, as well as relevant state and territory work health and safety authorities. They will also be tailored to specific fishing gear and methods.

The website, will be promoted and shared through industry podcasts and social media messaging as part of the seafood industry health and safety toolkit project. It will also provide an opportunity for industry to keep up to date on past and current work health safety related research, development and extension projects.

A critical part of the website will be a collection of incident report summaries providing an overview of workplace incidents, contributing events and recommendations to address any issues identified.

This information will be compiled from various government agency reports, coroners’ reports and other sources to provide practical lessons for industry about what can go wrong and how to prevent it.