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Health and Safety on Floating Fish Farms

by 5m Editor
13 February 2006, at 12:00am

By The Health And Safety Executive - This publication gives advice on the design, construction and safe use of floating fish farm installations including fish pens or cages, walkways, gangways, vehicle ways,land access ways, shelters and associated equipment.

Health and Safety on Floating Fish Farms - By The Health And Safety Executive - This publication gives advice on the design, construction and safe use of floating fish farm installations including fish pens or cages, walkways, gangways, vehicle ways, land access ways, shelters and associated equipment.

Construction and maintenance of installations

All parts of the floating cage unit need to be designed and constructed to provide suitable anchorage, buoyancy, strength and stability to ensure the installations safety. When deciding on the adequacy of these features it is necessary to take into account the likely loads imposed by vehicles, equipment, fish food etc, and the effect of waves and wind. Continued safety of the installation will depend on regular routine inspection combined with a maintenance inspection, normally at least once a year and after storms.

Easily understood written instructions on the operation and maintenance of the installation should be available to operators. Site supervisors need to have ready access to the name and address of the manufacturer.

Provision of guardrails, footrails and safe working surfaces

A suitable and secure walkway needs to be provided around the exterior of each fish cage with a recommended width of at least 600 mm. It is also recommended that internal walkways be at least 900 mm in width. In the case of existing circular cages which currently have no walkways, it is expected that suitable walkways will be fitted at the earliest opportunity.

Walkways can be fitted when cages are removed from the water for maintenance or, in some circumstances, while still in use. Where the manufacturer can confirm that a cage has insufficient strength to withstand the additional stresses imposed by the sea on a fixed walkway, work around the exterior of the cage will need to be carried out from a suitable workboat or independent floating walkway so that people do not have to walk on the buoyancy rings. In such cases a full walkway will not be expected, but it will be necessary to fit enough landing platforms, not less than 2 m each in length, to ensure safety when boarding from a boat or independent floating walkway is required. All new cages need to be designed and equipped with an exterior walkway (this should be taken into account by users at the time of purchase).

Guardrails need to be provided, to the greatest extent practical, along open edges in order to protect against falls from height or into the water. They are of particular importance at the inside edge of cage walkways and the open edges of gangways, feed or accommodation barges and similar structures. Intermediate guardrails are optional, except where the upper guardrail has been vertically offset to a position outside the line of the edge being protected, or where a person may fall 2 m or more.

Guardrails are optional at the outside edges of cage walkways where boat landing takes place, unless a person falling from the walkway would be likely to suffer personal injury due to the height or design of the installation. In such cases suitable guardrails need to be fitted at sections where the risk of falling is greatest, eg at T junctions and corners, where the length of the guardrail would be at least equal to the width of the walkway that it faces.

Guardrails can be made from wood, metal or other suitable material, and should be rigid, smooth and able to withstand the weight of people falling against them. Where guardrails on two or more adjacent installations meet each other, they need to be designed so that dangerous trap points are not created as the cages move with the waves. Where necessary, guardrails can consist of taut wire or chain - rope is not suitable.

Footrails need to be fitted at the inside edge of cage walkways to provide bracing and to prevent workers feet slipping from the walkway when nets are being hauled up. A suitable design will prevent fish food or water becoming trapped on the walkway.

Further Information

To continue reading this article, click here (PDF)

Source: Health And Safety Executive - February 2006

5m Editor

 

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