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Industry-led Fisheries Safety Association to Help Save Lives at Sea

28 September 2012

CANADA - The establishment of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA) will lead to the promotion of safety education and awareness initiatives, and will work to reduce workplace injuries, illness and fatalities in the fishing industry. The NL-FHSA is a joint venture of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 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 Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety 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.

“Significant progress has been made in the fish harvesting sector in recent years – crews are better trained, individuals wear personal flotation devices more frequently, and there is more safety information available than ever before,” said Darin King, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “I am confident that the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association will further improve safety practices that will help reduce injuries and loss of life.”

The NL-FHSA will conduct a detailed analysis of program and training requirements which will set the foundation for strategic priorities, communication and consultation. Following the completion of this analysis, the association will focus on the creation of education and awareness programs for fish harvesters.

“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.

Every worker has the right to participate in the conversation about workplace safety, and creation of the NL-FHSA will enhance that right throughout the fish harvesting sector,” said WHSCC CEO Leslie Galway. “Every worker also has the right to return home safely after work. Fulfilling that promise is the ultimate goal of this association and I am confident this group will work diligently and expertly to achieve that goal.”

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.

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