Campaign improving commercial fishing safety

27 September 2018

Sixty percent of fishing crew who have seen Maritime NZ’s and NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen’s safety campaign are making changes to improve safety.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said the campaign, Safe Crews Fish More, started in June last year.

“Our aim is to reduce accidents on fishing boats, and early results suggest that might be starting to happen,” Mr Manch said.

The campaign is reported on as part of the Health and Safety Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2017 conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Maritime NZ and WorkSafe and released today. It is the repeat of a similar survey carried out in 2014.

Mr Manch said workers who had received health and safety training in the previous 12 months reported reduced serious harm and near misses, and improved knowledge of health and safety matters.

The most common thing employers had done to improve safety on board vessels was identifying and resolving hazards. The most common action taken by workers was to ensure they and other crew members were not affected by alcohol or drugs while working.

“Overall, since 2014 there was not much change but in the last year there seems to be the start of improving safety,” Mr Manch said.

“The commitment of the industry to safety is crucial and to be lauded. It is keen to continue working together with Maritime NZ to improve safety.

“Owners and operators accept their responsibility to their employees, and workers accept they are responsible for their own actions and each other when they are on board.

“Half of workers report having health and safety training in the last year, which given the relationship between training and improved safety is good news. However, that also means half did not have training.

“Good work is being done and we need to do more.”

Key findings of the Nielsen 2017 report are:

  • commercial fishing employers are invested health and safety leaders
  • there is still room for improvement when it comes to health and safety culture and communication
  • training is essential to ensure health and safety success
  • action still needs to be taken to reduce risk in the workplace
  • there is a disconnect between workers and employers, with workers reporting more serious harm and near misses than is reported by employers
  • almost six in ten workers are aware of Maritime NZ. Of those aware, six in ten think Maritime NZ deserves their support and half say Maritime NZ is doing a good job.

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