Preventing Accidents on Western Isles Fish Farms

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
16 February 2010, at 12:00am

SCOTLAND - An event in Stornoway that takes place today (16 February) to get Scottish fish farmers to thinking about whether they could be doing more to protect themselves has proved so popular that it is fully subscribed.

It aims to get farmers to think about the hazards in the work they do and whether they could be doing more to protect themselves. It follows the success of similar events held in Oban and Shetland last year.

The event will use practical demonstrations and will provide an opportunity for the industry to get together and share their experiences.

The event at Lighthouse Caledonia Ltd, Marybank, Stornoway is organised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Northern Lighthouse Board, RNLI and other members of the Scottish Aquaculture Industry Forum.

Qualified instructors and experienced personnel from a range of organisations will give practical demonstrations on how to avoid the most common causes of accidents and ill health arising in aquaculture and other marine activities. These include:

  • Crane and lifting operations
  • Safe entry into confined spaces
  • Fork lift truck/ transport issues
  • Manual handling
  • Lifejackets
  • Life rafts and flares
  • Cold shock

HSE Inspector Ann Poyner said: "Aquaculture is an important industry in Scotland and one that we can be very proud of; however, we must not forget that the marine environment is dangerous and unforgiving. Since 2000, HSE has investigated four cases of drowning in the industry and has recently concluded an investigation into a double fatality involving a confined space.

"Our previous events held in Oban and Shetland were well received and I have been extremely encouraged by the enthusiasm and assistance given by organisations here in the Western Isles to ensure a successful event is held here. It clearly demonstrates the industry's real desire to protect its workforce and improve standards. In particular I would like to thank Lighthouse Caledonia Ltd for allowing us to use their premises free of charge for the event."

William Forsyth of MCA said: "This safety event is part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's ongoing accident prevention strategy to minimise accidents to seafarers. Working with other maritime stakeholders and encouraged by the positive attitude of the aquaculture industry we look forward to delivering important safety guidance.

"Each year a number of seafarers die from incidents involving confined spaces. More recently we have seen incidents of this type involving other maritime users including aquaculture companies. We hope that by sharing experiences and following existing best practice we can give companies the necessary tools to prevent any future such incidents."