The Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA) announced today will work to reduce workplace injuries, illness and fatalities in the fishing industry.
A news release also notes it will promote safety education and awareness initiatives. The NL-FHSA was formed jointly by the provincial government, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC), and the Professional Fish Harvesters’ Certification Board (PFHCB).
“This association represents a tremendous co-operative effort from the fish harvesting sector and will have a genuine impact on the safety of the women and men who fish for a living in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Paul Davis, Minister of Service NL and Minister Responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission.
“The industry experts involved in the creation of this organization represent all aspects of the fish harvesting industry and have the depth of knowledge and the experience required to improve safety and save lives at sea.”
The provincial government is providing $500,000 to support the association. The fish harvesting industry, made up of industry representatives, the PFHCB, the Fisherman’s Benefit Trust, is contributing $585,000, and the WHSCC is contributing $253,060.
“In the past decade we have made significant progress in the area of fishing vessel safety – particularly in terms of fish harvesters’ ability to survive accidents at sea,” said Mark Dolomount, Executive Director of the PFHCB.
“Despite these improvements, the number of workplace injuries and fatalities remain alarmingly high. With a sole mandate to improve fishing vessel safety, and a primary focus on prevention, we are confident that the NL-FHSA can take fishing vessel safety in this province to a whole new level.”
There have been 23 deaths related to the fishing industry since 2005 and more than 1,000 accidents resulting in time away from work over that period. In addition, a total of $98 million in claim costs and claim liabilities have been paid or accrued in the fish harvesting sector since 2005 by the WHSCC.
The association comprises 13 board members nominated by their stakeholder group and appointed by the Minister of Service NL. Eleven voting board members will represent the fish harvesting industry. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the WHSCC will each be represented by one ex-officio member.